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Religion: A World History
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Religions — History
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1.

Crescent and Cross [electronic resource]: Rise of Islam and Age of Crusades

This program portrays the Crusades as a response to the rapid rise of Islam. It looks at various orders of Christian monks and their role in the preservation of religious, artistic, and cultural aspects of civilization. The Inquisition-the Church's response to the rise of heresy and the practice of witchcraft and magic in the Middle Ages-illustrates the ultimate in religious intolerance which still exists today.
Online
2005; 1998
2.

A Separate Peace [electronic resource]: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism

This program examines the structure and major tenets of these four eastern religious philosophies. The role of the spiritual master in Hinduism is defined, and the belief in transcendental power and a multitude of deities is explained. The history of Buddhism is traced from the 6th century BC. Reincarnation and nonviolence are discussed as major beliefs. Chinese Taoism, especially its stress on the equilibrium of forces, is examined. Shintoism, a Japanese religion, is presented as a form of animism in which nature is composed of a multitude of deities: the kami. Shintoism's coexistence in Japan with Buddhism is explained as follows: "Shintoism is in charge of birth and marriage; Buddhism is in charge of death.
Online
2006; 1998
3.

Holy Days [electronic resource]: Christian and Jewish Feasts and Rituals

Christmas, Easter, Passover, Yom Kippur, Bar or Bas Mitzvah, and other significant feasts and rituals of the Christian and Jewish faiths are discussed in this program. Jesus is shown as the role model for Christian behavior as exhibited by the early martyrs and saints. Protestantism's rejection of saints as religious icons is examined. The spiritual characters of specific modern "saints," including Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Sister Emmanuelle, are examined.
Online
2006; 1998
4.

Changing Christianity [electronic resource]: From Schism to Ecumenism

The French Revolution explodes, and the Church, at the center of the controversy, must redefine its relationship with political power. This program focuses on religious controversy throughout the ages to the 19th century, when Christianity finds a new vitality and diversity of worship in democratic societies. Vatican II (1962-1965) is discussed as having paved the way for modern Catholicism, and the Protestant Ecumenical movement, also of the 1960s, is credited with reconciliation among the various Christian denominations.
Online
2006; 1998
5.

Different Paths [electronic resource]: Shamanism, Cults, and Religion on Demand

In animism, good and bad spirits exercise an influence on humans. The shaman communes with the spirits in order to heal his tribal constituency. These and other less traditional beliefs, practices, and rituals are the topics of this program. Millenarianism is discussed as a nostalgic belief in a 1,000-year reign of the saints either before, or immediately after, the return of Christ. Astrology is examined as a New Age religious tool, and the upsurge in New Age religions is attributed to modern disillusionment with organized religion.
Online
2006; 1998
6.

Reformation [electronic resource]: Luther and the Protestant Revolt

This program traces the history of the Protestant Reformation, the path of its founder, Martin Luther, and the subsequent rise of sects including Calvinism, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, and Methodism. Topics discussed include the Council of Trent, the renewal of Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the rise of religious orders founded by St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Vincent de Paul.
Online
2005; 1998
7.

Sacred Space [electronic resource]: Art, Architecture, and the Role of the State

Roman, Gothic, Baroque, and Rococo religious art, along with Christian iconography, are examined as reflections of the religious and political attitudes of the periods in which they were created. This program also examines the role of the Christian Orthodox Church and the schism of 1054 that permanently divided its members. The degrees of reverence accorded to Mary as Christ's mother by Catholics and Protestants are compared.
Online
2005; 1998
8.

Testament [electronic resource]: Early Church and Jewish Diaspora

Using the book the Acts of the Apostles, this program traces the birth of Christianity to the development of the first Christian communities. Christian persecutions and the role of the catacombs as places of hiding and worship are discussed, along with the activities of the founders of the first synods, theologians Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Saint Augustine. An examination of the Jewish diaspora from ancient times to the present provides a valuable historical perspective on political events in Israel and the Middle East.
Online
2006; 1998
9.

The Roots of Belief [electronic resource]: Animism to Abraham, Moses, and Buddha

Neanderthals begin burying their dead in sepulchers that simulate their huts in an attempt to connect with the spiritual world. When God first speaks to Abraham, he becomes the father of three great religions: Judaism, and subsequently Christianity and Islam. Moses leads the children of Israel out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Buddha, "The Awakened One," teaches humans to transcend their worldly desires. This program traces these stories, and their inevitable path toward the institutionalization of religious practice.
Online
2006; 1998
10.

Three Pillars [electronic resource]: Confucius, Jesus, and Mohammed

The identities of the founders of three major religions-Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam-are studied in this program. The story of Confucianism and how its tenets spread to the Chinese social and political structure includes discussions about the yin (feminine principle) and the yang (masculine principle) The significance of Jesus as a prophet for Muslims, and God incarnate for Christians, is analyzed. Mohammed and the religion he created as codified in the Koran are examined. Temples, churches, and mosques are discussed as intrinsic to the practice of each religion.
Online
2006; 1998