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Concepts of God

Images of the Divine in the Five Religious Traditions

Is there a universal concept of God? Do all the great faiths of the world share a vision of the same supreme reality? In an attempt to answer these questions, Keith Ward considers the doctrine of an ultimate reality within five world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity. He studies closely the works of definitive, orthodox writers from each tradition - Sankara, Ramanuja, Asvaghosa, Maimonides, Al-Ghazzali and Aquinas - to build up a series of 'images' of God, a common core of belief. Ward discovers that while the great religious traditions of the world retain their differences, there are convergences of thought at the deepest level, with a broad similarity of structure in concepts of God. He concludes that a recognition of these beliefs, as well as encouraging a clearer acceptance of the mystery of the divine, might also lead to an increase in understanding and tolerance of other faiths, to the enrichment of one's own.

Keith Ward is a Fellow of the British Academy, and Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London. He was formerly Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford, and is one of Britain's foremost writers on comparative theology and Christian issues.

"fascinating reading"

– The Lecturer (Journal of NATFHE)

"readers…will find it stimulating and thought-provoking"

– Buddhist Studies Review

"Prof. Ward has made a useful contribution to a dialogue which continues to provide new insights for all concerned."

– Buddhist Studies Review

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