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The Future of the Religious Past: Assessing The Norton Anthology of World Religions

Jack Miles, Reza Aslan and Rabbi Sharon Brous
In conversation
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Episode Summary

The comprehensive new Norton Anthology of World Religions, under the editorial direction of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jack Miles, assembles primary texts from six major world religions in the religious equivalent of a giant “family album.” Miles questions whether religion can be defined, and considers how, sometimes, the supposedly ancient turns out to be quite recent, and the truly ancient turns out to be surprisingly modern. Three religious traditions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—loom especially large in the lives of Americans; listen in on a discussion that promises to unveil many other surprises as these three religious “cousins” flip through the album together.

*Click HERE to see photos from the program!

Participant(s) Bio

Jack Miles is Senior Fellow for Religious Affairs with the Pacific Council on International Policy and Distinguished Professor of English and Religious Studies, University of California, Irvine. A MacArthur Fellow (2003-2007), Miles won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for God: A Biography, which has since been translated into sixteen languages. He is general editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of World Religions.

Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is author, most recently, of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. His first book, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, has been translated into thirteen languages and named by Blackwell as one of the hundred most important books of the last decade. He is also the author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization and the End of the War on Terror (published in paperback as Beyond Fundamentalism), as well as the editor of Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. Aslan is Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations and Associate Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside.

Rabbi Sharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR, a spiritual community dedicated to reanimating Jewish life by standing at the intersection of soulful, inventive religious practice and a deep commitment to social justice. Since IKAR’s founding in 2004, Brous has been recognized a number of times as one of the nation’s leading rabbis by Newsweek/ The Daily Beast and as one of the 50 most influential American Jews by the Jewish daily The Forward. In 2013 she blessed the President and Vice President at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT, and serves on the board of Teruah-The Rabbinic Call to Human Rights and rabbinic advisory council to American Jewish World Service and Bend the Arc. Brous lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three children.