Many scholars assume that all genuine religions are basically similar and that it is possible to define the sphere of religion in terms of the 'sacred' or the 'holy'. In his latest book, Max Charlesworth argues that we must take the diversity of religions as a primary fact. Any religion is an active response to a revelation of the divine, and human beings receive these revelations, interpret them and develop them in a variety of ways. To illustrate his thesis, he considers a number of examples of the 'invention' of religion, ranging from Australian Aboriginal religions to the Rhineland mystical movement associated with Meister Eckhart in the early fourteenth century, from the seventeenth-century sects like the Muggletonians, to Roman Catholic attempts in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to construct a theological account of doctrinal development and also to formulate a Christian ethic.
'This elegantly slim volume approaches fat and unwieldy issues of religious creativity ... This is an intelligent, wide-ranging and interesting book.' Times Literary Supplement