Spirituality in the Land of the Noble: How Iran Shaped the World’s Religions

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Tells the story of Iran's shaping and transmitting of the world's religions, starting with the Iranian merchants and missionaries who brought, not only Islam but also Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism to China.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851683364
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851683369
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces

Customer Reviews

Iran in the history of Asia and world religions

 on May 8, 2015
By Roger Green
Both this and “Religions of the Silk Road”, by Richard Foltz, are excellent depictions of the origins of the major world religions and the cultures associated with them. These two books are very readable and give an image of the millennia long history of Asian civilization, and of the interactions (mostly via Persia/Iran) that enriched European history. It is enlightening to realize that the Jewish people would not have survived to be where they are now if it weren’t for Persian King Cyrus, who freed the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. And that archeological finds in what is now western China include images that are clearly Persian/Greek from an era when those civilizations penetrated to China. And that Persian dialects are still common in Central Asia Most of us don’t know about this history, which is ironic given the current antipathy among Iran, Israel and the West. Foltz has given us two very world-enlarging books.

Religious History

7 people found this helpful.
 on April 25, 2010
By Robert
I am currently taking a course “Religions of the Axial Age: An Approach to the World’s Religions.” This book was recommended by the instructor as part of his reading list. I wanted to know about the ancient religions prior to Christianity. I wanted to learn why some religions prospered while others merged and became something different. Can we still see evidence of these beliefs in the surviving religions or has modernity created something totally different? Then I compared and contrasted these different religions with Christianity, can we link our beliefs and rituals to these religions? The book answered many of my questions along with the course itself. It has proven to be a very good support tool. If your interested in religious history, pick it up you won’t be sorry.

An Important but Rarely-Touched Subject

5 people found this helpful.
 on March 29, 2010
By Farzin Shokouh
For those of us who have become familiar with the Iranian historical influences on the rest of the world, it is stunning how little is known about it. Richard Foltz’ book covers the religious aspect of it. It is a good concise book on the influence of Iranian sources (both Mithraism & Zoroastrianism) on the world religions.

Five Stars

 on November 11, 2015
By Y.H. F.

Five Stars

 on January 11, 2015
By Baraz Samiian
Excellent book … easy reading and well researched & written.

Great H.Sh.

 on December 5, 2014
By Dr. Homayoon Shidnia
Excellent. H.Sh.

Persia: a cradle of religions

22 people found this helpful.
 on February 2, 2007
By Edward D. Walker
Spirituality in the Land of the Noble by Richard C. Foltz (Oneworld Publications, Oxford; 2004) surveys the ways in which religions have emerged and have been shaped during the course of history in the region we now call Iran. The author notes that “throughout the country’s long history its peoples and cultures have played an unexcelled role in influencing, transforming, and propagating all the world’s universal traditions.” Chapters cover origins of Iranian religion, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, so-called Gnostic traditions including the syncretistic Manichean religion, Islam, the “Babi Movement and the Baha’i Faith,” and the current state of affairs in the country. The chapter on Zoroastrianism, the review of the long history of Judaism in Iran, and the section on the successional conflicts following the death of Mohammed are particularly informative.

One country � a huge influence�.

59 people found this helpful.
 on April 9, 2004
By Iain S. Palin
Iran is an ancient country with a fascinating history. When it first rose to prominence almost two and half millennia ago it was the world’s first superpower. Its fortunes since then have indeed been varied (that’s dry British understatement!) and now the popular image is of a country peopled by fanatics and led by a class of intolerant clerics.

a great book

44 people found this helpful.
 on October 17, 2005
By Niloofar Gheissari
I think it is a great book. I found it well-structured and fair. The arguments are well-documented. Richard Foltz describes the influence of Persian culture on a wide range of different world religions from Zoroasterism, Manichaeism and Mazdakism (which are pure Iranian religion) to Christianity, Jewism, Islam and even Buddhism.

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