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The Ultimate EBook Libraryx

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Newest Books

Kabbalah

Written By: Dan, Joseph

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In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the relationship between Kaballah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinating historical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the most potent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading. Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for the Kabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality? In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism.

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Steve Bruce conveys the essence of the field of sociology in this fascinating volume. A well-known populizer of the discipline, Bruce presents here an introduction to a way of thinking that will appeal to anyone interested in deepening their understanding of modern society. Bruce reasserts the value of sociology as a social science, as a framework of understanding the human condition that grounds its explanations in reliable observations of the real world. Drawing on studies of social class, crime and deviance, work in bureaucracies, and changes in religious and political organizations, Bruce explores the tension between the individual's role in society and society's role in shaping the individual. Sociology: A Very Short Introduction demonstrates the value of sociology as a perspective for understanding the modern world.

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The Druids have been known and discussed for at least 2400 years, first by Greek writers and later by the Romans, who came in contact with them in Gaul and Britain. According to these sources, they were a learned caste who officiated in religious ceremonies, taught the ancient wisdoms, and were revered as philosophers. But few figures flit so elusively through history, and the Druids remain enigmatic and puzzling to this day. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the leading authorities on British archaeology, Barry Cunliffe, takes the reader on a fast-paced look at the ever-fascinating story of the Druids, as seen in the context of the times and places in which they practiced. Sifting through the evidence, Cunliffe offers an expert's best guess as to what can be said and what can't be said about the Druids, discussing the origins of the Druids and the evidence for their beliefs and practices, why the nature of the druid caste changed quite dramatically over time, and how successive generations have seen them in very different ways.

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China today is never out of the news: from human rights controversies and the continued legacy of Tiananmen Square, to global coverage of the Beijing Olympics, and the Chinese "economic miracle." It is a country of contradictions and transitions: a peasant society with some of the world's most futuristic cities, an ancient civilization that is modernizing as rapidly as possible, a walled-off nation that is increasingly at the center of world trade. This Very Short Introduction offers an indispensable starting point for anyone who needs to quickly know the themes and controversies that have shaped modern China. Prize-winning author and scholar Rana Mitter examines the modern history, politics, economy, and thriving cultural scene of contemporary China, and its relations with the wider world. This lively guide covers a range of social issues from the decline of footbinding and the position of women in society, to the influence of television and film, and the role of the overseas Chinese diaspora. It covers many prominent figures as well, such as the Communist leaders, the last emperors, and prominent writers and artists throughout China's history.

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It's 5:00 PM. Everyone's hungry. It's take-out or fake-out, meaning nuking a processed meal from the freezer. Here's a third option that doesn't include heaps of calories and fat: over 70 recipes for pastas, risottos, and rice derived from Robin Miller's fabulous cookbook Robin Takes 5 plus a special video introduction by the author. Imagine quickly preparing delicious meals for yourself, your friends and your family with just 5 fabulous ingredients. Even better? Every dish is mouth-wateringly 500 calories or less and most of them contain 500 mg or less of sodium. Look no further for your nightly noshing because when Robin Takes 5, we all reap the rewards.

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The subject of international security is never out of the headlines. The subjects of war and peace, military strategy, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and revisionist states remain central to the discussion, but burgeoning concerns such as climate change, migration, poverty, health, and international terrorism have complicated the field. So what really matters? The traditional prioritization of state security or the security needs of individuals, humanity, and the biosphere? And where do the problems lie? Are states themselves as much a part of the problem as the solution for people's security needs? With globalization, the international security environment has become more interdependent than ever before with the establishment of complex networks that make responding to and managing security challenges increasingly difficult, but increasingly necessary. This Very Short Introduction shows that international security is both vibrant and deeply contested, with stakeholders frequently in disagreement over questions of priority and approach. Christopher S. Browning outlines the nature of the key debates about contemporary international security challenges, and discusses the inherent difficulties that exist in tackling them. He also asks to what extent such debates are infused with questions of power, politics, justice, morality, and responsibility. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Retail From the founders of the international health-care behemoth Johnson & Johnson in the late 1800s to the contemporary Johnsons of today, such as billionaire New York Jets owner Robert Wood "Woody" Johnson IV, all is revealed in this scrupulously researched, unauthorized biography by New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer.  Often compared to the Kennedy clan because of the tragedies and scandals that had befallen both wealthy and powerful families, Crazy Rich, based on scores of exclusive, candid, on-the-record interviews, reveals how the  dynasty's vast fortune was both intoxicating and toxic through the generations of a family that gave the world Band-Aids and Baby Oil.  At the same time, they've been termed perhaps the most dysfunctional family in the fortune 500. Oppenheimer is the author of biographies of the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Hiltons and Martha Stewart, among other American icons.

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Chinese ink painting is an offshoot of calligraphy and is a beautiful and reflective art that's been revered in China for centuries. A wonderfully creative tool, this book is an excellent way for newcomers to experience this ancient art form. Traditional black-and-white Chinese ink painting elements, along with the tradition's essentials—such as the quality and variety of the tools and accessories used in its practice are all covered. The Art of Chinese Brush Painting encourages readers to be mindful of the principles of composition and perspective, and introduces specific techniques for several different elements, including Chinese Zodiac animals and landscapes.

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Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire What is tantra? Who is qualified to practice it? How should it be practiced? What are the results? According to Buddhism, every human being has the potential to achieve profound and lasting happiness. And according to the tantric teachings of Buddhism, this remarkable transformation can be realized very quickly if we utilize all aspects of our human energy - especially the energy of our desires. Introduction to Tantra is the best available clarification of a subject that is often misunderstood. This new edition of this classic text includes a new foreword by Philip Glass and a new cover design, but leaves untouched Lama Yeshe's excellent original text, edited by Jonathan Landaw. Tantra recognizes that the powerful energy aroused by our desire is an indispensable resource for the spiritual path. It is precisely because our lives are so inseparably linked with desire that we must make use of desire's tremendous energy not just for pleasure, but to transform our lives. Lama Yeshe presents tantra as a practice leading to joy and self-discovery, with a vision of reality that is simple, clear, and extremely relevant to twenty-first century life.

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In this clear, concise account, Siderits makes the Buddhist tradition accessible to a Western audience, offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the basic tenets of Buddhist thought.