Although today associated exclusively with Islam, Iran has in fact played an unparalleled role within all the world religions, injecting Iranian ideas into the Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, and Manichaean traditions of the merchants who passed along the Silk Roads. This concise and readable introduction explores the manner in which Persian culture has interacted with and transformed each world faith, from the migration of the Israelites to Iran thousands of years ago, to the influence of Iranian notions on Mahayana Buddhism and Christian thought. The author also considers Iran's role in shaping the Muslim world, not only in the Middle East but also in South Asia, in an evocative and informative journey through the spiritual heritage of an ancient and influential region.
Richard Foltz is Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Iranian Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. A specialist in Iranian Studies, his research also focuses on the relationship between religion and nature, and on Muslim civilizations in general. He has lectured extensively in both America and the Middle East, and is the recipient of several scholarships and awards. His published books include Religions of the Silk Road (Macmillan, 2000) and Mughal India and Central Asia (Oxford University Press, 1998); he is also the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles, and has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (Continuum, 2004).