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Knowledge Products

Works: 172 works in 335 publications in 1 language and 11,170 library holdings
Genres: History  Biography 
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Most widely held works by Knowledge Products
The Constitutional Convention by George H Smith( )

4 editions published between 1987 and 2007 in English and held by 171 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Advocates of state sovereignty believed the Constitution created an executive power that was so strong it might as well have been a monarchy. But advocates of national government felt that a strong executive was essential to steer America through crisis. Between these two positions, the living body of the Constitution was sculpted. Over and over, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention clashed and compromised. Slavery, a bill of rights, legislative representation--all the battles over these issues are enshrined in the language of the Constitution. To fully appreciate the Constitution, it is necessary to understand the questions it sought to resolve
The wealth of nations by Adam Smith( )

5 editions published between 2007 and 2011 in English and held by 163 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations is the foundation of classical economics, and it has influenced a broad range of thinkers. Smith stresses the importance of the division of labor to economic progress. He criticizes the arguments for economic planning and offers a detailed theoretical and historical case for free trade. The second part covers some major themes in The wealth of nations, a lengthy and complex book. These include the division of labor, the idea of an unplanned social order (the famous "invisible hand"), Adam Smith's theory of economic value and its influence on later thinkers, and Smith's defense of free trade. Some of Smith's arguments are difficult to follow for the modern reader. The third and fourth parts explain Smith's major arguments in the order they appear in The Wealth of Nations, while providing the background necessary for comprehension
Religion of small societies by Ninian Smart( )

3 editions published between 2006 and 2007 in English and held by 122 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Small societies" are the surviving peoples of ancient, indigenous cultures that now exist in and around modern nation-states; Eskimos, Lapps, the Dayak people of Borneo (Indonesia), and the Ainu people of northern Japan are just a few examples. Typically these are tribes of hunters, gatherers, or perhaps agricultural or pastoral peoples; most of humanity once lived in ways that resemble the ways of today's small societies. Though indigenous cultures produce little significant writing or literature, their spiritual experience is often profound. Ever-present spiritual powers are believed to manifest themselves throughout the natural world: modern scholars call this outlook animism. A hierarchy of spirits of gods culminates in a High God, who is often remote and ineffable, barely connected to everyday human experience. Ancestors are believed to exist still as the "living dead"; totemism identifies a clan with some specially related natural object or species. The shaman is a king of prophet able to undergo spiritual experiences and visions, using spiritual methods to heal the sick and functioning much like a priest, magician, and psychic. Indigenous peoples attempt to appease the gods with sacrifices; here an object or being is often burned so that its unseen essence or spirit is sent upwards to the gods. Magic (often using such familiar religious vehicles as omens, spells, oracles, etc.) is believed to manipulate the secret powers in the universe; it is relied upon especially when outcomes are unpredictable and the emotional consequences are significant
The Bill of Rights & additional amendments by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel( )

3 editions published between 1987 and 2007 in English and held by 121 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This presentation discusses the ten ammendments to the Constitution, referred to as the Bill of Rights, guaranteeing individual liberty upon which critics of the Constitution had insisted. It also includes the sixteen additional amendments updating the Constitution
Einstein's revolution by John T Sanders( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 110 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Describes Einstein's theory of relativity that challenged the old concepts of physics
Native religions of the Americas by Åke Hultkrantz( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 105 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

North, Central, and South American Indians have a rich religious heritage, though much has been lost since these peoples were conquered by Europeans. Characteristic features of Native American religion included the master of the animals, a protective spirit of a species or of all animals. Shamans, ecstatic medicine men, used supernatural powers to cure the ill. Totemism was a mysterious religious bond between the human clan and their animal guardians. There was a high god as well as many atmospheric gods, such as gods of thunder and wind. The Earth Mother was understood to work silently, influencing all
Islam by Charles Adams( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 104 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Approximately one-fifth on the world's population is Muslim, concentrated in an area on either side of the equator and stretching from Morocco in the west to the Philippines in the east. Islam means "submission to the will of God"; Muslims are "submitters" to God's will as it was communicated to the prophet Muhammad in a series of divine revelations. The Muslim scripture (the Qur'an) contains these revelations, and it is considered to be the eternal speech of God. Muhammad's call to prophecy occurred in about 610 CE. By the time of his death in 632 he had established the structure of a new religious outlook, and he had brought the whole of the Arabian Peninsula under his sway. Controversy over headship of the Muslim community led to a major division among the faithful. Those known as the Shi'ah Muslims advocated a hereditary succession, while Sunni Muslims (today the large majority) held to a principle of election. In the years immediately after Muhammad's death, Islam spread quickly throughout the Middle East. This expansion laid the foundations of a mighty empire that reached the zenith of its political and cultural brilliance in the 9th and 10th centuries, under the caliphs of the 'Abbasid dynasty (who established their capital in Baghdad). In subsequent waves of expansion, Islam spread across North Africa and then into Europe, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Indonesian archipelago, and even farther east. Islam has continued to dominate in the regions overrun in the early conquests, though the united empire crumbled and gave way to a series of regional dynasties and, more recently, to national states. Religiously speaking, for Muslims the central human problem is our need of guidance. History is a repeated process of receiving guidance through prophecy and then of falling away from it. Muslims see Muhammad as the last of a great series of prophets that began with Adam and continued with others such as Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus. The full implications of the divine guidance offered to humanity are worked out in the Shari'ah, or Islamic law. It stipulates essential obligations towards God ('ibadat) as well as ethical obligations towards other people. The most important of the obligations towards God are the five "pillars" of Islam: the profession of faith, prayer, alms giving, fasting, and pilgrimage
Confucianism & taoism by Julia Ching( )

3 editions published between 2007 and 2011 in English and held by 104 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Confucius (551-479 BCE) taught a moral wisdom that would become a predominant social force in China from the second century BCE until the mid twentieth century. Confucianism does not teach a central doctrine that a God or gods should be worshipped, but it does embrace a system of ritual and emphasizes humanistic virtues and values. Taoism is both a philosophy and a religion, seeking a life and a mind in harmony with nature. Yin and yang, the essential opposites, are seen as fundamental principles of the universe in many religious and philosophical discussions
Science in antiquity by Jon E Mandaville( )

3 editions published between 2006 and 2007 in English and held by 103 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"The scientific impulse can be said to have existed forever. But only with the written word did there emerge a record of speculations about how and why things happen. Middle Eastern civilizations developed ways to measure and describe (e.g. math and the alphabet); Greek philosophers classified natural objects and studied cause and effect. This is the story of ancient science, from Asia to the Mediterranean Basin."
African & African-American religion by Victor Anderson( )

1 edition published in 2007 in English and held by 101 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Some thirty to forty percent of Africans practice traditional religions, many of which survive in Western monotheistic faiths. These traditional religions, generally tied to ethnic groups in the sub-Saharan region, are dramatic more than philosophical; oral more than literary; and mythical and magical more than conceptual. Prominent dramatic features include masks, special clothing, dancing, singing, ecstatic utterances, and special rituals. Oral traditions include folklore, riddles, proverbs, and stories (many of which are oriented to teach children about the ways of their elders). The mythical and magical components include sacrifices, spirit mediums, and belief in ancestor spirits. These typically monistic religions affirm that all reality flows from one substance or principle, which is believed to be manifested in many different gods, values, powers, and practices. Gods are therefore both good and evil; a "trickster" deity often expresses the fundamental ambiguities of human life. Life is seen to achieve its wholeness through a balance of opposites. Though Christianity had an early African influence (especially in North and Northeast Africa), Islam spread throughout Africa during the 8th and 9th centuries. Most Christian influence in Africa came in two waves: that of European mercantilism (1400-1600, mostly Catholic), and north European imperialism (19th and 20th centuries, primarily Protestant). Yet most traditional beliefs are quite consistent with Islam and Christianity and have combined with them. African religions were transported to the New World with the slave trade, taking root in Brazil and the Caribbean in movements including Candomble', Umbanda, Xango, Tamor de Mina, and Nago. In Brazil, these religions have mixed with the Catholic veneration of the saints, as practiced by the majority of the population; they affirm the existence of orishas (lesser gods), voduns (spirits), santos (saints), guia (guides) and entidade (deities). Voudoo (voodoo) is a hybrid of traditional beliefs and Roman Catholicism. Santeria (or "worship of the saints") is a magico-religion directly related to the Yoruba religion of western Africa. In North American, the enslaved African-Americans converted primarily to Protestant Christianity with an emphasis on holiness, sanctification, and charismatic practices
Buddhism by Winston L King( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Some believe Buddhism is not properly understood as a religion, though this presentation describes its religious qualities: a belief in transcendent reality, sacred scriptures, monastic life, and views on an afterlife and the goal of human existence
The Middle East : Israel, Palestine & the Arab states by Wendy McElroy( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

By the end of World War I, Britain had promised control of Palestine to both Arabs and Jews. Each of these peoples claimed a longstanding right to the same piece of land, and violence was inevitable. This presentation examines how and why this magical land has become a virtual war zone
Hinduism by Gregory C Kozlowski( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Hinduism is a very broad term for the religious practices and doctrines of the Indian people. This tradition is believed to have begun in about 1800 BCE with religious poems known as the Vedas. The large Vedic library includes the Samhitas and the Brahmanas; the Upanishads, the last books of the Vedas, began to reject many of ancient India's religious ideas in the early centuries CE. The Upanishads established such basic practices and beliefs as cremation and reincarnation. Buddhism and Jainism had risen in the sixth-century BCE, also in resistance to Vedic religion; each became a separate religion in its own right. While Buddhism would die out within India by the ninth century CE, Jainism continued as a distinct religion, even though over time many of its practices became virtually indistinguishable from Hindu rituals
Judaism by Geoffrey Wigoder( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 99 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Judaism is more than a religion; it is a civilization including a people, a language, unique laws, a system of ethics, custom, a homeland, and a theology. Judaism focuses on the proper and righteous life in this world; Jews worship one God, who is just and merciful, and they obey a wide-ranging and vigorous moral law centered around the Torah. Themes of Jewish life include family, study, morality, and community. Moses led the Jews from Egypt to the "Promised Land" of Canaan; they became a strong unified nation in the 10th century BCE. The kingdom soon split into Judah and Israel; Israel was conquered by Assyria (722 BCE), and Judah by the Babylonians (586 BCE). The Jews returned from Babylonian exile in 520 BCE, only to experience centuries of oppression (and often persecution) by Persians, Greeks, Syrians, Romans, and others
Skepticism & religious relativism by Nicholas Capaldi( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 96 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In philosophical terms, religions can be understood as the search for purpose, goals, meaning, and order. It is a search for what we might call the cosmic order -- some greater structure within which human lives and societies exist. In this context, religions are systems of belief and commitment around which the faithful order their lives. The twin pillars of Western civilization are Greek philosophy and the Judeo- Christian- Islamic religious tradition. Philosophy affirms that, in principle, all things ultimately can be explained by reason; religion, however, see the cosmic order as mysterious and beyond human comprehension. Although skepticism is an ancient part of the Western intellectual tradition, the conflic between reason and faith may be said to have become a "crisis" only in the modern age
Protestant Christianity by Dale A Johnson( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 95 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Protestant Christianity began in the early 16th century as a reform movement directed against Roman Catholic doctrines and practices. Early leaders such as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin laid out the movement's foundational principles, including the conviction that salvation is by god's grace alone, that the Bible is the sole authority of faith and practice, and that the church is a "priesthood of all believers." In the 19th and 20th centuries, Protestant Christianity spread world-wide. Ecumenical efforts have brought many groups into close working relationships and produced unions of churches, though disagreements continue. The term Protestantism thus has become a broad umbrella for a variety of beliefs and institutions that retain some connection with the past as they express renewed forms of religious vitality in the present
Avicenna and medieval Muslim philosophy by Thomas Gaskill( )

4 editions published between 1996 and 2011 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

For centuries the works of Aristotle and other Greek thinkers were preserved in the Arabic world, where they profoundly influenced Muslim thinkers who were trying to combine philosophical insight with religious piety. The intellectual range of this great tradition is remarkable: nothing escaped investigation, from the details of medicine to the mysteries of God's nature. Avicenna and Averroes produced philosophical systems that rival the greatest intellectual structures ever built
Voltaire and Rousseau by Charles M Sherover( )

3 editions published between 2006 and 2007 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In the great ferment of the French Revolution, Voltaire and Rousseau stood out as intellectual giants. Voltaire's incisive wit and commitment to translucent reason stands in sharp contrast to Rousseau's earnest convictions and attention to human emotions. Both thinkers produced work of enduring value in morality and political philosophy
Classical religions & myths of the Mediterranean Basin by Jon Solomon( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

After the Ice Age, hunting and foraging communities evolved to a more settled, agricultural life; belief in savage animal spirits was replaced by a belief in domesticated spirits. With the invention of cuneiform and other writing systems, mythological epics emerged to explain the origins of life and the causes of death and earthly suffering. Sumeria, Persia, and Egypt were early centers for these developments. Egyptians were typically obsessed with the afterlife, emphasizing pyramids, mummies, hieroglyphs, spells, prayers, and myths (such as the death and resurrection of Isis). The sea-going Phoenicians spread their alphabet and religion around the Mediterranean, and their gods (El, Baal) especially influenced the Hebrews. When the Indo-Europeans (ancestors of the Greeks, Romans, and others) expanded beyond central Asia, these war-like peoples brought forceful and powerful gods. Their storm god was later known as Zeus (Greeks), Jupiter (Romans), Thor (Germanic tribes), and by other names as well. After Bronze Age civilization collapsed in about 1200 BCE, Greek population declined by up to ninety percent; the survivors preserved the glorious memories of the Bronze Age in myths and epic poetry. Where Homer celebrated the events of the Trojan War in the Iliad and Odyssey. Hesiod described the world's creation in his Theogony. Greeks had a flood myth and dozens of myths celebrating bronzeworking; they especially emphasized the intellect in stories about wisdom and intelligence. Art and drama dominated Greek religious devotion by exploring the glories and dilemmas of human existence. The Romans conquered Greece in 146 BCE, and they adopted or interpreted the Greek gods in typically Latin ways. The epic poet Virgil (in the Aeneid) presented a mythological past as the pre-destined antecedent of Rome's later greatness; the Romans also closely associated statecraft and religion. From within the sprawling territories of the Roman Empire would emerge the three great religions of the Western world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Myths rely on imagination and intuition; they express fervently-held convictions about the ultimate nature of things. Myths are vehicles that capture our most profound ideals and beliefs, and they shape our standards, goals, and self-perceptions
Shinto & Japanese new religions by Byron Earhart( )

1 edition published in 2007 in English and held by 93 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Japan has so many religious traditions that it has been called a "living museum of religious traditions." Buddhism (originally from India) passed through China and Korea before entering Japan about 500 CE. Also at about this time Confucianism and Daoism (also called Taoism) were transmitted to Japan, where they were accepted primarily as philosophical and ethical ideas. Christianity first came to Japan in 1549, but its following has always remained very small. The oldest religious tradition in Japan is Shinto, a distinctive, highly diverse religion born of the culture and experience of the Japanese people. Shinto literally means "way of the kami." Kami refers to "the sacred," and there are countless kami manifested in natural forms (mountains, waterfalls, trees, rocks, etc.), in human forms, and even in human ancestors. Shinto has no founder, no explicit teachings or doctrines, and no universal claims
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The Constitutional Convention
English (50)

Religion of small societiesScience in antiquityVoltaire and Rousseau