Human Rights and the World's Major Religions, 2nd Edition

by Condensed, Revised, and Edited by William H. Brackney
Foreword by the Reverend A. Roy Medley

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October 2013


Pages 480
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/Comparative
  Current Events and Issues/General

Based on the celebrated five-volume set published in 2005, this updated one-volume edition offers readers a concise yet complete understanding of the interplay between the major religions and human rights.

In a world where religious beliefs have become inseparable from the events of the day, ranging from the ongoing strife in the Middle East to cases of sexual abuse by clergy and controversy over circumcision laws in Europe, this is an invaluable work. It offers readers a comprehensive examination of the way the world's five major faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism—view and have viewed human rights from ancient times to the present. An overview of each tradition is provided, followed by chapters that show how human rights have been shaped and understood in the tradition from the earliest textual evidence to the contemporary era.

Considering the differences among religious traditions globally, the book shows how each faith advanced the cause of human rights in unique ways. Contributors track the development of ideas, opinions, and issues, documenting both the advancement and violation of human rights in the name of religion. Demonstrating that human rights discourse cannot be divorced from religious history and experience, the book covers such issues as the right to life, the rights of women, punishment for crimes, war and peace, slavery, and violence.


  • Offers a critical explanation of how the five major religions came to define and recognize human rights
  • Examines major religious tenets that illustrate human rights issues within each tradition
  • Explores religious views on both individual and collective human rights
  • Discusses the response of each tradition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the issues it identifies, emphasizing contextual religious factors
Author Info

William H. Brackney, PhD, is Dr. Millard R. Cherry Distinguished Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics, director of Acadia Center for Baptist and Anabaptist Studies, and a member of the faculty of theology at Acadia Divinity College, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. He formerly taught at Baylor University, McMaster University, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His published works include more than 30 titles, among them, Human Rights and the World's Major Religions, Studying Christianity: The Critical Issues, and most recently, Historical Dictionary of Radical Christianity. A student of the global Christian tradition in religious and social context, Brackney holds degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park; Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Temple University, where he received his doctorate with distinction in history and religion. He is a frequent participant in international ecumenical and interfaith dialogues.



"[W]ell written and addressing the most essential questions about the intersection of human rights and religion, it is a good introduction to the world's major religions. . . . Recommended."Choice

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