History of World Religions (Members Only)

History of World Religions

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Our digital history of world religions concerns itself with the history of human religious feeling and thinking. It began with the invention of writing more than 5,000 years ago. Writing made it possible to standardize sacred texts everywhere, and made it easier to memorize prayers and ritual. The Bible includes accounts of oral texts handed down over many centuries.

The word “religion” in the sense of “organized religion” does not translate well into non-European cultural contexts like Buddhism, Shinto, or Hinduism, which are mystical. But it does resonate with the “Peoples of the Book” who practiced Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and organized their faiths and churches around sacred texts: the Bible, the Torah, and the Quran, respectively. Each of these peoples holds the city of Jerusalem to be sacred, where once upon a time, they coexisted peaceably (more or less). Perhaps the solution to the never-ending religious war in the Middle East could look to this ancient past for an answer.

That said, here’s our assortment… please enjoy! When you’re done perusing a map, click the ⇠ back arrow link in the upper left of your screen (not the < link), and you’ll be back here. Any problems, please get in touch at [email protected].

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