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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Introductory Lectures on Religious Philosophy by Amir Sabzevary, Ph.D. is a transcript of evening talks delivered at Laney College, Oakland, California in the summer of 2017. These were casual discussions open to students and non-students alike and delivered primarily in a question and answer format. While the lectures are divided into five ancient philosophical traditions (the Epic of Gilgamesh, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) and revolve around two questions (How does a person become educated? What does it mean to be a teacher?), the content is far broader in scope and includes references to other religious traditions, philosophies, and mystical Persian poetry as well. An editor’s introduction explains the setting and purpose, and an editor’s appendix provides a translation of the Persian lines.
I found Introductory Lectures on Religious Philosophy to be utterly engaging and not at all the dry academic tome I was expecting from the title. It was entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking. Most of all, it resonated on the deepest spiritual level as Professor Sabzevary addressed the meaning of life in our modern western world from religious and philosophical perspectives. Once you have the education, the job, the romantic partner, the house, the kids, and so forth, which are supposed to make you happy in America, why do so many people slip into feelings of unhappiness, lack of fulfilment, and even depression as they ask themselves, Is this all there is? I enjoyed the use of parable, the humor, the banter, and the weaving of so many spiritual, philosophical, and cultural traditions into one insightful tapestry. Highly recommended.