Library Journal’s Eric Norton on “Heaven”

Miller (religion editor, Newsweek) offers a sample of the myriad views of heaven held by Americans today, as well as surveying the inspiration for those views, from both the Abrahamic traditions and contemporary culture. She casts a wide net for her interview subjects, including Mormons, Lubavitcher Jews, Swedenborgians, and a Catholic lay hermit, along with theologians, religious leaders, and typical

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Kirkus Reviews on “Heaven”

An introduction to what monotheists of all stripes believe about heaven. Newsweek society and religion editor Miller offers an overview that combines elements of journalism, academics and memoir. Her approach provides an intriguing glimpse at what many believe the afterlife holds, though the author’s own discomfort with the idea of heaven occasionally weighs down the ethereal subject matter. Her continued

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Should Harvard Have A Religion Department?

It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to see that in today’s world, a person needs to know something about religion. The conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians; between Christians, Muslims, and animists in Africa; between religious conservatives and progressives at home over abortion and gay marriage—all these relate, if indirectly, to what rival groups believe about God and

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Bless This Bottled Water

You need only go back to the first chapter of Genesis to see how elemental water is to the observance of faith: “And the Spirit of God,” the Bible says, “moved upon the face of the waters.” In the Torah, water is used to ordain priests and to purify the sons of Aaron before they enter the temple. In the

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BeliefWatch: Fasting

Now two things devour my life,” wrote the poet William Butler Yeats. “The things that most of all I hate:/Fasting and prayers.” This week, the world’s billion Muslims and 12 million Jews will be fasting and praying in honor of Ramadan and Yom Kippur. Fasting is common to nearly every major religion; mystics fast to induce divine visions, and the

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BeliefWatch: Reporter

In the aftermath of 9/11, when the offices of The Wall Street Journal were temporarily moved from Ground Zero to SoHo, a young journalist sat at his desk and edited one story after another about the Muslim world abroad. Jihad this, fatwah that, Sunni, Shia, how do you spell hijab? “It occurred to me that I was almost entirely ignorant

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Raiders of the Lost Tomb

In Jerusalem, that ancient and holy city, people’s houses are built on bones. For thousands of years, hundreds of generations of Jews, Muslims and Christians have been laid to rest in its rocky soil. Tova Bracha has always known that the tiny, rose-bordered concrete plot next to her apartment building covers an ancient Jewish burial tomb, but she never thought

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