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Abraham
by Bruce Feiler

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Feiler's search for the founder of the three major Western faiths is part travelogue, part archeological history, and part personal spiritual journey. Like his subject, Feiler is in constant motion, interviewing Muslims, Jews and Christians in Middle-Eastern deserts, in Jerusalem and his own childhood synagogue in Atlanta. He finds not one Abraham, but hundreds, each one matching new needs and ideals, and each confusing the image of the "real" man. Yet in Feiler's satisfying portrait, Abraham retains the heroic identity of a true spiritual father. Perfectly timed and incisively written, "Abraham" is our third Beliefnet Book of the Year. Our nine other finalists follow.


The Next Christendom
by Philip Jenkins

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Jenkins argues in this eye-opening book that the continuing spread of Christianity in the Third World will revive the ancient, conservative and mystical Christianity long practiced in Asia and Africa, and likely change the face of the faith in the next 50 years.
The New Rabbi
by Stephen Fried

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As a prestigious Philadelphia synagogue searches for a leader after the retirement of the esteemed Gerald I. Wolpe, a wonderful cast of old-timers and young Turks vie to mold the congregation's future. The process stirs up piercing discussions of suffering and faith, spirituality versus religion, and tradition versus cultural engagement, all related perfectly in key by Fried. A fascinating look into modern American Judaism, the book will interest anyone who knows the stresses and joys of belonging to a spiritual community.

Everyday Grace
by Marianne Williamson

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Williamson returns to print with many of the themes found in "Return to Love," her landmark discussion of "A Course in Miracles." "Everyday Grace," however, is a book of daily practice, aimed at developing spiritual tools for dealing with loss, anger, relationships and other daily realities.
Everything Is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer

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This acclaimed first novel is a funny, sometimes surreal book about a young American Jew who travels to the Ukraine to find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Holocaust. Foer's subtle reflections on American culture and Judaism are interwoven with a centuries-long history of his character's ancestral village, from a mythic shtetl event to its destruction by the Nazis.
America's God
by Mark A. Noll

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A history of the theological underpinnings of American politics and culture from the 1700s to the end of the Civil War. Noll studies how Americans used God to both condemn and justify slavery, and traces the country's tension between liberalism and moral values.
Faith
by Sharon Salzberg

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Liberating the word from its association with blind adherence, Salzberg defines faith as the ability to trust in personal experience to arrive at a more grounded sense of truth. Although her vision is informed by more than 30 years of Buddhist practice, Salzberg's message will resonate with anyone who has ever grappled with doubt.
Reflections on a Mountain Lake
by Ani Tenzin Palmo

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This collection of lectures by a Buddhist nun who spent a dozen years in solitude is both an authoritative guide for practictioners and a serious introduction for non-Buddhists. Says one reviewer, "it's a bridge for Westerners to the often paradoxical and confounding nature of Buddhist teachings."
Girl Meets God
by Lauren F. Winner

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In telling the story of her journey from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, Winner (a former Beliefnet editor) also gives us the tale of a young woman searching for love and a place of her own in the world.
The New Covenant
by Willis Barnstone

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This translation of the four gospels and Revelation restores the Semitic names and much of the Jewish character of the gospels, and places Revelation in the poetic context of William Blake and other visionaries. Though not everyone will agree with Barnstone's Christology, his translation lets the simple, mysterious beauty of Jesus's teachings shine.
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