Studies in Comparative Religion
The First English Journal on Traditional Studies - established 1963
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Holdings : 59 reviews    
 Title of Reviewed BookReviewed AuthorReviewerIssueReligion
On the Origin of Beauty: Ecophilosophy in the Light of Traditional Wisdom Griffin, John Bendeck Sotillos, Samuel 2013 - Web Edition Comparative Religion
Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial PhilosophyFitzgerald, Michael OrenOldmeadow, Harry Vol. 45, No. 1. ( Crossing Religious Frontiers, 2010) Comparative Religion
This in-depth review is of the World Wisdom book "Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World" (by Samdhong Rinpoche, edited by Donovan Roebert). The author was recognized to be the reincarnation of the Fourth Samdhong Rinpoche and he was later elected to be the Kalon Tripa or Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The reviewer, Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, summarizes the intent of the various wide-ranging sections of the book and he frequently provides quotes from the Rinpoche to illustrate the themes and tone of the book. The review concludes that "These dialogues with Samdhong Rinpoche will provide substantial support to spiritual seekers as they challenge the very assumptions that are crucial to the current era. In fact [Samdhong Rinpoche] makes it clear that the crisis of the post-modern world is no longer isolated in the West alone; it has become a global issue of paramount concern to all peoples."
Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World: Tibetan Buddhism and Today’s WorldRinpoche, Samdhong Bendeck Sotillos, Samuel 2009 - Web Edition Buddhism
Hungarian writer Róbert Horváth finds that Against the Modern World, by Mark Sedgwick (Oxford University Press, 2004), strangely purports to present a history of Traditionalism, yet the book contains very little of real substance regarding the ideas or writings of the central figures on whom Sedgwick focuses. In addition, Sedgwick has overlooked significant historical precedents before the appearance of Guénon, to whom he traces most of the origins of Perennialism/Tradionalism. The reviewer cites numerous flaws in the content and method of the book, and concludes that it is "practically…a gossip book, nothing more than a new false history."
A Critique (1) of Against the Modern World by Mark SedgwickSedgwick, Mark Horváth, Róbert 2009 - Web Edition Comparative Religion
Michael Fitzgerald's review of Mark Sedgwick's Against the Modern World is a detailed view of Sedwick's study of the history of Traditionalism, taking the author to task for shoddy scholarship and research, possible bias, sensationalization for the purpose of marketing, unsupported conclusions, and, most fundamental of all for a writer undertaking such a project, "a flawed understanding of Traditionalism."
Review (2) of Against the Modern World by Mark SedgwickSedgwick, Mark Fitzgerald, Michael Oren 2009 - Web Edition Comparative Religion
Against the Modern World, written by Mark Sedgwick in 2004, has received much criticism for its lax scholarship. This review adds more detail to the criticism, revealing the extent of Sedgwick's shoddy scholarship, misrepresentations and distortions (intended or unintended), self-contradictions, and lack of clarity in use of terminology. The reviewer concludes that, in short, Sedwick is "unable to comprehend the core elements of his study," which inevitably would result in such a work, which purports to be much more. The review includes some important corrections and clarifications, which would have been of assistance to the work had the author himself been aware of them.
Review (3) of Against the Modern World by Mark SedgwickSedgwick, Mark Poindexter, Wilson Eliot 2009 - Web Edition Comparative Religion
This book review in the online edition of Studies in Comparative Religion examines the book Introduction to Hindu Dharma: Illustrated by HH The 68th Jagadguru of Kanchi. The review is by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, and appeared first in the journal Sophia. The review carefully summarizes the various sections of the book and concludes that "This book is an invaluable contribution to the treasury of traditional wisdom.…"
Introduction to Hindu Dharma: IllustratedJagadguru of Kanchi, HH the 68th Bendeck Sotillos, Samuel 2009 - Web Edition Hinduism
George Bird Grinnell’s classic and monumental work on the Cheyenne Indians was trimmed into 240 fully-illustrated pages in a 2008 edition (editor: Joseph A. Fitzgerald) by World Wisdom titled The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways. This review submitted by reader Samuel Bendeck Sotillos picks out several salient points of the book and stresses the special social and spiritual nature of the civilization studied by Grinnell.
The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and LifewaysGrinnell, George Bird Bendeck Sotillos, Samuel 2008 - Web Edition American Indian
This review of the 2007 World Wisdom book The Underlying Religion, summarizes the various sections, highlights some compelling ideas, gives a few quotations, and concludes that "The beauty of this book is that it provides an introduction to the essential features of the Perennial Philosophy in an understandable and digestible depth and format.…"
The Underlying Religion: An Introduction to the Perennial PhilosophyLings, Martin Mason, Wendy 2008 - Web Edition Comparative Religion
This review by Martin Lings of Frithjof Schuon's book Islam and the Perennial Philosophy identifies some of the highlights of the book's topics, such as the phenomenon of Shi‘ism within Islam, the question of how evil can exist in God's creation, a broad survey of many aspects of "Paradise", the limitations but also the adequateness of revealed religious form, and an examination of spiritual hyperbole versus 'logical' thinking.
Islam and the Perennial PhilosophySchuon, Frithjof Lings, Martin Vol. 10, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1976) Islam
The New ReligionsNeedleman, Jacob Pallis, Marco Vol. 5, No. 3. ( Summer, 1971) Comparative Religion
Evolution in Religion: A Study in Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de ChardinZaehner, Robert CharlesPerry, Whitall N. Vol. 5, No. 3. ( Summer, 1971) Comparative Religion
In reviewing this book, Seyyed Hossein Nasr gives high praise to the translator, stating that "serious students of Sufism…must be…grateful for [Titus Burckhardt's] having turned to this much lesser known category of Sufi writings consisting of letters, addresses and table-talks of Sufi masters, an excellent example of which is found in these letters of Shaikh ad-Darqawi. Dr. Nasr notes that these letters from a renowned Sufi master deal less with doctrine and more with "concrete problems and questions of the spiritual life and are often answers to specific questions posed by disciples. Hence they represent a precious treasury of instructions that are of value particularly to those who aspire to walk upon the path of realization and whose interest in Sufism and the spiritual life in general is more practical than theoretical." Since its initial publication, this book has become a classic of Sufi studies.
Letters of a Sufi MasterAd-Darqawi, Shaikh Al-`Arabi Nasr, Seyyed Hossein Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Islam
Reviewer J. C. Cooper finds this book by Arnaud Desjardins to be a well-balanced mix of background on Buddhism (with "an excellent exposition on some of the misunderstandings of Tantrayana and of its true meaning"), and the observations of author Desjardins upon the cultural differences between the traditional Tibetan culture that he encountered there during the course of making a film, and the West. The reviewer seems particularly impressed with the observations on the temperament of children and the differences in their respective educational formation.
The Message of the TibetansDesjardins, Arnaud Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Buddhism
Readers will not be surprised to find reviewer Whitall N. Perry once more brandishing his ever-sharp critical pen to expose errors in a book on religion. This time, he highlights errors in a book on Pope Pius XII. The book, The Silence of Pius XII, by Carlo Falconi, purports to be an impartial investigation into whether or not Pope Pius XII ignored the atrocities of the Nazis and whether or not he, and the Church, could have done more to stop them. Perry contends that the investigation's results are, in fact, very weighted in the negative, and ignore contrary evidence showing the Pope's efforts on behalf of the persecuted Jews. Perry suggests that the conclusions of Falconi, and others, are probably colored by motives stemming from opposition to traditional Catholicism, and thus to a pope known for his adherence to tradition.
The Silence of Pius XIIFalconi, Carlo Perry, Whitall N. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Christianity
J. C. Cooper, in this review of Science is God, sums up its virtues with "The book is eminently readable and contains a great deal of sense." She highlights several fundamental points that the author, Professor David F. Horrobin, makes in the book, covering the correct limits of science, its inability to prove or disprove religious phenomena such as miracles, its appropriate place in education and reforms that must be implemented to assure this, and the expanding of "science" to such inherently subjective disciplines as Economics, Sociology and Education.
Science Is GodHorrobin, David F.Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Comparative Religion
This is another review by J. C. Cooper. Here, she examines a book that is an account of its author's archaeological travels, and whose purpose is to "bring to us a sense of meaning of the past and give awareness of man's striving toward fulfillment and a valid communion between the dead and the living, correlating the past and the present." The reviewer suggests that the musings of the author might make this book one that traditionalist/perennialist readers would enjoy for its approach towards ancient peoples.
The Deep WellNylander, Carl Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Comparative Religion
Rather than reviewing The Cipher of Genesis, by Carlo Snares, J. C. Cooper merely summarizes the main thesis of the book. This thesis is that the chapter of Genesis is entirely symbolical and must be interpreted accordingly. It is, says Carlo Snares, part of the Cabala. The reader is left to guess that Cooper is either undecided or is skeptical on whether or not the entire chapter of Genesis is in a sort of "code" and nothing means what it seems to mean. In other words, we do not know from this review if Snares' deciphering of this "cipher" can be reconciled with traditional Jewish or Christian hermeneutics or whether it is a view that reflects a fantastical interpretation of just one busy mind.
The Cipher of GenesisSnares, Carlo Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Judaism
J. C. Cooper summarizes some new books received by the journal: God's First Love by Friedrich Heer; Introducing Psychology, edited by D. S. Wright and Ann Taylor; Behavior Therapy in Clinical Psychiatry, by V. Meyer and Edward S. Chesser; Youth Holds the Key, by H. W. Heason; and A Chime of Windbells: A Year of Japanese Haiku in English Verse, a translation of Japanese poems by Harold Stewart.
New books received - Winter 1971author(s), various Cooper, J.C. Vol. 5, No. 1. ( Winter, 1971) Comparative Religion
Martin Lings reviews this book by Frithjof Schuon which is a complement to Understanding Islam and which explains in depth some of the problems that Christianity sees in Islam in the sanctity of the Prophet, for example, or the belittling of the human. Schuon explains that to be truly human and thus sanctified is to fit the divine mould which is Origin, Archetype, Norm and Goal. In Sufism this is expressed in a quaternary of divine Names: The First, the Last, the Outward and the Inward. Lings points out that these, “form the basis of this book, whose every chapter flows, as it were, along one or more of these dimensions.” Chapters under review include those on Jesus, Mary, the Archangels and the Five Divine Presences.
Dimensions of IslamSchuon, Frithjof Lings, Martin Vol. 4, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1970) Islam
With ironic humor, Whitall N. Perry traces the career and teachings of Gopi Krishna as set out in this book. Having received an exemplary traditional upbringing, Gopi Krishna later espoused Modernism and rationality and set about using yoga as a biological tool to achieve the “bliss of unembodied existence”. However, things went awry when he awakened the solar nerve by mistake.... Perry concludes that “not even the ‘imprimatur’ of an authority like Spiegelberg [who wrote the introduction to the book] can get this man into the company of the saints, which in any case would be irrelevant if not incongruous to a deist concerned with biological evolution rather than traditional orthodoxy.”
Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in ManKrishna, Gopi Perry, Whitall N. Vol. 4, No. 4. ( Autumn, 1970) Hinduism
Whitall N. Perry begins by offering A Dictionary of Comparative Religion a necessary commendation as a long-awaited text for this field of study. However, his praise quickly moves to criticism as he examines the way in which the breadth of the book sacrifices a certain quality of scholarship. Perry proceeds to cite a number of essential texts and authors that are never mentioned in the volume. He even suggests that whereas Christianity would at one time have been favored, “the pendulum has swung too far” and that the space devoted to Christianity is insufficient. Offering a suggestion for a revised format, Perry admits that the resultant cost needed for such an effort would likely limit demand for the book to academics alone.
A Dictionary of Comparative ReligionBrandon, S. G. F.Perry, Whitall N. Vol. 4, No. 3. ( Summer, 1970) Comparative Religion
In this review, The Book of the Book is dismissed as “a publisher’s gimmick” with its fifteen pages of print and 250 blank pages following. Idries Shah gives his new teachings on Sufism which are claimed to rid Sufism of the incorrect assumption that it is a practice based on magic, but this review suggests that because of Shah’s supposedly “bold insights” and “fascinating revelations” that this is exactly the way in which Sufism will be characterized. The reviewer notes that Shah’s writings may encourage some readers to undertake a search for true Sufism, but they encourage others to walk away from it as mere “hocus pocus”.
The Book of the BookShah, Idries R.N.J.A, . Vol. 4, No. 3. ( Summer, 1970) Islam
J.C. Cooper summarizes Thakur’s argument concerning similarities and differences between Hindu and Christian ethics. Cooper discusses the basis of Thakur’s argument, which is based on his contrasts and comparisons of the creation myths of the two religions.
Christian and Hindu EthicsThakur, S. C.Cooper, J.C. Vol. 4, No. 2. ( Spring, 1970) Christianity
In this review, Cooper discusses the work of Professor Johansson. Johansson is primarily concerned with how the Buddhist concept of Nirvana is perceived—is it a psychological, metaphysical, or ethical state, or a combination of them all? Cooper goes on to discuss and evaluate Johansson’s approach to his research.
The Psychology of NirvanaJohansson, Rune Cooper, J.C. Vol. 4, No. 2. ( Spring, 1970) Buddhism
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