A comprehensive study about one of the strongest and most productive motive in human life.
A review of the book:
With great courage and perseverance, the author of this book has set to himself the daunting task of understanding the place and role of religion in human societies, from a comparative anthropological and historical perspective. In order to do that, he has invested years of study of religious phenomena, and much of this investment appears in this book. Having worked as a lawyer in Jerusalem for some decades, he was able to identify, from his vantage viewpoint, the central role of religion not only in politics in the various societies of the Middle East, but, even more significantly, in the identity and self definition of the various ethnical groups. The topic of his study is of crucial importance not only for a better understanding of the forces shaping the conflict in the contemporary Middle East, but also for a clear perception of the deep roots of the dramatic refashioning of the world at large. No one can now ignore the powerful religious dimensions of the transformations we are observing - and of which we are too often, at once, the passive actors and victims. Yehuda Cohen's monumental work gives us a thread to find our way in this intricate web. He has put us all very much in his debt.
Guy G. Stroumsa Martin Buber Professor of Comparative Religion Director of the Center for the Study of Christianity The Hebrew University of Jerusalem