Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 7 x 10
978-1-4422-6577-6 • Hardback • July 2016 • $68.00 • (£52.00)
978-1-5381-0908-3 • Paperback • October 2017 • $41.00 • (£32.00)
978-1-4422-6578-3 • eBook • July 2016 • $39.00 • (£30.00)
Brian Arthur Brown is an independent scholar and a United Church of Canada minister. He is the author or editor of several books, including the award-winning Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, Quran and Noah’s Other Son.
Foreword by Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Director of the Harvard Center for Study of World Religions
Prologue: Four Fingers and a Thumb - Tao Te Ching, Analects, Dhammapada, Gita, and Avesta
From the Foundations of the Earth to Our Common Spiritual Ancestors
Introduction: East and West Meeting at the Altar of Religion by Cyril Glassé
Exordium: What We Once Knew, by Karl Friedrich Geldner
Preface: Why the Z Factor Matters
- Through the Mists of Time: Vedic and Semitic Prehistories Connecting East and West
- A Priest Becomes a Prophet: Commissioned at the River
- A Chance Meeting at the Crossroads of History: A Prelude to the Babylonian Interface between Proto Vedic and Proto Semitic Religions
- The Silk Route: The Axis of the Axial Age
- The Extant Avesta: A Few Pieces of the Jigsaw Puzzle
- The Fraternal Twins of World Religion: Monism for Monotheists
The Taoist Testament
Introduction: Magi in China and Intellectual Ferment in Eurasia at the Middle of the First MillenniumBCE by Professor Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese, Philadelphia University
Preface: Magic and iMagination
- Tao Te Ching: translated by Victor H. Mair
The Confucian Testament
Introduction: Innovation vs.Tradition by Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, Senior Rabbi, Temple Sinai, Oakland
Preface: Fireworks East and West
- The Analects: translated by James Legge
The Buddhist Testament
Introduction: The Indian Origins of Buddhism by Professor Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Oxford
Preface: King Akbar’s Perfect Religion
- Dhammapada: translated by S. Radhakrishnan
The Hindu Testament
Introduction: Reciprocal Illumination by Professor Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor in Comparative Religion, McGill University
Preface: With Notes from Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi
- Bhagavad Gita: translated by Gandhi
The Z Factor
Introduction: Eastern Influence in Western Texts by Dr. David Bruce
Preface: New Frontiers in Scriptural Studies
- Israel in Exile: God as Israel’s Only Redeemer
- Up from the River Again, With a Promise of Paradise: Jesus as a Zoroastrian Saoshyant, the Redeemer of the World
- Chinvat Bridge – The Final Judgement: Zoroastrian Scriptures and “Previous Revelations” Corrected in the Quran
The Dead Zee Scrolls
Introduction: Digging Through Time by Professor Richard Freund
Preface: A Model for the Twenty First Century
Epilogue: The Resurrection of Zoroaster: A Prophet for the Twenty First Century
- Among the Ruins: Tablets and Cylinders
- From Aurel Stein to Mary Boyce and Beyond: Controversies in the Twentieth Century
Dancing on the Edge of Tombs: More Treasure Than Anyone Imagined
Appendix: Images of the Original Eastern Testaments
Preface to Images: The Edict of Cyrus and the Chinese Cuneiform Bones by E. K. Eduljee
About the Editor
About the Contributors
Brown (Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, Quran) makes a fascinating case for Zoroastrianism as the connecting point between the Vedic religions of the east (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism) and the Hebraic religions of the West (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Asserting that Zoroastrianism spread in two directions along the Silk Road, that Zoroaster lived the generation before Cyrus the Great (a contested theory), and that the Axial Age lasted only about a century in roughly the sixth century BCE, Brown locates developments in major religions that he attributes to Zoroaster’s influence. Some of Brown’s case is speculative but not unreasonable, relying on the anticipated discovery of 'Dead Zee scrolls' of lost Arvestas comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls (or the yet uncovered 'Q' document believed to have been a template for the New Testament) in Silk Road caves. Along with tracing the contours of a tantalizing mystery, Brown includes translations of the Tao Te Ching, Dhammapada, Analects of Confucius, and Gandhi’s translation of Bhagavad Gita, creating a rich compendium. Especially when compared with the numerous books repeating shopworn notions, the wealth of new information in this volume is immense. Readers outside of academia will hope Brown produces a shorter version for a popular audience.
— Publishers Weekly
Four Testaments is an excellent compendium of scriptures of the Eastern religious traditions. Complementing Brown's Three Testaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran (2012), the present volume introduces Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism through religious texts. The collection boasts translations of these texts by a variety of hands, including for example the Bhagavad Gita in the words of Mahatma Gandhi. Readers are guided through these rich and diverse texts in brief introductions by experts. The Gita, for example, is framed by an explanation from Arvind Sharma. This rich array of texts, interpreted by a wide range of scholars and theologians, is one of the book's strengths. Brown's focus is the meeting of East and West, and this is what gives the manuscript its uniqueness as it strives to make previously unarticulated connections between scriptures. This accessible volume should have a wide readership.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.
— Choice Reviews
In a companion volume to ThreeTestaments: Torah, Gospel, and Quran, Canadian pastor Brian Arthur Brown presents the sacred scriptures of four Eastern faith traditions alongside critical essays about the texts. Accessible to nonscholars, Brown’s underlying narrative posits an ancient meeting between the textual traditions of East and West in the Zoroastrian faith. The primary value of this book for many readers, however, will be in the words of the scriptures themselves. Locating scriptures of diverse traditions on adjacent pages is not without risk—but it is valuable for those who seek to be illuminated by the texts and moved to fruitful dialogue.
— The Christian Century
Four Testaments is an excellent overview of the Eastern religious traditions and an ideal complement to Three Testaments on the Abrahamic religions. If Three Testaments is your text for an Introduction to the Scriptures of the Western Monotheisms in the autumn semester, Four Testaments should be your text for the Scriptures of the Eastern Monisms in the spring.
— Jonathan Kearney, Saint Patrick’s College, Dublin University
Four Testaments is certainly invaluable both worldwide and in the Global South. People may be more open to inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue—a lived reality—than is sometimes realized. Four Testaments showcases this dialogue at its best.
— Rev. Joy Abdul-Mohan, St. Andrew’s Theological College, Trinidad & Tobago
Brian Brown has done it again with his usual mix of good scholarship and good humour. Four Testaments is the companion volume to Three Testaments, and covers the major Eastern religions. It provides important primary texts, as well as material to help non-specialists understand those texts. More importantly, it shows us the connections between our religious traditions.
— Amir Hussain, Loyola Marymount University
The religions of India and China, which were once seen by Westerners as exotic but not very important personally, have now become, due to modern communications, religious influences on people all over the globe. This second volume of an important set thus serves as an essential introduction to how traditionally Eastern religions think about individuals, society, the environment, and the transcendent so that we can come to know each other and work together for the benefit of all of us.
— Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University
This is an insightful inquiry into the connections between the primary scriptures of the East, in the context of their cultures, and the primary scriptures of the West. The volume expertly affirms the interconnections between various textual traditions. It is a welcome addition to the ever-growing field of intertextual studies.
— Sharada and Rasiah Sugirtharajah, University of Birmingham
From the Foreword
Four Testaments is an important work, suited to the times in which we live. Of course, the reading is not so simple or arbitrary as to end with just one volume. One needs to keep the Four Testaments on one’s desk or nightstand alongside the Three Testaments, moving back and forth between the two volumes and their several great texts.
— Francis X. Clooney, SJ, director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University
Includes the full text of four foundational scriptures—the Tao Te Ching, Dhammapada, Analects of Confucius, and Bhagavad Gita
Introduces readers to the basics of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism
Explores how the ancient Zoroastrian tradition may connect these religions, as well as the Abrahamic faiths
Commentary from renowned scholars introduce and contextualize each tradition
• Winner, 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medalist