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APSU philosophy professor completes 3rd book set for 2006 release

After three years of research and writing, Dr. Bert Randall, professor of philosophy at Austin Peay State University, has written a new book scheduled for release in early 2006.

According to Randall, the purpose of his new book, Strangers on the Shore: The Beatitudes in World Religions, is to encourage respect for all belief systems by exploring the spiritual virtues shared by the worlds great religions.
After three years of research and writing, Dr. Bert Randall, professor of philosophy at Austin Peay State University, has written a new book scheduled for release in early 2006.

According to Randall, the purpose of his new book, “Strangers on the Shore: The Beatitudes in World Religions,” is to encourage respect for all belief systems by exploring the spiritual virtues shared by the world's great religions.

“While the world's major religions differ in their beliefs, they share common spiritual values,” Randall said. “Although Christians and Muslims disagree about the divinity of Jesus, the New Testament and the Qur'an affirm a common set of spiritual virtues. These same virtues are found in Hinduism and Buddhism.

“For Christians, the fundamental spiritual virtues are most memorably stated in the Beatitudes that begin the Sermon on the Mount.”

“Strangers on the Shore” explores the virtues in the Beatitudes as they are expressed in the New Testament, the Muslim Qur'an, the Hindu Bhagavad Gita and the writings and traditions of Buddhism.

The book concludes with brief biographies of 18 great religious teachers throughout world history who appeared during times of crisis to give spiritual guidance, according to the Gospel of John, just as Jesus appeared to the disciples as a stranger on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias. Each of the biographies previously appeared in a weekly religion column Randall wrote for The Leaf-Chronicle from 1997-98.

Much of the material in the book is based on lectures Randall has presented to area church groups in past years.

The cover of the book illustrates the symbol for each of the four religions: a cross for Christianity; the wheel of karma, Hinduism; crescent moon, Islam; and Buddha, founder of Buddhism.

The book is in the printing phase and will be available for sale by February 2006, Randall said. He has authored two other books — “Theologies of War and Peace Among Jews, Christians and Muslims” (1998) and “The Mystery of Hope in the Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel, 1888-1972: Hope and Homo Viator” (1993).

In addition to completing a new book, Randall conducted several summer sessions on Islam and Arabic cultures for brigades with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky., before they redeployed in the fall to the Middle East as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“It has become more and more important for us to understand not only other religions, but particularly Islam,” said Randall, who has taught at APSU for 34 yyears. “It's about getting past the stereotypes.”

For more information about Randall's new book, telephone him at (931) 221-7479. — Melony Leazer