by Bruce S. Feiler
In this "genial travel-journal-turned-spiritual-exploration" (Kirkus Reviews), Jewish author Bruce Feiler teams up with Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren in an attempt to locate and visit some of the most famous places in the Pentateuch--the five Books of Moses that form the Hebrew Torah and the beginning of the Christian Old Testament. Beginning in Turkey, at the alleged site of Noah's Ark, Feiler and Goren explore the Sinai Peninsula, cross into Egypt, and travel through the Negev desert in Israel as well as throughout the West Bank. If you're interested in the geography of the Ancient World and the origins of the Judeo-Christian tradition, don't miss this fascinating book.
Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims Walk
by Susan Tyler Hitchcock
Through the voices of real people, this detailed work explores the beliefs, practices, and history of five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Incorporating essays (including pieces by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama), compare-and-contrast sidebars, detailed maps, and over 200 photographs "stunning in their beauty and simplicity" (Publishers Weekly), The Geography of Religion not only provides information on the origin and development of some of the world's most popular religions, it also provides glimpses into the daily lives of people of faith all over the world.
Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam
by Asra Q. Nomani
In 2003, Wall Street Journal reporter and American-raised Muslim Asra Nomani made a pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, for the Hajj (the 5th pillar of Islam, which is required of every able-bodied Muslim at least once in his or her lifetime). Yet by her own admission, Nomani is hardly a model Muslim woman: a single mother whose son was born out of wedlock, Nomani has led a campaign in her hometown mosque in West Virginia to allow women to enter and pray in the male-only main hall. As Nomani and her son complete the Hajj, she explores the historical roots of Islam and reflects on some of the major issues surrounding the faith today, as well as her own experiences as both a Muslim and a feminist.
by Tudor Parfitt
While visiting South Africa, religion professor Tudor Parfitt encountered the Lemba, a group of Jews from Zimbabwe who believe themselves to be members of one of the legendary Lost Tribes of Israel and claim to be the direct descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Intrigued by their story, Parfitt, the author of The Lost Ark of the Covenant: Solving the 2,500-Year-Old Mystery of the Fabled Biblical Ark, embarked on a quest to uncover the origins of the Lemba--using both oral history and DNA testing. Booklist, in a starred review, compares this religious history travelogue to the work of Paul Theroux.
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