Looking at Festivals: Looking at Worship, by John Rankin, with drawings by Edwin Beecroft, Lutterworth Press, £3.50 each. These work cards are produced to the same successful formula as those on myth and symbols which were published last year. The twelve cards on festivals provide descriptive or narrative material for the pupil to study, questions to answer and things to do. The twelve festivals chosen are the most important ones in the world’s major religions. The set on worship sensibly gives most attention to the many forms of Christian worship, including private devotion and monastic worship but it too moves into such areas as salat, puja, Buddhist meditation, Sikh diwan and Shabbat. A feature of the series is the development cards which come at the end of each set. These should ensure
that pupils have done more than journey through a range of interesting or exotic celebrations. They invite the study of sacred time, calendars, and the relationship between symbols and worship or festivals and myths. Teacher’s guides are provided which non-specialists will find particularly useful though they should he regarded as essential reading for all users of the series as they explain the author’s aims as well as suggesting how the topics might be dealt with as part of a total R.E, syllabus. Edwin Beecroft’s illustrations are genuine visual aids which highlight aspects of the subject matter, John Rankin’s suggestion of things which might be done should ensure that his philosophy that
Religious Studies should be enjoyable is implemented. They fit in well with other materials and books mentioned in this mailing though they may be used on their own with top junior middle school, CSE, or O level groups, or as part of the study which every child should make of worship and festivals as well as myths and symbols. One hopes that perhaps the Rankin -Beecroft team will produce a further pair of work cards on sacred writings and ‘messengers’ including priests and saddhus as well as Jesus, Muhammad and the Buddha. Visiting a Roman Catholic Church, by Danny Sullivan; Visiting an Anglican Church, by Susan Tompkins; Visiting a Community Church, by Gwen Palmer; Visiting a Sikh Temple, by Davinder Kaur Bahraa, Lutterworth Press, £1.60 each, Meeting Religious Groups, edited by Susan Tompkins. Helped by a large number of photographs, the authors of this new series, succeed in taking the reader inside the building which they describe to meet the groups who worship and hold other functions there. The person who uses the series is likely to be the CSE or O level candidate but the photographs, and often the vocabulary and short sentences do mean that top juniors and middle school children should be able to use them as resource books. Most of the photographs are helpful illustrations to the text, especially the very successful ones in the Sikh book, but some appear posed, and the priests in Danny Sullivan’s book look particularly miserable. The editor seems to have imposed a general pattern upon the series. Each book has something to say about the origins of the community, the building, services of worship, the life of the religious group, organisation, and last of all comes a section entitled ‘over to you’, which invites the reader to take his exploration further, often by looking for a local example and establishing contact with it. Because the Sikh author is writing about a subject which will be unfamiliar to most readers her book seems to be the most successful and certainly presents aspects of the faith not treated this well elsewhere. It must be on the shelves in any school where the religion is being taught seriously. As for the others, the familiar is not easily made interesting, and the writers have difficulty in deciding what it is essential to know, and in presenting it in a manner which will capture the imagination. If the communities in these four
books had been viewed through the eyes of families which are members of them they might have come to life more. Perhaps too we could have been given an insight into a priest’s view of the church and his place in it through some form of interview procedure. The Sikh book apart, one has to say that these are useful but not exciting, though the plans, indices and factual information, together with the photographs are likely to be helpful guides to CSE or O level pupils, especially those who have to do projects of their own.
The Story of Prince Rama, by Brian Thompson, Kestrel Books, £7.95. This is perhaps the most attractive book to come my way this year. The story of the Ramayana is interestingly if not excitingly told but the real merit of the book lies in its illustrations. Many of these come from ancient manuscripts but the publishers have also employed an Indian artist, Jeroo Roy, who has been able to add new material whilst retaining the Indian cultural idiom. I would hope that O level students whose syllabus includes the Epic would have this book available in the library, as well as primary school children in specifically multi-cultural areas. In fact it is a book for every school library and many homes. Third Class Ticket, by Heather Wood, Routledge and Kegan Paul, £8.50, is a must for different reasons because of the insights which it will give teachers and older students into Indian life. In 1969 Heather Wood accompanied forty four men and women on a 15,000 km rail journey round India. Their pilgrimage was made possible by the will of the landowner, a lady who wished to give them something of lasting worth. “They do not know that India is very big and very beautiful as well as very poor. I want them to learn that and to find out how other villagers survive and teach their children.” In the company of these wide-eyed but often wise men and women who become the VIPs of Indian Railways, the reader is able to make the same discovery. They see the Himalayas, “the line that dances on the
edge of the world,” but to the mocker who won’t believe that they are going to see all India and says “and the moon too?” they are capable of saying, “No, that I’ve already seen.” Besides, as it were, having my own third class ticket renewed, Heather Wood took me to places I had not been able to visit and helped me to meet Indians I had not known. I am sure she will be able to do the same for readers who have never been to the subcontinent equally well. As for story-line and characterisation, these are developed so that the book never becomes a travelogue, but I was left wondering what impact the journey still has on these Bengalis twelve years on. Hinduism in England, edited by David G. Bowen, available from the School of Combined Studies, Bradford College, Great Horton Road, Bradford BD7 1AY, £2.00 including postage and packing. This is the story of those who made a longer journey of a different sort, but for many far more traumatic — though when you meet villagers who have settled down and conquered life in Southall or Leeds it is impossible not to be impressed by the resilience of human beings. The book leads off with a comprehensive survey of Hinduism by Dr Frank Chandra. He ranges from a discussion of the scriptures to the place of women and an explanation of the caste system. Not surprisingly he is somewhat
apologetic because he has spoken about Hinduism to many audiences and is well aware of the views which westerners have of the caste system and ‘idol worship’. It is good to be provided with his corrective. Towards the end of the book the subject of caste is taken up again by Helen Kanitkar, while Amarjit K. Khera enlarges upon the status of women in Hindu society. Both deal with the contemporary British situation as well as that of present day India. David Bowen and Robert Jackson write interestingly and with intimate knowledge about Hindu communities in Bradford and Coventry. Their chapters are preceded by a very important contribution from Ursula King on the western
context of Hinduism. This chapter deserves to be read and re-read and might well be expanded for the benefit of teachers and lecturers whose knowledge of Hinduism has been acquired in the west, mostly from books. Finally, there is a second essay by Robert Jackson on the subject of the place of Hinduism in religious education. This is rather brief. Although it contains some of the author’s own insights much of the chapter is a survey of available materials. Hinduism is difficult to teach, Robert Jackson has considerable experience of teaching it, and one could wish that he had said more for what he writes is very helpful. The book is well illustrated, some of the excellent photographs by Jan Siegieda being particularly helpful to the reader with little contact with Hindu communities. The volume is the result of a conference held at the college in 1979. We have cause to be very grateful to David Bowen for the energy and persistence which he has shown in providing those who were not present with this record
of the proceedings and adding an important document to the too scanty material which is available about Hinduism in Britain. His college has produced a very attractive book which community relations workers as well as students and teachers should find indispensable. Sikhs in England, by A.W. Helweg, OUP, £5.75. The subtitle of this book is ‘the development of a migrant community’, the subject is not the Sikh UK community as a whole but those of Gravesend, called by the author, Gravesindia. The Sikhs in the study are mostly Jats from the village of Jandiali, not far from Phagwara. Their reasons for leaving India and for settling in Gravesend are explained as well as their pattern of settlement in England. Proper attention is given to the self-defeating effect of the 1960-62 period of immigration legislation which increased migration to this country in order to beat the ban and encouraged the development of Asian communities here by compelling migrant workers to become permanent residents who sent for their families to join them. However, Dr Helweg’s interest is more in the life and social development of the Sikhs rather than in the psychological consequences of British laws and attitudes towards coloured minorities, though in passing these naturally receive a good
measure of attention. In pursuing his theme he takes the reader where he can seldom go himself, into the intimacies of family life and relationships, into gurdwara politics, and into the way in which migration is changing the Gravesindian Sikhs and the Indian relatives they left behind. This is an honest book, the author is indifferent to the effect which it might have upon its readers; there is no attempt to create a positive attitude, so that the racist might seem to find his views endorsed. The idealist-liberal will encounter realism. Although this is a serious academic analysis of a particular community so that the reader should not apply everything he reads to Sikhs he knows in Coventry
or Cardiff, nevertheless there are points of general relevance, many rather than few. The portrait is interesting and readable, though detailed it never becomes tiresomely factual, and the author is to be congratulated on his avoidance of jargon. Thank goodness this book is about people, not about sociology. Call from the Minaret, by Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Hodder and Staughton, £1.95. In his introduction to the book Dr Pasha writes, “Although primarily intended for children of secondary and upper junior age groups, it can prove to be interesting for any beginner of Islam.” In many respects I endorse that view. Some years ago now a team of writers from Yorkshire encouraged by Mrs Peggy Holroyde, produced East Comes West. Now the book is unavailable and one is left at a loss to offer those who found it useful a replacement. At least as far as Islam is concerned, Dr Iqbal, one of the original authors, has provided the remedy. Though he uses the device of dialogue between child and teacher sometimes, nevertheless he provides a mass of material and information interestingly told. From it general teachers in primary schools will learn much and CSE and O level candidates gain sound knowledge. There is a
comprehensive glossary and useful appendices on Muslim names and prayer. Thinking About Death, edited by John Prickett, Lutterworth, £4.95. Much of the content of this book is derived from the SCIFDE conference held at Bedford in 1977. Like Initiation Rites which was published about two years ago it includes statements produced by Christians of various traditions, Hindus, Humanists, Baha’is, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Sikhs, as well as extracts from funeral liturgies. It is, therefore, full of the kind of raw material which teachers, CSE and O level pupils need. Most textbooks can only provide an outline, this book takes on where they often leave off. It is to be welcomed also for its two important introductory chapters, the first by Geoffrey Parrinder which is an overview entitled ‘Death in the World Faiths’, and the second by Brian Gates, ‘Children Understanding Death’. These are essential pre-reading for any teachers approaching the subject of death with any
age-range of pupils. It also deserves to find a place in the libraries of ministers, social workers, and hospitals for it should help those who care for the dying as well as teachers. The World of Jewish Faith, by Myer Domnitz, Longman, £1 .30. Before most of the rest of us had begun to realise that there were religions other than our own Myer was addressing books on Judaism to Gentiles, and I sometimes think that when I have collapsed with exhaustion or lack of anything further to say, he will be going relentlessly on. However often the story has been told it always comes fresh from his pen. Distinctive features of this book are the sections on a Jewish family in London, in New York, in Poland, Russia, and Israel. There are aspects which are common to them all but there are differences too and by pointing these out, though implicitly, the author has helped the reader and the teacher to avoid stereotyping. Early Sikh Tradition, H.W. McLeod, Clarendon Press, £1 .50. In his formidable study entitled ‘Guru Nanak and the Sikh Religion’, OUP. 1969, Hew McLeod scrutinised the janam sakhis in order to assess what could be known of the historical Guru Nanak. Now he has turned his attention to considering what the origin of the janam sakhis were and how these hagiographic accounts of the life of Guru Nanak grew, as well as trying to demonstrate their importance as a cohesive element within Sikhism. The janam sakhis are analysed into families and the sakhis themselves are listed according to form. The evolution of the material from oral tradition to final compilation is also undertaken. Although there are interesting discussions of the part played by Mardana and Bala in the janam sakhis, and many other important matters in the first two sections of the book, most readers will find section three the most useful. Here the author turns to their purpose, function and value, not only as historical documents but as evidence for studying the Sikh community of the seventeenth and perhaps the eighteenth century, It is just as true of the janam sakhis as it is of the Christian gospels that when the analysts have completed their work the understanding of them requires that they be regarded as the documents of a faith community. Divorced from the Panth the janam sakhis are incomprehensible, incredible or both. One could wish, therefore, that Professor McLeod had devoted more of the book to a specific study of the view of Sikhism which they give. The value of this important book must be diminished by the
fact that most of the material which is discussed is not available yet in English. Hew McLeod’s own translation of the B 40 janam sakhi has been held up by publishing difficulties for over two years now. One hopes that it will soon appear and that Sikh scholars themselves will render other janam sakhis available to the English reading student of Sikhism. Journeys Into Religion, Teacher’s Handbook ‘B’, £2.25; Early Christian Writings, £1.20; Islam, £1.20; Myth, History and Ritual, £1.20; Who Am I? £1.20; What is the Christian Church? £1.50, are the most recent titles to appear in the Schools Council secondary school R.E. series, from Hart-Davis educational. The format is that with which teachers will already be familiar, A4 booklets amply illustrated with photographs. Early Christian Writings is the story of the growth of the New Testament. It begins with sections of the Greek alphabet and words which have passed into English from Greek or have Greek roots. It then proceeds to codices and papyri before coming to the
Jerusalem church. In these early pages there is plenty of interesting material which should enable a good teacher to help her class to find the story behind the New Testament fascinating. The transition from a community which retained the treasured message of Jesus to writing is covered by means of a study of the work of Paul. We are spared a narrative of all his journeys and instead shown how circumstances provoked Paul into sending letters to the Christian groups for which he had a parental responsibility. Next comes an introduction to the gospels. Here again though one is made aware of the synoptic problem and form criticism the emphasis is upon the different interests that prompted the writing of the books so that the pupil is invited to encounter the scriptures rather than books or
theories about them. Although this is an introductory booklet for the younger secondary child, it is the product of considerable understanding of the New Testament and is the kind of material to be used also with fourth formers about to embark upon CSE or O level courses. The answer to the question “what is the Christian church?” might be something which began in Rome where it has persisted, spread to Russia where it became exotic, and came to Britain where it is fragmented. There is no mention of Christianity in black Africa, India or South America. Perhaps my implied criticism is unjust for these churches have as yet contributed little to Christendom and the writer had only 56 pages in which to tell his story, but the Constantinian mould is being broken and this book only tells how it was made and modified by the Reformation. Another book remains to be written. To be fair this book does explain clearly and well the main strands which constitute the Church and it is particularly pleasing to discover that the Roman Church has long been reformed and lives as a vital dynamic force. Too many books present it as a fossil faith in the way that Judaism is often depicted.
With some good anecdotes to supplement it this could be a book to make church history intelligible and meaningful. The unit on Islam has been a long time in appearing. I remember Donald Horder talking about it years ago. I would like to think that he would not have allowed this book which includes no less than four portraits of Muhammad to be published. They may come from Muslim sources but their presence in this book says little for sensitivity. There are good suggestions for things to do and some of the other pictures are very good, but one can easily find material on Islam which is just as attractive and not at all offensive. (Incidentally, a caption on page 13 suggests that the people responsible for the unit knew what they were doing.) It is doubtful whether school worship has ever provided the mass of participants with an experience of worship. Now it is becoming a topic seriously studied in the classroom. This unit will be a welcome addition to what is already available. Not only does it range widely through the religions, it also looks at meditation and at the use of music and architecture. It is careful to avoid falling into the trap of being a mere naming of the parts by always keeping in mind the question “what is worship”. Myth, History and Ritual concentrates on the meaning of myth and its place in religion. Examples are taken from the Bible, Hinduism. Buddhism, Sikhism, and such rituals as the communion service and Passover Seder. The weakest section is that on Pre-Christian remains in Britain mainly because it is based largely upon the druids about whom little is known but who are not to be associated with Avebury or Stonehenge as the unit suggests. Successful teaching about myth depends very much upon the skill of the teacher, I feel, This unit goes a long way to providing such a teacher with the tools for doing the job. Who Am I? seems to be a very suitable first unit for the secondary school class to study for it raises those issues in religion and behaviour which are the stuff of secondary school religious and moral education. It has to do with the senses, skills of mind and body, feelings and thought, creative ability and decision making. I’d like to see it made required reading for teachers who are going to work with infant children too for its issues are ageless. Minorities, by David W. Hicks, Heinemann, £8.50, is a teacher’s resource book for the multi-ethnic curriculum. Its primary concern is not with Religious Studies and perhaps one of its weaknesses is that it gives too little attention to that area of the curriculum. However, its considerable virtue lies in the fact that it deals with issues that the R.S. teacher may often ignore. All too frequently one encounters topics on race, colour, prejudice, development, India, which are liberal and spineless. David Hicks’ message seems to be the need to replace tokenism with accurate, though often unpleasant information. (Did you know, for example, that the aborigine population of Australia may have been as many as 200,000 when Cook landed, and that they were still hunted and shot for sport in this century?) There is also humour — the musings of Maoris when they heard of British intentions to repatriate each to his own country. It would leave Britain with the problem of absorbing some 20 million whites! Enquiries, Life in Developing Countries, Longman, £1.25, apparently written by W.J. Hanson, is mainly descriptive and raises few of the issues about which David Hicks is concerned. A developing country, for example, is one struggling into the twentieth century rather than one trying to recover from an era of colonial exploitation. This book has some merits but it doesn’t help me to understand why these people are ‘backward’, and development tends to be regarded in terms of emulating the west. The consequence of this will be anomie and denigration. Who Is Your God? by Harry Chicken, Longman, £1.30; Christian In A New World, by Bryan Halson, Longman, £1.30. These two books like others in the Religious Dimension series are very attractive in their format, clearly printed and well illustrated — though some teachers tell me that the number of words on the page can be daunting for some children. Harry Chicken’s book is written in the form of three stories, about a Celtic family in Ulster 1600 years ago, a Viking family of the tenth century, and a Roman family in AD 13 (though AUC might have been more appropriate), in that order. There seems to be no reason why chronology has not been observed but as younger children have no sense of historical time this may be unimportant. The stories are well told and should be of interest
to middle or older junior school readers. The author resists spoiling the tales by adding the story of conversion to Christianity; presumably therefore it would have been inappropriate to add a section on those features of the three religions which have survived into modern times, but this would have been an important aspect of religious studies to explore. A distinction is made between superstition and religion which I am never happy about, otherwise this is the sort of book to use when doing topics on Celts, Vikings or Romans in history. The rather inglorious but fascinating account of Christianity in America, mainly the USA, is the task Bryan Halson has set himself. It is accomplished with a fair degree of success though in sixty two pages the treatment of import and matters must often be too slight. Thus the lot of the Red Indian and the negro are mentioned but John Eliot receives only two lines and there is nothing about the kind of Christianity which emerged among the slaves and grew into the black churches. Despite a section on M.L. King junior it is the story of the white man’s religion (including the Mormons), but if this is the culture that is to transcend communism as President Reagan predicts, our children had better know about it. If the book had been topical and episodic rather than comprehensive it would have served
the classroom better, but it is nevertheless a welcome extension of the horizons of Christian studies. Back In Britain, Peter North’s Religion in Britain, Longman, £1 .30, might be regarded as a young person’s introduction to the sociology of religion. It asks the question “what counts as religion?” examines the long established expression of religion, surveys the new arrivals, and ends by considering religion and change. This book could be the base upon which to structure a secondary R.S. course or it could provide the goal to which the syllabus might be directed. It offers a useful framework into which to place beliefs and practices. Holy Books, Robin Davies, Longman, Religious Dimension series, £1.30. Potentially, this sounded an excellent title: Holy Books feature in a number of O level and CSE syllabuses, and it is an area where the teacher needs to draw together many strands of information for his pupils. It is also a complex area where objectives need to be clearly defined and where certain balances must be observed: on the one hand, ‘information input’ must be balanced by sympathetic understanding (What does the reading / hearing of the Qur’an in Arabic mean to the Muslim?); critical study of a text must be balanced with its use within the living milieu of the faith. At this point another problem arises, holy books interact with so many other aspects of a religion that it is hard not to be side-tracked from the central theme into a superficial resume of those other aspects. Unfortunately these are problems apparent and not wholly resolved in Holy Books. The author looks at books of five religions: Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism — in that order. I am still wondering about this order and the absence of Christianity; the inclusion of the latter would perhaps have prevented the use of ‘Old Testament’ for ‘Tenakh’ at a number of points in the text! The intention of each section is good: to describe the contents and formation of the holy books of the faith and then to set them within the daily life of the individual and the community of faith. Used judiciously the book will provide a useful source of information, but its limitations are nevertheless there: too apparent — in a welter of subheadings — than real in some sections, whilst visual material may be only loosely related to the text. Thus we have a picture of Iranians pouring away alcohol, and a picture a quarter of the size of the latter, showing an illuminated Qur’an but the text makes no reference to calligraphy in Islam! Then there is the tendency to cover too much ground. Perhaps it would have been better to give a little more space than eight lines to Hadith and to have excluded the lengthier description of a mosque. Perhaps a look at the use of scriptures in relation to two Jewish festivals would have been of greater value than a survey of the whole calendar. Rather more disconcerting are some of the ‘loose’ statements about the faiths and scriptures involved. ‘Nirvana’ is not a term in common use among Sikhs, and it is at least debatable whether the statements that the Buddha “saw that the cause of suffering was ignorance which could he cured by self denial” or that “as the Qur’an came after the Jewish and Christian Scriptures it is to be regarded as the final and most important Scripture” would be acceptable to Buddhists and Muslims: or again, do ‘most Christians’ stand when the Gospel
is read? These limitations apart, this addition to the Religious Dimensions series will provide a useful survey and checklist on the content and usage of holy books and pave the way perhaps for others to venture into what I have already suggested is a difficult area. — Mary Hayward Meeting Sikhism, Owen Cole & Piara Singh Sambhi, Longman, Religious Dimensions series, £1.30. The authors of Meeting Sikhism are already well known for a number of previous books on Sikhism. This new volume inevitably has some overlap with earlier books, but is sufficiently distinct to be complementary. The focus is on Sikhism in the Punjab, although its starting point is those facets of Sikhism which may already have attracted the attention of the reader — the turban, kesh and kara, and names. As with the other books in the series the organisation is in units. The second unit introduces the Punjab and highlights the religious foundation of Sikhism. For those studying pilgrimage, the third unit on the Darbar Sahib will prove useful, though I doubt whether the change to the first person at this
point is wholly convincing! The next unit turns to village life; here the attention given to the family, to children and games and dancing, together with a family wedding, should make the chapter a useful source of information for teachers of children in the primary school, as well as being of interest to older pupils working on projects. At the same time there is some imbalance in this unit, with its scant reference to birth and death. The theme of Sangat introduced in the latter part of the unit provides a link with England since community transcends and is independent of territory. The fifth unit thus leads naturally into human migration and looks at the pattern of Sikh life in Britain, whilst a final very brief unit comments on Sikhism’s potential and self-understanding in the twentieth century. Each unit has closely related tasks for pupils to carry out, and the standard of visual material in this volume is better than in others in the series, there being a number of full-plate and half-plate illustrations — but how much better these would be in colour! The ‘unbroken’ text on many pages may however cause difficulty for some pupils. The real strength of the book lies in its provision of material on Sikhism in the Punjab which it is not always easy to obtain. The book will make a useful reference text in the R.E. classroom, and may well be of use in humanities courses which study minority groups in British society and wish to explore their religious and cultural origins. M H Witness in a Pagan World — A Study of Mark’s Gospel, by Eric Johns & David Major, Lutterworth, £4.95. The synoptic Gospels, collectively or individually, remain popular for O level and CSE examinations. There are many long established textbooks available; it is refreshing, therefore, to find one which has a ‘new’ approach to offer, new that is in terms of textbooks on the Gospels suitable for use at this level, not new in terms of Biblical studies. The nature of the book is perhaps best expressed in the words of its introduction: “The emphasis of this book is on Mark as a creative writer who was attempting to present the truth about Jesus, as he saw it, in a way which would make sense to his readers.” It is this emphasis on the role and purpose of the evangelist, and the book’s implicit recognition of the contribution of form criticism and redaction criticism, which makes it refreshing as an O level text, since both — in a thoroughly digestible way — influence the structure of the book and the study of Mark which it offers. The introduction — background to the Gospel — alerts the reader to the nature of the Gospel material, the concerns of the early church, and some of the thought forms of the first century. The content of the Gospel is treated thematically under such headings as disciples, authority, miracles, Jesus’ purpose. Each area is clearly and succinctly discussed and appropriate questions set out for pupils to answer. The final section of the book invites and helps the reader, now informed by Mark’s portrait of Jesus, to ask the question “Who was Jesus?” and to distinguish between the Jesus of history and the Jesus of faith — issues which too many generations of school textbooks have ignored. — Mary Hayward World Studies in the European Classroom, by Edmund O’Connor, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1980. This study covers the case for teaching World Studies; the problems encountered in introducing or teaching them; possible strategies; and teaching approaches, themes and topics. The reasons given for supporting the introduction of an international dimension include the need to counter a growing national introversion; the multi-cultural nature of European societies; the need to influence attitudes towards the international community; to come to terms with an increasingly complex, interdependent world; and with the impact of the media. The study of world issues and cultures can also strengthen our understanding of our own societies by putting them into a wider perspective. The constraints include a lack of genuine commitment on the part of decision makers; overcrowded curricula and the demands of public examinations; the politically sensitive nature of many of the issues involved which raises questions relating to values; teachers’ lack of confidence and knowledge; and the need for a greater degree of collaboration and the establishment of supportive networks. Consideration is also given to the development of relevant teaching materials, the lack of interchange between teaching and research, and questions of definition and teaching objectives. The Strategies section covers education for international understanding, development education, the importance of adequate pre and in-service training with examples of long term in-service provision. Under Teaching, Approaches, Themes and Topics there is a discussion of disciplinarity, the problem of selection, approaches through particular disciplines with specific examples, and Interdisciplinary approaches such as the Scottish Modern Studies and the West German Gemeinschaftskunde. A section on Area Studies is followed by consideration of an approach through world issues or problems, again with specific examples. A chapter is included on appropriate Teaching Methods with a final section given to Findings and Recommendations while there is a bibliography of books and journals, and a short list of useful addresses. Religion in New Zealand Society, ed. Brian Colless and Peter Donovan, T. and T. Clark, 1980, £6.95, ISBN 567 09303 4. Travellers to ‘Godzone’, as New Zealand is irreverently called by her satirists, are surprised to find that they have not dropped off the edge of the world and, if they are interested in these things, that many of the religious institutions they know in Europe are alive and well in N.Z. This book is a most welcome first comer as a study of aspects of religion in that country. Eleven chapters cover the historical aspects, the contributions of the Maoris, the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, the Ecumenical movement, the Charismatic movement, the Sects, the Jewish community, the Indian community, the tendency towards pluralism, and the teaching of the subject at Universities. There is a good bibliography giving the works of direct relevance, although it is unfortunate that many of them will be hard to find over here. Several of the chapters bring out the flavour of religion in N.Z. effectively and stress the tension between religion and the prevailing materialism of the country and its other attractions (some would call them ‘religions’), namely rugby and beer. The central core of the book presents a coherent picture of religious groups in a largely secular environment where there is no established religion or Church and where the Education Act of 1877 provided for strict neutrality in the classroom, while allowing, under what is called the Nelson system, for religious teaching out of school hours, usually first thing in the morning. The local churches have responsibility for such teaching and upon their commitment and enthusiasm depends the success or failure of such a system, as the teachers are in no way involved and, until now, have received no training in teaching religion. Drawn from long.
established communities in Europe, many of the early settlers brought their own patterns of worship with them and sought to form settlements with their own religious polity. They now face pluralism and one of the interesting issues raised is whether there is such a thing as a ‘civil religion’ in N.Z. and what that would mean to the individual. For the rest, the chapters on Maori protest movements and on the Ecumenical scene are worthwhile, but regrettably that on the Roman Catholic Church is rather sketchy. What is also of considerable interest is the information on the quinquennial census, which provides for a statement of religious affiliation, if so desired, with the right to object to this question. The trends over the last 40 years are shown for each of the major churches and for a variety of sects, but in 1976 some 438,000 objected, a significant proportion of the 3 million population. Two minor criticisms: some of the terms used, e.g. of the Maori culture, are not fully explained and some references are opaque to a European reader; secondly, the Islamic presence is virtually ignored though Indian movements have a chapter. However, this is a stimulating collection of essays. — David Brewster Islam, by Fazlur Rahman, second edition, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, 1979. This is a reprint of the first edition of 1966 without any changes in the main text of the book but with an epilogue of 11 pages added at the end. The attractive 36 black and white plates which illustrated aspects of Islamic Art and Architecture have been omitted and the new edition is the poorer, even if it may be cheaper to have left them out. The Epilogue does not add a great deal, nor is there any reference to the developments in Islam since the first edition in a discussion of any depth nor reference to the substantial literature generated by them. The population figures cited at the beginning have not been up-dated, which is a pity. This book, on its first appearance, fulfilled a need, in supplying a
good introduction by an articulate Muslim who did research at Oxford and now teaches in the USA. It still fills that need and teachers will find it useful, but more could have been done once the decision to reprint had been taken. D.B. Five Religions in the Twentieth Century, W. Owen Cole, Hulton, £2.85. Owen Cole has rendered a valuable service to teachers of Religious Studies by addressing himself to the needs of examination candidates taking multi-faith syllabuses. Beyond this he has provided a reference book which all teachers will find useful. The arrangement of the book into sections on Messengers, Scriptures, Worship, Pilgrimages and Festivals distinguishes it from the many books available on a series of religions. In his introduction the author clearly lays down his purposes: (i) to “learn, analyse and understand, not to criticise or judge,” (ii) to “try to get as close as possible to the ideas and actions we are examining, to the kind of thought that passes through (the believer’s) mind.” The first purpose is skilfully achieved; if the second is to be achieved teacher and pupil will have to use the book imaginatively. It may have helped the vital process of matching the ideas and feelings involved in the traditions to those of the reader had there been some case studies of real live believers describing what they experience in a pilgrimage or in worship. In short, the book would then have been more about Hindus than Hinduism; Christians rather than Christianity, etc. Teachers of examination groups (e.g. AEB O level) will warmly welcome the book, teachers will find it invaluable for thematic studies and for answering the many questions which arise for themselves and their pupils when teaching World Religions. — David Naylor N.B. Page 21 the word not has been omitted at the end of line 7, p,1 1; the York massacre took place in 1190, one hundred years before the expulsion of Jews from England. Now reprinting — correctly.
Apologies! Author Afro-Caribbean Religions, ed. by Brian Gates. Ward Lock, £7.50. There is no doubt about the need for such text-books as Afro-Caribbean Religions, published by Ward Lock international and edited by Brian Gates of St. Martin’s College, Lancaster. This is an attempt to provide material for teachers who wish to broaden the awareness of their pupils about life in a multi-racial society (as Britain is today), and for those in particular who find themselves in Inner City and down-town locations where schools have very racially mixed classes. Whether this is the right way to achieve that end will be one of continuing debate, for in bringing together the contributions of twelve writers representing seven disciplines from anthropology to domestic science, one gets the feeling that too much has been attempted! Indeed, to lump together the Caribbean and African religious experience on the basis of a cultural inheritance which is at least 200 years old, has to my mind, precluded any serious consideration of the way Christianity has become a dynamic part of present day West Indian life in the Caribbean! Part I of the book provides 7 chapters, and tries to describe the African spiritual inheritance, outline the present broad sweep of religious developments, and the emergence of new sects in the Caribbean since the turn of the century. Yet if this book intended to help understand West Indian communities in Britain today, why provide a whole chapter on Voodooism in Haiti, when there are no Haitian communities in England! Surely a more detailed description of the new Ecumenical Movement in the Caribbean, and mention of some of the outstanding leaders, both men and women, who have emerged from within this significant area of the world, would have been more pertinent. Part II is the more substantial section of the book, and includes useful bibliographies for each chapter dealing with projects and themes for each age-group in the classroom situation. Margaret Killingray provides a chapter on ‘Resources in the Classroom’, but again there is an imbalance in favour of African studies which does not equate with the emphasis either in the analytic chapters of Part I or the project suggestions in Part II. It was refreshing to read Elizabeth Thomas-Hope’s brief chapter on ‘The Pattern of Caribbean Religions’, and stimulating to sense the awareness of Cole in that on ‘Secondary School Projects’. I commend this book as a useful tool for teachers, and certainly to be included in the libraries of Teacher Training Colleges. It is a good starting point, but some of the generalised statements seem to indicate a lack of first-hand awareness of a people who have come among us to enrich British society permanently. Perhaps more West Indian writers might be tried next time! Trevor S. Bates Guidelines for Religious Education, City of Manchester, 1980, claims quite specifically not to be an Agreed Syllabus. It is a document recommended for use until such a syllabus is produced. Within these limits it is a helpful practical booklet, listing a few key resource books and providing the names, addresses and phone numbers of a team of people who may be called upon for advice. To think in terms of a group of specialists, in colleges and resource centres is surely a move in the right direction. No teacher can go it alone in R.S. any longer, and no adviser can single sports carred cover the whole of any LEA area. If only falling rolls could be used to free some teachers and college tutors to spend one or two afternoons or a day each week to give on-the-spot guidance, especially to recently qualified
staff! Sensible advice is offered on the use of themes in primary R.E., moral education, and the use of the Bible, as well as such subjects as special school R.E. and R.E. in the sixth form. Humberside has just published its Agreed Syllabus which it hopes, through the efforts of Joe Bysh and the completion of the Humber Bridge will happily unite north and south. The syllabus is to be supplemented by a handbook and an on-going programme of in-service work. As the syllabus and its handbook obviously form a unity both will be reviewed together in the next mailing. Also received: Meeting Points Assembly Book, Frank L. Pinfold, Longman, £2.95. These are primary school assemblies of a traditional kind. Almost the only reference to world religions is the story of William Carey witnessing sati. There is no mention of Indian opposition to the practice and the assembly ends with the prayer, “Dear God, help us to be kind and understanding with people of other countries.” Exploring Red Letter Days, Dorothy Taylor, Lutterworth, £5.95. This is a very useful collection of genuinely multi-faith material arising from the author’s advisory work in Inner London primary schools. VISUAL MATERIALS
People at Worship is a valuable set of aids covering aspects of the five major religions to be found in Britain today. Christianity is represented by an eighteen slide account of a series three communion service. In common with the other sets the slides are clear, helpful and unambiguous, showing in a natural way the actions and rituals which they portray. Only very occasionally does the photographer, Roger Bradley, allow art to dominate his judgement. The notes are sound and full, especially those covering the Eucharist, which reproduce much of the liturgical text. They may be used as a script, but the good teacher will probably use them as a guide and be thankful for the Biblical references which provide a basis for further study. Judaism is well served by eighteen slides showing the Sabbath in
the home. It may be that the choice was determined by the impossibility of photographing worship in a synagogue on a Shabbat. Nevertheless it turns out to be a happy one for whereas it may be possible to take classes to a synagogue this domestic aspect of the faith is likely to be one which they can never hope to experience. Twenty four slides take the viewer inside a Hindu mandir in Leicester to observe an Arti ceremony. Here the symbolism of actions is extremely important, the outsider can often be left with the impression that puja is just odd and exotic, so it is pleasing to find the notes taking the reader into the meaning of what the slides portray. Arti may be the main expression of worship to be seen in temples in Britain but it is not the only one, so there is scope for those who have produced these sets to turn to Havan and Hindu festivals. Muslim and Sikh worship have been covered in other series of slides or filmstrips. However, I would want to possess these sets as well as the others because they concentrate on worship, the photography is clear and the notes good, and there are frames which add to what already exists. For example, Ardas, bowing before the Guru Granth Sahib, and carrying the scriptures in the Sikh set, and a family at prayer, as well as clocks showing the prayer times in the set on Islamic worship. Maurice Stevens, R.E. adviser for Leicestershire, Philip Emmett, head of religious studies at Sir Jonathan North School, and Roger Bradley who took the photographs and is in charge of a Leicester teachers’ centre, are to be congratulated on forming a team which has worked together very successfully to produce these five sets which teachers are sure to appreciate. I understand that further sets on symbols, weddings, festivals, and initiation rites are already in preparation, some of them may appear before the autumn term begins. If they are of the quality of the five sets reviewed here they will provide the CSE and O level teacher with the visual material that he has been waiting for for a long time. One is left greedily asking for more, though I’d like the notes in booklet form. Christian
Worship (S14i 1) and Jewish Worship (S1412) cost £5.40 each, the 24 slide sets, Muslim Worship (S1413), Sikh Worship (1414), and Hindu Worship (S1415) cost £6.75 each. All are available from The Slide Centre Ltd, 143 Chatham Road, London SW1 1 6SR. The Central Jewish Lecture and Information Committee of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Woburn House, Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H OEP, has also published two filmstrips which examine family aspects of Judaism. Each costs £4.50. The first is Brit Milah, circumcision. The actual rite is placed in the context of a family gathering. The first seventeen frames show the Mohel and his assistant but the emphasis is upon the family’s loving care of the baby. The last fifteen shots are of the baby being named and given a bottle of milk and of the family celebrations. The actual operation is not seen, it happened ‘rather too quickly for our camera to catch’. There will be teachers who do not feel able to use this filmstrip and classes with which one would not use it. However, the presentation is extremely
sensitive, the notes are careful to stress the concern of the Mohel as well as the family for the health of the baby —this little boy was about a month old, having had jaundice when he was born and any notion that this is a ‘barbarous custom’ should be dispelled by what is seen and written. Though it is to be hoped that teachers will use the circumcision filmstrip, one can confidently predict that the second, Barmitvah, will be popular. Again there are comprehensive notes and a helpful glossary. The story begins about a year before the actual occasion with Stephen being taught by his rabbi. It then proceeds to the preparations, sending out the invitations and finding room for all the relatives who descend upon the household. Next come eleven excellent frames showing the Sepher Torah being taken from the Ark, carried to the Bimah and read by the Barmitvah boy as the women look fondly on from the gallery. These shots are so useful that I would immediately want to cut this filmstrip into slides so that I could use them in a variety of contexts. After the service we are taken
to the kiddush and the party. Shabbat over and the relatives on their way home presumably, the family can relax with a game of scrabble or to watch the big match. If you have a double lesson some of the class can play the Jewish Year Game. Laminated, with dice and counters it costs £1.75, the basic poster is £1.00. Beginning with the Fast of the Firstborn (lose two points) the players move in a clockwise direction round a circle marked with Shabbats, Fasts, and Festivals, winning or losing turns and points until Purim is reached. Then one may call it a year and count up the total, or go round again. The rules are minimal, each special occasion is simply and clearly explained. This is education made enjoyable. The idea could catch on. Any offers for making up a game based on the Hindu year(s)? Paul Shaw and Clive Lawton are to be congratulated on these productions. Perspectives: India by D.N. Mottershead and P. Shurmer comprises three sets of slides on city life, country life, and life in Bihar. The quality of the slides is good as one would expect and they depict the considerable variety which is life in India. Often there is an intentional contrast between rich and poor. Though the study was not produced with religious studies particularly in mind, the nature of Hinduism is such that the geographer or historian who teaches about India must know something about its religions. In the same way I would argue that the R.S. teacher who is ignorant of India’s geography and history will never fully understand its indigenous religions .A number of frames relate to temples and festivals, even more have to do with caste by which the authors presumably mean both varna and jati, though this is not completely clear. The slides introduce the viewer to India in the raw, dentists working on the street at the side of an open drain, a jaggery seller handling his gritty fly-blown wares, for example. Only the less pleasant smells of the country seem to be missing. The teacher who uses this material, or teaches Hinduism as the religion of the majority of Indians rather than six philosophical systems which most Hindus have never heard of, needs to address himself to the possible effect that his approach may have on his hearers. When Zaehner actually visited India after teaching Hinduism for many years he was evidently not pleased with what he saw. Let this material be used, it is far better than the black and white Oxfam type pictures, but let it be used with sensitivity. If you don’t teach Hinduism is it being taught elsewhere, as part of a geography course? The sets cost £3.15 each and are produced by Educational Productions Ltd. Resource: Readers of Shap Mailing may be interested in Resource, a journal for teachers of religious education, published by the Institute of Education at the University of Warwick. Resource began in 1978 as an aid for R.E. teachers in Coventry and Warwickshire, drawing on the ideas of local teachers, giving news of regional and national courses, and reviewing new books and AVA. During its first three years, Resource has changed in format and widened its appeal and its circulation (it is now taken by all schools in seven LEAs as well as by subscribers) while retaining a policy of giving practical help to R.E. teachers in primary and secondary schools. Recent issues have included articles about designing a mode III CSE or O level exam, planning a multi-faith R.E. scheme in a junior school, finding new ways to use the Bible in religious education, teaching the philosophy of religion at A level and using stories in primary R.E. There have been special issues on the school
assembly and on the use of outside visits in religious education. (Limited numbers of the special issues are still available at 5Op per copy including postage.) Resource is published three times a year, and the annual subscription is £1.50 including postage. Special rates are available to Local Education Authorities for bulk orders. Cheques should be made out to University of Warwick Institute of Education. Please write to either of the editors (Dennis Starkings and Robert Jackson) at the Department of Arts Education, Westwood, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL.
FORTHCOMING EARLY IN 1982 Approaching World Religions, edited by Robert Jackson: the first in the new series World Religions in Education to be published by John Murray Ltd. A symposium written by R.E. teachers in schools, colleges and universities, Approaching World Religions aims to inform teachers about successful existing practice in multi-faith religious education and to answer the reservations which many teachers and parents have about a world-religious approach to R.E. These reservations concern such matters as the relationship between the religious commitments of teachers and pupils and the subject matter of R.E., the implications of a multi-faith approach for children’s understanding of their cultural heritage, and the relevance of world religions to the personal development of children and young people. The book is divided into five sections, each of which is introduced by the editor. Contributers are: Jean Holm, Marilyn Thomas, Eric Pain, Peter Woodward, John Hull, Raymond Hammer, Dennis Starkings, Allan Hawke, Owen Cole, Richard Tames, Robin Richardson, Brian Gates, Michael Grimmitt, and Simon Weightman. Lutterworth Press report that they are often asked whether R.E. books are available for teachers’ centres at a special price. The answer is ‘Yes, at a discount of 50% provided they are on permanent display, the teachers’ centre is open during working hours and there are R.E. teachers visiting, regularly for courses, discussion or inspection.’ Teachers can, of course, purchase titles for themselves through their usual suppliers. If you would like to receive the Lutterworth Press newsletter regularly or request inspection copies, write to: Religious Books Editor (for newsletter) or Inspection Copy Department, Lutterworth Press, Luke House, Farnham Road, Guildford, Surrey GUI 4XD.