Religion and Belief Systems in World History, a Berkshire Essential, explores humanity’s desire for spiritual sustenance in prehistory. Based on archaeological evidence of gravesites dating to over 70,000 years ago, many neuroscientists believe humans are hard-wired to seek meaning through rites and ceremonies, myth and symbols, ideas and behaviors.
Berkshire Essentials: Religion and Belief Systems in World History
As Martin E. Marty explains in the introduction to Religion and Belief Systems in World History, a Berkshire Essential, human response to (or faith in) some supernatural or suprahuman force has given spiritual sustenance to individuals and communities for far longer than the earliest existing sacred texts would indicate. Based on archaeological evidence of gravesites found in Europe and parts of Asia dating to over 70,000 years ago, Marty tells us, “many neuroscientists believe humans are ‘hard-wired’ to seek meaning through rites and ceremonies, myth and symbols, ideas and behaviors.” This volume presents a global survey of world religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) and belief systems (from animism to Zoroastrianism), with major themes including how spiritual beliefs both supported and railed against war, and how religions expanded and divided across cultures and borders.
Jerry H. Bentley, University of Hawaii, Manoa, David Christian, Macquarie University; Ewha Womans University, Ralph C. Croizier, University of Victoria, John R. McNeill, Georgetown University, Heidi Roupp, World History Center, Judith P. Zinsser, Miami University