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.