Unlike Peters's book, Zagano edited and contributed a chapter to a volume that is devoted entirely to the mystical traditions of major religions in both West and East. The book offers a basic introduction that is useful to beginners interested in the mystical traditions of Hinduism, Chinese religions, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Instructors of world religions will find the book helpful in teaching courses such as Mysticism and Spirituality, or Spirituality: East and West. In addition, readers are offered a selected number of primary texts, encouraging comparative reading of scriptures, mystical poems, and treatises. Zagano's book could be a textbook or recommended volume for undergraduatestudentsandreaderswhoarelookingforaquickandgeneralcross-cultural introduction to mysticism in Eastern and Western faith traditions.
Zagano recognizes that the book is not "a text in comparative religions or in comparative theologies, but rather one that demonstrates the means by which various religions come to an understanding of the spiritual quest and of mysticism within their respective traditions." Experts in various traditions write the introduction to each mystical tradition and to the selected primary texts and mystics, helping to situate mystical authors and their works in their respective historical and cultural milieus. Nonetheless, seasoned scholars of comparative mysticism might find the book lacking in depth and rigor. It is impossible to do an in-depth cross-cultural survey of six major mystical traditions in one book. E.g., the mystical tradition of Christianity that Zagano penned fails to mention a single mystic from the early Eastern churches, who were the first Christian mystical theologians and who wrote important mystical treatises of the Christian tradition. Also, the absence of a serious analysis of the development of each mystical tradition deprives readers of the riches and crises of these traditions.
Both books, despite their shortcomings, will be welcomed by readers interested in the survival of monasticism in Reformed and Protestant theologies, as students of the mystical and spiritual traditions of major world religions are given a quick survey of six traditions. Finally, Peters's book is a valuable contribution to the debate in Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches with...
This book is wonderfully consistent with terminology and the framework it employs to discuss media across a wide range of areas. From the beginning of each chapter, where an introduction lays out the plan of the chapter, to the end of each chapter - where a box of "key takeaways" explains what students should have learned - the book keeps a tone of very slightly amused detachment, mixed with earnest passion for certain topics, throughout, which is utterly consistent with how media people actually live their lives.
It's hard to say whether it's culturally insensitive or offensive because, well, I'm a white woman. I note that it talks about U.S. media's places (different for advertising, PR, newspapers, etc.) in the Civil Rights Movement and to a certain extent it discusses the ways that major media have been controlled or run by men, by white men, by straight white men. But I don't think the text addresses any of these things in the depth or with the clarity of thought that one would like to see in 2017. (Yes, it's a 2010 text.) In gaming, in Twitter discussions, in talking about newspapers or online media, the book is simply behind the times, and that makes it culturally problematic if not insensitive.
The book is clearly divided into relatively short subsections that are logically sequenced. Longer sections tend to be broken up by images, all of which are relevant examples of concepts being discussed in the section. The Learning Objectives, Key Takeaways, End-of-Chapter Assessments, and Critical Thinking Questions sections for each module are useful for guiding student reading and could be easily adapted into learning exercises and assessments such as discussions, quizzes, exams, and writing assignments. The Career Connection section at the end of chapters is innovative, and could be especially useful for students considering majors in communications-related fields. Chapters and sub-sections could be used independently in reading packets or rearranged without their being weakened, making it a more flexible resource or textbook.
For the most part, I agree with the author's organization and flow. My only thought, and it's just an opinion, is: Chapter 2 on Media Effects should be moved to Chapter 14, so it comes after the major media categories and then the economics of the media, and just before the ethics and law of media. To be fair, most mass media textbooks follow this same organization. When I teach the class, I always move the "effects" chapter to later in the semester, after I've discussed the media types, their history and development. 2b1af7f3a8