Suggested Reading List
Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Malise Ruthven
Description: Fundamentalism is seen as the major threat to world peace today, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11, 2001. But what does "fundamentalism" really mean?
Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the use of the term "fundamentalist" has expanded to include a diverse range of radical conservatives and ideological purists, not all religious. Fundamentalism could now mean both militant Israeli settlers as well as the Islamist radicals who oppose them, it can mean Christians, Hindus, animal liberationists, and even Buddhist nationalists. Here, Middle East expert Malise Ruthven investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomena--one that eludes simple definition, yet urgently needs to be understood.
God Is One: The Way of Islam
Author: R. Marston Speight
Description: This little book is a very accessible introduction to Islam for those raised in a Western worldview.
God is One: The Way of Islam offers clear and comprehensive knowledge about Islam for readers curious about Islam, and willing to move past barriers to mutual understanding. The author directed the Office on
Christian/Muslim relations for the National Council of Churches for nearly 30 years. He advocates for strong
relations between faiths through better understanding of the multivalence of Islam. This book makes Muslims and their religious worldviews accessible in a concise, informed, and respectful manner.
Handbook of Denominations in the United States 13th Edition
Author: Craig D. Atwood
Description: The book does a wonderful job of tackling a very complex panorama of religious communities, each claiming to be bound to the true Christian faith. It lacks in depth just enough to allow for those arguments about the veracity of the articles. (Check out the traditions you know, and see what I mean.) That being said, it is a fine resource to introduce the diversity in our Christian culture.
Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
Author: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Description: While not an easy read, it is a very comprehensive source of knowledge about the history and practices of one of the world’s oldest and complex religious communities.
What does it mean to be a Jew? How does one begin to answer so extensive a question?
In this insightful and completely updated tome, esteemed rabbi and bestselling author Joseph Telushkin helps answer the question of what it means to be a Jew, in the largest sense. Widely recognized as one of the most respected and indispensable reference books on Jewish life, culture, tradition, and religion, Jewish Literacy covers every essential aspect of the Jewish people and Judaism. In 352 short and engaging chapters, Rabbi Telushkin discusses everything from the Jewish Bible and Talmud to Jewish notions of ethics to antisemitism and the Holocaust; from the history of Jews around the world to Zionism and the politics of a Jewish state; from the significance of religious traditions and holidays to how they are practiced in daily life. Whether you want to know more about Judaism in general or have specific questions you'd like answered, Jewish Literacy is sure to contain the information you need. Rabbi Telushkin's expert knowledge of Judaism makes the updated and revised edition of Jewish Literacy an invaluable reference. A comprehensive yet thoroughly accessible resource.
On the Plains and Prairies
Author: Bray and Bray
Over the Earth I Come
Author: Duane Schultz
The Great Sioux Uprising of 1862
Author: Kenneth Carley
The Sacred: Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life
Author: Navajo Community College
Description: As we are studying the Native and ecological history of the SW MN Region, this book will serve well to introduce a non-European way of dealing with the unity of the topics to be presented.
The Sacred offers an uncommonly wide-ranging consideration of the ways in which Native Americans view the world, their place in it, and their responsibilities to it. This world is not only physical, but spiritual, and The Sacred describes the meaning, role, and function of sacred traditional practices and observances in the lives of The People, individually and collectively.
The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions
Author: Huston Smith
Description: The World's Religions, by Huston Smith, has been a standard introduction to its eponymous subject since its first publication in 1958. Smith writes humbly, forswearing judgment on the validity of world religions. His introduction asks, "How does it all sound from above? Like bedlam, or do the strains blend in strange, ethereal harmony? ... We cannot know. All we can do is try to listen carefully and with full attention to each voice in turn as it addresses the divine. Such listening defines the purpose of this book." His criteria for inclusion and analysis of religions in this book are "relevance to the modern mind" and "universality," and his interest in each religion is more concerned with its principles than its context. Therefore, he avoids cataloging the horrors and crimes of which religions have been accused, and he attempts to show each "at their best." Yet The World's Religions is no pollyannaish romp: "It is about religion alive," Huston writes. "It calls the soul to the highest adventure it can undertake, a proposed journey across the jungles, peaks, and deserts of the human spirit. The call is to confront reality." And by translating the voices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Christianity, and Judaism, among others, Smith has amplified the divine call for generations of readers. --Michael Joseph Gross