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These 24 extraordinary lectures offer you the rare opportunity to relate your own spiritual questions to a variety of ancient quests for meaning and transcendence. Professor Muesse looks at the historical conditions in which the world religions arose and explores how they answered shared metaphysical and human dilemmas.

The Axial Age - a pivotal era between 800 and 200 B.C.E. - saw the rise of many of the world's religions in Iran, South Asia, and China. On this stirring journey, you'll learn about the rise of Zoroastrianism in Persia (now Iran); Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism on the Indian subcontinent; and Confucianism and Daoism in China. You'll also see how these religions compare, contrast, and contribute to contemporary Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Through sacred texts, modern scholarship, and thoughts arising from his own personal experiences, Professor Muesse reveals what it meant to be a conscious, morally responsible individual in the Axial Age. You'll enjoy a ringside seat as each founding sage wrestles with moral accountability, the nature of self and ultimate reality, good versus evil, suffering and transcendence - all topics that still puzzle us today.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses

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Great Overview on an Extremely Important Era

The book gives a broad and detailed overview on the axial age (somewhere between 500 and 3000 BCE) and what happened during this important period in religious thought and practice. The book covers particularly the region of south-asia (India etc) and south-east-asia, but also the near east (Iran). It begins with the indoarians and their religious development (--> Veda, and later Hinduism; Zorastrism in Iran; Buddhism etc.). It is also interesting from the perspective of influences on judaism and then later christianity. This is because extremely important changes happened to religious thoughts that seemed to have had influence also on later religious movements.