A Little History of Religion Richard Holloway

Little Histories
Publication date:
23 Aug 2016
Yale University Press
256 pages: 216 x 140mm
40 b-w illus.

For curious readers young and old, a rich and colorful history of religion from humanity’s earliest days to our own contentious times

In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion—from the dawn of religious belief to the twenty-first century—with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy. Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young readers, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery, and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith.
Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today’s fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists, and more. Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.

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Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is an internationally popular writer and broadcaster. His more than twenty books include the best-selling Leaving Alexandria: A Memoir of Faith and Doubt. He lives in Edinburgh, UK.

“In an age of religious tension, this is an important contribution to understanding different beliefs. . . . A straightforward, well-written introduction to religion and its various manifestations.”—Library Journal

“Thank God – if I can use that phrase in a neutral way – for Richard Holloway and his carefully weighted, beautifully written and strangely compelling brief history of world religions… There can be no better place to learn about [religion] than in the pages of this enlightening book.”—Peter Stanford, The Observer

“This is a well-written book, from which most of us will come away knowing more about the religions of the world than we knew before… In its own way this engaging book might be seen as a period piece.”—John Charmley, The Times

"Holloway’s account is brimful of arresting facts."—Ian Thomson, Financial Times

“For readers in search of a thoughtful, thorough, and approachable survey of the history of religion, this book is an excellent place to start.”—Booklist

“As an informed reflection on the state of faith in the western world in the 21st century, written by someone who has plenty of experience, it is insightful and intelligent.”—Tim Whitmarsh, The Guardian

“Retells the entire history of religion with deepest respect and keen commitment to accuracy… An empathetic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance and power of faith.”—Edinburgh Life

“For clarity and accessibility, in the minefield of tomes dealing with the fervours and fevers of “accepted” religions, I recommend, with pleasure, Richard Holloway’s A Little History of Religion”—Hayden Murphy, The Glasgow Herald 

“[Holloway] deftly makes his knowledge accessible to the public . . . A great service for students of religion. This is no dry textbook: With its conversational prose and density of information, it is a pleasure to read.”—The Weekly Standard