A magisterial single-volume guide to the great faiths of the world through their most important writings Grand in its sweep, this survey of the sacred writings of the major religions of the world offers a thoughtful introduction to the ideas and beliefs upon which great faiths are built. Under the expert guidance of John Bowker, a religious scholar and author of international stature, readers explore the key texts of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Confucian, Daoist, and Shinto traditions. The author discusses some 400 books, among them such well-known sacred texts as the Bible and the Quran, but also spiritual writings by theologians, philosophers, poets, and others. Bowker provides clear and illuminating commentary on each text, describing the content and core tenets of the work and quoting pertinent passages. He also sets the writings in religious and historical contexts, showing how they have influenced--and in many cases continue to influence--artistic, musical, literary, and political traditions. The Message and the Book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the meaning and the deep significance of primary religious texts of civilizations around the globe.