Religion, Science and Pantheism
Reading List & Bookshop

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Contents

Religions and pantheisms

Religious issues

Science

General
Native American
Hinduism
Buddhism
Taoism
Greece and Rome
Judaism
Islam
Christianity
Post-Christian pantheists
Religious philosophy
Religion & science
Mind/Body
Parapsychology
Environmental psychology
Ethics & environment
Ceremony & meditation
Death
Physics
Cosmology
Astronomy
Life sciences
Self-organization
Evolution
Earth science & Gaia

  In this reading list I have tried to include all the major pantheist thinkers and major texts from East and West, together with essential books on religious philosophy, environment, and science.

    This is a personal recommendation list. These are the best books I know of, and they are the ones I use myself. Where possible I have chosen cheap paperback editions.

    The books with a hyperlink lead directly to Amazon US or (on the UK page) to Amazon UK. If you want more than one book from this list, do please come back to my bookshop to link to Amazon from here. This is done most easily by right clicking on each link and opening it in a new browser window.

    The books (even with postage) will usually cost you less than in a bookshop, and just the same as if you went straight to Amazon, but by buying through the links on this page you will help me to devote a little more of my time to the World Pantheist Movement.

Paul Harrison

 

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Religions

Pantheism

Harrison, Paul, Elements of Pantheism, Element Books, London and New York, 1999.
   
The only overview of pantheist history, theory and practice in print. Includes a pantheist calendar and almanac. Click here for full description. For other books by Paul Harrison, see below
Levine, Michael, Pantheism, Routledge, London and New York, 1994.
   
A philosopher's analysis of mainline pantheism. Useful if you're rich enough to afford it.

Native American

McGaa, Ed, Mother Earth Spirituality, Harper San Francisco, 1990.
   Native American texts of eco-spirituality.
Miller, Lee, From the Heart: Voices of the American Indian, Vintage Books, 1996.
First hand accounts of Native American history and culture.

Hinduism

RadhaKrishnan, S., ed, The Principal Upanishads, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, 1995.
   
The Upanishads present an idealistic form of pantheism.
Edgerton, Franklin, The Bhagavad Gita, Harvard Oriental Series, 1994.
  
  Good translation and scholarly introduction.

Buddhism

De Bary, William, ed., The Buddhist Tradition, Vintage Books, New York, 1972.
   
Very useful book of readings, including all schools from Theravada to Zen.
Cleary, Thomas, The Flower Ornament Scripture, Shambhala, Boulder, 1984.
   
The astonishing scripture that gave rise to Hua-Yen Buddhism. Perhaps the most inspiring of all Buddhist scriptures.
Suzuki, Daisetz, Essays in Zen Buddhism vol 1, Grove Press, New York, 1986. The classic exposition of basic Zen history and concepts.

Taoism

Chan, Wing-Tsit, A Sourcebook of Chinese Philosophy, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1953
   
A compendious book of important readings
Legge, James, The Texts of Taoism, Dover, 1962.
   
Contains the Tao te Ching and the Chuang Tzu.
Wong, Eva, Taoism, Shambhala, Boston & London, 1997
   
A good and simple basic introduction.
Wu, John, Tao Teh Ching, Shambhala, Boston, 1989.
Everyone should have at least one edition of the Tao te Ching, and this is a good one.
Palmer, Martin, The Book of Chuang Tzu, Penguin Arkana, London and New York, 1996.
A good readable edition of a work astoundingly rich in earthy wisdom and dazzling style.

Greece and Rome

Kahn, Charles, The Art and Thought of Heraclitus, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1979.
   
All the surviving fragments of the greatest of all materialist philosophers, with an excellent intro and commentary on each fragment.
Long, A. A. & Sedley, D. N., eds, The Hellenistic Philosophers, volume 1, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987.
   
Comprehensive book of readings from Stoic, Epicurean and Skeptic philosophers. Don't be put off by the title.
Barnes, Jonathan, Early Greek Philosophy, Penguin, London and New York, 1987.
   
Good and exhaustive selections of all the main pre-socratics from Thales to Democritus.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Penguin, London and New York, 1969.
   
The classic Stoic text. Superbly written, deeply moving and wise.
Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe, trs R. E. Latham, Penguin, London and New York, 1994.
   
A wonderful iconoclastic materialist in the modern mould, but often lyrical about nature and the universe. Very influential on later pantheists.
Plotinus, The Enneads, (abridged) ed John Dillon, 1991.
    The greatest statement of emanationist-type neo-platonic pantheism.

Judaism

Matt, Daniel, The Essential Kabbalah, Castle Books, Edison, 1997.
   
Excellent selection.

Islam

Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom, SPCK, London, 1980.
   
Ibn Arabi's panentheism is so strong, it verges on pantheism.

Christianity

Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings, translated by Oliver Davies, Penguin Books, London and New York, 1994.

Post-Christian

Bruno, Giordano, Cause, Principle and Unity, ed., Richard Blackwell, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998.
   
Basic text, often quite hard going.
Spinoza, Benedict, Ethics , 1995.
 
   The core work of Spinoza's system.
Spinoza, Benedict, A Theologico-Political Treatise, Dover Books, New York, 1951.
   
More readable and often more powerful than the Ethics.
Toland, John, Pantheistikon, London, 1721, and Letters to Serena, London, 1704.
   
Difficult to find, but of tremendous historical importance.
Hegel, Georg, The Philosophy of History, Hackett Publishing Co., 1988.
   
Founding text of what Whitehead turned into process theology.
Wordsworth, William, The Prelude, Penguin, London and New York, 1996
   
The poetic autobiography of the greatest of the British pantheist poets.
Shelley, The Necessity of Atheism & Other Essays, Freethought Library
   
Shelley would have been a scientific pantheist had he been alive today.
Shelley, Complete Poems, Modern Library.
    
Ode to the West Wind is highly pantheistic.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Essays and Poems, Library of America College ed, 1996
    
The essay Nature gives the nub of Emerson's transcendentalist pantheism.
Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass, Penguin Books, 1997.
    
Especially Song of Myself.
Ernst Haeckel, The Riddle of the Universe, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, 1992.
   
The first modern book of materialist pantheism [Haeckel was also a racist eugenicist, but these ideas  are very subdued in The Riddle.]
Robinson Jeffers, Selected Poems, Stanford University Press, 1989.
   
Jeffers was a poet of raw nature, very close to scientific pantheism.
Calaprice, Alice, The Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1996.
   
An excellent selection including Einstein's pantheistic views on religion.
De Chardin, Teilhard, The Phenomenon of Man, Harper Collins, 1975.
   
Teilhard was a panentheist rather than a pantheist, but his scientific background makes this stimulating reading. Read with your critical faculties turned to High.

 

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Philosophy & religion general

Religious philosophy

Otto, Rudolf, The Idea of the Holy, trs John Harvey, Oxford University Press, New York, 1968.
   
The enduring classic about what exactly makes those religious hairs at the back of your neck stand on end.
Hume, David, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Oxford University Press, New York, 1994.
   
A wonderful ageless classic of skepticism, full of solid arguments against theism.

Religion, science and environment

Barlow, Connie, Green Space, Green Time,
    Tackles the problem of bridging the gap between science and meaning. Readable, personal, clear, and accessible.

Davies, Paul, God and the New Physics, Penguin Books, New York and London, 1983.
Davies, Paul, The Mind of God, Penguin Books, New York and London, 1994
   
Davies' books are full of accessible science, but his interpretation veers towards conscious design at work in the universe.
Ferguson, Kitty, The Fire in the Equations, Bantam Books, New York and London, 1995
    Probably the best overview of modern scientists's forays into theology.
Regenstein, Lewis, Replenish the Earth, SCM Press, London, 1991
   
A full review of the attitude to nature in many religions.
Richardson, W. Mark, Religion and Science, Routledge, New York and London 1996.
   
A collection covering the history of relations between these two, and modern interactions from cosmology, quantum physics, chaos theory etc.
White, Andrew, The Warfare of Science with Theology
       
Wonderful classic and epic review of how Christianity impeded all branches of science for more than 1500 years.

Mind/Body

 

Beatty, Jackson, Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience, Brown & Benchmark, Dubuque, 1995
   
Nicely illustrated textbook of how the brain works, essential background.
Churchland, Paul, Matter and Consciousness, MIT Press, Cambridge, 1988.
   
Good basic materialist position with evidence.
Dennett, Daniel, Consciousness Explained, Little, Brown, Boston & London, 1991.
A consistently physicalist explanation of one of life's great mysteries.
Rey, Georges, Contemporary Philosophy of Mind, Blackwell, Oxford, 1997.
   
Good survey if you want to know what you are talking about.

Parapsychology

Eysenck, Hans, Explaining the Unexplained, Prion, London 1997.
   
Eysenck takes the view that research has shown there's something out there.
Kurtz, Paul, A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, 1985
   
If this is not still in print, it would be a crying shame. Good documentation on every aspect of ESP claims.
Sagan, Carl, This Demon-Haunted World, Headline, London, 1996.
   
Sagan's impassioned denunciation of New Age superstition and anti-science.
 

Environmental psychology and therapy

Cohen, Michael, Reconnecting with Nature, Project Nature Connect, Friday Harbor, Washington, 1995.
   
Using nature as psycho-therapy for stress and other mental problems.
Roszak, Theodore, Ecopsychology, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1995.
   
Collection of essays on this new approach to linking individual psychology with the health of the environment.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon, Full Catastrophe Living, Dell Publishing, New York, 1990.
   
Excellent therapy book, based on Zen meditation and awareness, and facing up to reality rather than escaping it.

Ethics and environmental ethics

MacIntyre, Alasdair, A Short History of Ethics, Macmillan, 1966.
  
  Very clear and sound survey of a rather murky subject.
Singer, Peter, Animal Liberation, Avon Books, 1991.
   
Classic campaigning work.
Stone, Christopher, Earth and Other Ethics, Harper & Row, New York, 1987
Leopold, Aldo, A Sand County Almanach, Oxford University Press, New York, 1968.
Devall, Bill and Sessions, George, Deep Ecology, Peregrine Smith Books, Salt Lake City, 1985.
   
Good basic overview of this influential environmental philosophy.
Sessions, George, ed, Deep Ecology for the 21st Century, Shambhala, Boston, 1995.
   
Excellent book of readings.

Ceremony & meditation

Ayensu, Edward and Whitfield, Philip, The Rhythms of Life, Marshall Editions, London 1982.
   
How living creatures follow the rhythms of the earth. Inspiring science.
Ian Hutton, Stations of the Sun, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 1996.
   
Detailed survey of calendar customs in the English-speaking world - origins of Easter, Xmas etc.
Richards, E. G., Mapping Time, Oxford University Press, Oxford & New York, 1998.
   
A very thorough and fascinating study of calendars throughout history.
Roberts, Elizabeth and Amidon, Elias, Earth Prayers, Harper San Francisco, 1991.
   
If you want to know what to use for pantheist hymns, you might find some here.
Mosley, Ivo, Earth Poems, Harper San Francisco, 1996.
   
See entry for Earth Prayers.
Woods, Richard, Understanding Mysticism, Image Books, New York, 1980.
   
Though Woods is a Catholic, this is a very good anthology of studies from all angles.

Death

Albery, Nicholas, The Natural Death Handbook, Natural death center, London, 1997.
   
How to arrange for a natural funeral. If you don't, they'll give you a Christian one.
Blackmore, Susan, Dying to Live, Grafton, London, 1993.
   
Naturalistic explanation of Near-Death Experiences.
Williamson, John B., and Schneidman, Edwin, Death: Current Perspectives, Mayfield Publishing Company, 1995.
   
Comprehensive thanatology textbook.

 

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SCIENCE

Physics

Nick Herbert, Quantum Reality, Anchor Books, New York, 1987
   
Herbert gives a rundown on at least eight different interpretations of quantum physics. The idea that humans observers create reality is only one of them.
Windley, David, Where Does the Weirdness go?, Basic Books, New York, 1996.
   
Another down-to-earth book focussing on the crucial but often forgotten question: how come the weirdness does not apply at macro-level?

Cosmology

Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1998.
   
Massive bestseller more often bought than read.
Barrow, John, & Tipler, Frank, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, Oxford University Press, 1988.
   
Heavy going but extremely thorough.
Guth, Allan, The Inflationary Universe, Helix Books, 1998.
   
A very good general rundown on modern cosmology and why Inflation answers many of the problems (and also raises others)
Smolin, Lee, The Life of the Cosmos, Oxford University Press, 1998.
   
Presents Smolin's theory that multiple universes evolve towards suitability for life.

Astronomy

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, Brilliance Corporation, 1994.
 
  Exploring the human place in the universe.
Morrison, David et al, Exploration of the Universe, 7th edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Philadelphia 1995.
   
Good basic textbook.
Morrison, Philip and Phyllis, Powers of Ten,
  
A visual journey from Quarks to galactic clusters. Great for adults and kids.

Life Sciences

Goodenough, Ursula,   The Sacred Depths of Nature, Oxford University Press, 1998.
    Simple exposition of biology from the origin of life to sex and death, with naturalistic religious responses. Close to Sci Pan.
Suzuki, David, The Sacred Balance, Prometheus Books, Amherst, 1998.
    Examines the balance of nature and human's place, with a pantheistic slant.
Wilson, E. O., The Diversity of Life, W. W. Norton, 1993.

Self-
Organization

Per Bak, How Nature Works, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1997.
   
The science of self-organized criticality.
Ball, Philip, The Self-Made Tapestry, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 1999.
   
The best survey of natural form since D'Arcy Thompson, full of illustrations.
Gleick, James, Chaos, 1988

Evolution

Dennet, Daniel, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, Penguin Books, London 1995.
    Detailed exploration of many facets of Darwinism, icnlduing some outside the realm of biology.
Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker, Penguin Books, London, 1988.
    Showing how design can emerge without a designer.

Earth

Lovelock, James, The Ages of Gaia, Oxford University Press, London, 1991.
Develops Lovelock's basic Gaia idea further with a history of earth's development.
Lamb, Simon and Sington, David, Earth Story, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1998

    An excellent and beautifully illustrated overview of plate tectonics and earth's history as a planet.

Other books by Paul Harrison

Harrison, Paul, Inside the Third World, Penguin Books, 1992
   
A broad survey of major problems and causes of world poverty with a first hand reporting from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Harrison, Paul, The Third Revolution, Penguin Books, 1994
  
 A comprehensive survey of the world population problem and how it impacts on the environment in all areas from deforestation to climate change..

 

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Page updated February 1999