$12 Plato by R. M. Hare
The earliest philosopher whose work has survived extensively, Plato remains the starting-point in the study of logic, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy. R.M. Hare provides a concise, well-connected introduction to Plato’s dialogues, focusing on the central problems which led Plato to become a philosopher. He describes these problems and Plato’s solutions with great clarity, and sets them in the context of Plato’s life and times, and his place in the history of philosophy.
$13 The Taste of Hidden Things: Images on the Sufi Path by Sara Sviri
The Taste of Hidden Things is a portrait of Sufism as a living mystical system. Sara Sviri brings together the wisdom, metaphysical boldness, and lyrical passion of the great Sufi masters, past and present. A special place is given to al-Hakîm at-Tirmidhî. Excerpts from his work, including teaching dreams of his wife, are published here for the first time in English.
$13 Hinduism and Its Development by K. Satchidananda Murty
This revised edition of a classic covers Hinduism from ancient period to modern age. It combines several editions and sets of essays.
$15 An Introduction to the Kabbalah by Mosheh Hallamish
This book acquaints the reader with the world of the Kabbalah. The first part discusses the Kabbalist as a person: the personal transmission of Kabbalistic traditions, the Kabbalist’s qualities and qualifications, prerequisites and early preparations, risks and achievements, as well as techniques for uncovering mysteries and the sources of revelations. The second part deals with the major themes in the teachings of the Kabbalah, such as the doctrine of the Sefirot, the Sitra-Ahra–good and evil, the creation of the world, the status of the Torah and its commandments, the doctrine of the soul and the transmigration of souls. In treating these issues, the book also notes the assimilation of Kabbalistic notions in Jewish religious customs.
$15 The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Despite the popularity of Sufism, few books provide an overview of this mystical branch of Islam— a void Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, fills nicely with this concise primer. Sufism teaches that all aspects of life—from nature to other people—are signs of God, and yet the grandeur of God is beyond human comprehension. The goal of each Sufi is to take an inner journey to transcend the human state, to illuminate the dark corners of our soul and reconnect with the inner divinity implanted by God at creation. Nasr’s book is not a how-to introduction on removing the veils erected by imperfection, which manifest as evil and block our divine roots, but a wise and tantalizing overview. He also includes a detailed and rare history of the Sufi movement and a brief catalogue of the various Sufi orders.
$15 Who Was Jesus?: A Critique of the New Testament Record by G. A. Wells
In his fourth volume on Christian origins, which continues his skeptical analysis of the historical foundation of the life and death of Jesus, Wells contends that the existence of a historical Jesus is, at best, highly doubtful. He begins by questioning the general reliability of the gospels and then focuses on Jesus’ virgin birth, public ministry, passion, and resurrection, considering current scholarship and presenting some challenging suggestions. However, his radical thesis negatively affects the selection and interpretation of data: Scholars cited in support of his thesis acknowledge problems in the New Testament but not the necessity or soundness of his conclusions.
$17 The Gospel of Thomas by Richard Valantasis
This volume offers the first full commentary on the Gospel of Thomas, a work which has previously been accessible only to theologians and scholars. Valantasis provides fresh translations of the Coptic and Greek text, with an illuminating commentary, examining the text line by line. He includes a general introduction outlining the debates of previous scholars and situating the Gospel in its historical and theological contexts. The Gospel of Thomas provides an insight into a previously inaccessible text and presents Thomas’ gospel as an integral part of the canon of Biblical writings, which can inform us further about the literature of the Judeo-Christian tradition and early Christianity.
$18 Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature by Birger A. Pearson
Even as public interest is attracted to this esoteric religion, scholars have debated its origins, its relationship to Judaism and Christianity, and even whether one distinctive and separate Gnostic “religion” ever existed. Birger Pearson’s expert and accessible introduction brings the reader into the debate. Directly addressing the nettling questions of origins and definition, Pearson situates the advent of Gnosticism within the Greco-Roman religious world and critically appraises the sources.
$18 Mysteries of the Kabbalah by Marc-Alain Ouaknin
An introduction to Kabbalah, the mystical and secret tradition of Judaism. It explains Kabbalah’s fundamental myths and symbols, which have so profoundly influenced both the Jewish and non-Jewish world. The book delves into such Kabbalist phenomena as the hearing of angels’ voices, “Chokmah” (a form of transcendental wisdom), the four divine names and the five modalities of being, the light of infinity, and the significance of each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Marc-Alain Ouaknin also explores the influence of Kabbalah on art, literature, music, architecture, psychoanalysis and health. The book closes with a chapter on meditation.