Keith Douglas' Web Page

About me Find out who I am and what I do.
My resumé A copy of my resumé and other documentation about my education and work experience for employers and the curious.
Reviews, theses, articles, presentations A collection of papers from my work, categorized and annotated.
Current research projects What I am currently working on, including some non-research material.
Interesting people People professionally "connected" to me in some way.
Interesting organizations Organizations I am "connected" to. (Some rather loosely.)
Intellectual/professional influences Influences on my work, including an organization chart. Here you can also buy many good books on philosophy and other subjects via amazon.com. I have included brief reviews of hundreds of books.
Professional resources Research sources, amazon.com associates programs, etc.
What is the philosophy of computing? A brief introduction to my primary professional interest.
My intellectual heroes A partial list of important people. Limited to the dead.
My educational philosophy As a sometime teacher I've developed one. Includes book resources.

Book Influences - Religion

Title
Author
Purchase / Enjoy Cover
Comment
Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses Stewart Reference for the Celts.
Challenging the Verdict: A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" Doherty A superb intellectual demolishing of a noted Christian apologist by someone who really knows the history of Greek thought and also understands various Jewish traditions well. Both keys necessary for unravelling early Christianity. Sorry, folks, the Gospels just aren't history. Period.
Essence of Christianity Feuerbach Feuerbach is often remembered merely as a subject of Marx's criticisms. This book of his contains his humanistic interpretation of Christianity. Feuerbach's work should also be regarded as a forerunner of Durkheim's in the philosophy of religion, as it addresses some of the same considerations.
From Religion to Philosophy Cornford A classic showing relationships between philosophical ideas and Greek religious ones. Not as silly as it sounds; the connections are made plausible and the genuinely philosophical contributions shine through too.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu Sandars A tiny book telling the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, one of the oldest roots of near Eastern mythology.
Gods in the Global Village Kurtz Religion in the modern world.
God: The Failed Hypothesis Stenger See my amazon.com review.
Has Science Found God? Stenger See my amazon.com review.
Heroes and Monsters Reeves Greek mythology summaries.
I Ching in Ten Minutes Kaser Take this book's title with a rather large grain of salt.
Jesus Neither God Nor Man: The Case For a Mythical Jesus Doherty This is an expanded edition of Doherty's earlier book The Jesus Puzzle. Greatly expanded, it responds to critics of his remarkable but extremely well argued thesis: there was no historical Jesus of any consequence related to the origin of Christianity. Moreover, the epistles and other writings out and out tell you so. (Both directly and otherwise.) Warning: to fully appreciate this thesis and its defense one needs some prior background in understanding Platonism, because Christianity appears to have started as one particular platonized Judaism. This latter ingredient also explains why in part the thesis looks to be correct. Those of us who were raised outside of Jewish circles might find this thesis surprising. However many people I know with some Judaic education point out a central feature of Doherty's argument is relatively obvious, namely that the gospels are midrash and not history. A minor quibble about the book: it is very long and in several places it is easy to lose track of where the argument is going.
Myths from Mesopotamia Dalley More near eastern mythology, this time translations of original texts with commentary.
Nonbelief & Evil: Two Arguments for the Nonexistence of God Drange Intended as a textbook, this is a patiently spelled out work of "atheology". In addition to families of arguments suggested by the title, Drange also considers others. He also (although invokes pseudoquanties) performs the useful task of showing how the different conceptions of god are affected by the various arguments.
Norse Gods and Giants D'Aulaire Intended for children, so lavishly illustrated. Nevertheless also found are glossaries, discussions, etc.
Physics of Immortality Tipler Despite Tipler's crazy (and now, falsified, it seems) thesis and insufferable arrogance there are a few things of positive note in this book. One is a good physical argument to the effect that all elementary particles of a species are, in fact, equivalent ("identical") or "exchangable". Another concerns the ultimate discreteness of reality via the Bekenstein bound.
Religion Explained Boyer A discussion of the social/anthropological "use" of religion.
Sociology and Religion Greeley (ed.) A collection of papers on the sociology of religion, including some by Freud, Durkheim, etc. A remarkable piece about masochism and religion is one of the more shocking - at least to some people.
Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu A difficult to understand Chinese classic. Some day I think I should study it in more detail.
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts Finkelstein and Silberman A dense, detailed yet introductory tome about the current state of the art in biblical archaeology. Conclusion: much of what Christians call the Old Testament is exaggerated stories, myths and legends which, from time to time, have nuggets of confirmable events described. The conquest of Canaan, the Exodus and certainly all the "early world" stuff in Genesis is almost completely fictionalized. I did find it astonishing how much has been uncovered to shed light on the many possible areas of investigation: I guess in a hot dry place things preserve easier.
The Born Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible Green A funny look at many of the absurdities and problems with the bible ...
The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God? Freke and Gandy This book defends the "yes" answer to the question in its title by drawing upon a wealth of information about the gnostics now available but poorly systematized and understood. The authors are a bit too cavalier with some sources (particularly those pertaining to some of the more traditional philosophers), but the over-all conclusion is more or less correct as far as I am concerned (Christianity as originally Judaism smashed together into a big lump with neo-Platonism). One can ignore the call for a revival of the mystical gnosticism too, as it is very squishy. Warning to believers: this book will confuse you, but that's the experience of the Socratic elenchus for you ...
The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God Sagan This posthumously published transcription of Sagan's Gifford lectures is like a precis of Cosmos with a focus on religion. Sagan's position is that religions have to update themselves continually in light of new evidence about the nature of the universe and ourselves or be rendered otiose at best. He thinks that they can from part of an ethical society, but only if the above condition is met. I fear he should have analyzed "religion" as much as he analyzes "god", to say the least. Nevertheless it is nice, as his editor and wife Ann Druyan says, to hear his "voice" again. Since Sagan was brought to my attention to by my late grandfather I also hear his voice when reading this ...
Unknown Gods Bibby Sociology of religion in Canada.
What the Buddha Never Taught Ward Canadian journalist lives a while as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. Hilarity ensues.

 

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