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The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ; Chapter One WHY THIS BOOK? : AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL REFLECTIONS ; Chapter Two FAITH, REVELATION, AND REASON ; Chapter Three JEWISH BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM ; Chapter Four CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL FUNDAMENTALISM ; Chapter Five MUSLIM KORANIC FUNDAMENTALISM ; Chapter Six ACQUIRING AND PROTECTING UNREASONABLE BELIEFS ; Chapter Seven ON DEFUNDAMENTALIZING FUNDAMENTALISTS ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Name Index ; Subject Index

About the Author

Solomon Schimmel is Professor of Jewish Education and Psychology at Hebrew College. He is the author of The Seven Deadly Sins: Jewish, Christian, and Classical Reflections on Human Psychology and Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness.

Reviews

"This is a long-overdue book about a pressing subject by a brilliant writer qualified not only by his professional expertise but by his own life experiences. The question of why otherwise thoughtful people accept irrational religious fundamentalism is a difficult one to address in our age of oversensitivity about challenging deeply held religious beliefs. But Schimmel confronts the challenge head- on -- respectfully, intelligently, and with the insights that have long characterized his work. This is a must-read for all thinking people who respect religious diversity." --Alan Dershowitz "Very few books face honestly the social and cultural persistence of what Professor Schimmel here labels the 'tenacity of unreasonable beliefs.' Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- sometimes called collectively the 'religions of the book' -- have developed very different approaches to the Abrahamic tradition. In these approaches, interpretation, belief, and action come together in subtle and often irrational ways. This is a profoundly insightful and illuminating work which asks the reader to consider the correspondence between irrational belief and human behavior in a thoughtful, precise, and eloquent way. It is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the nature of religiously based violence." --R. Joseph Hoffmann, Chair, The Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion "The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs addresses questions about the psychology of religious fundamentalism in a most penetrating and enlightening manner, from perspectives that are neglected in most of the literature on the subject -- including anthropology, evolutionary and social psychology, and philosophy. Schimmel provides us with a sophisticated understanding of the mentality of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural fundamentalists, and of why and how they tenaciously cling to beliefs that have failed the tests of experience, scholarship and reason -- and the dangers of their doing so. The Tenacity of Unreasonable Beliefs is an essential read for anyone concerned about defending Western democracy in its ideological struggle against the values, vices, and violence of radical Islam. --Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim and Defending the West "Schimmel>'s is a fresh voice in the ongoing critique of fundamentalism. ...The book represents an intelligent inquiry into the cognitive world of secular modernity>'s religious discontents that is both fearlessly frank and unusually empathetic. [Schimmel's] sensitivity to the individual fundamentalist>'s socialization process and to the storied loss of faith that profoundly shapes ex-fundamentalists makes the book a highly original contribution to interdisciplinary fundamentalismstudies. Scripture scholars, comparativists, and Christian readers unacquainted with yeshiva- based Jewish intellectual life will profit from this provocative work." --Theological Studies

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