A Little History of Religion by Richard Holloway

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Richard Holloway: religion is “the anvil that has worn out many hammers”.

Richard Holloway: religion is “the anvil that has worn out many hammers”.

Sat, Aug 5, 2017, 00:00

   
 

Book Title:
A Little History of Religion

ISBN-13:
9780300228816

Author:
Richard Holloway

Publisher:
Yale

Guideline Price:
£9.99

Given that a former head of the Scottish Episcopal Church wrote this brief history of religion, it might be expected that Christianity would dominate, but that is not the case. The three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) are given due attention but so are Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Shintoism, Taoism, Sikhism and atheism. In his lucid writing style, Holloway sets the context for the long existence of religion in two simple questions. Why are we here? What will happen us after we die? He tells the story in more or less chronological order from 130,000BC and in a fair-minded, balanced and unprejudiced way. He may be faulted for some omissions and simplifications (it is a brief history) but he doesn’t shirk religion’s complicity in oppression and its responsibility for violence. He also vouches for its extraordinary instinct for survival; it is “the anvil that has worn out many hammers”. As it’s here to say, there’s no better place to learn of its development than here.