In praise of The Other Side of the Story
"Rachael Kohn is a wise and morally generous writer. Her voice is one of calm, judicious and yet companionable evaluation. She understands the issues she writes about at the deepest level and as well as providing a way through the thorniest controversies always keeps a sense of the shape of the whole argument that she's dealing with. This is a superb volume of insightful essays which everyone interested in the religious dimension of life should enjoy. Rachael is especially helpful on the points at which different religious traditions interact and sometimes conflict." Greg Sheridan, foreign editor The Australian and author of Christians, the Urgent Case for Jesus in our World and God is Good for You.
'Rachael is one of Australia’s most effective advocates of the argument that there are immense practical benefits, and even more a demanding moral necessity, to investigate and uncover the intricacies of religious faith. These essays make it eminently clear how important the understanding of religion is to our society and, indeed, societies around the globe...
Her ability to penetrate so deeply into other people’s modes of religious expression and belief, whether they stand in light or in darkness, is remarkable and unique. At the same time, her choice of where to direct her gaze, whether at Christian media accounts of Jews in the period of the Second World War or the sexual machinations of cults of the late twentieth century or the struggles of women to make a place for themselves in religious institutions, is both brave and expansive. In every case she bids us, almost subconsciously, to join her by extending that steadfast gaze further into our present-day realities...' Rabbi Fred Morgan AM, Emeritus Rabbi, Temple Beth Israel, Former Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University
“For many years Dr. Rachael Kohn was an important and well-known voice on the Australian cultural scene, as the presenter of the programs about religion on the ABC, Australia's national broadcaster, and similar to the BBC. In her remarkable collection of essays, she shows the wide range of her interests in many aspects of religious belief, as well as her other great merits as a commentator in this often controversial field, such as her objectivity and wide range of knowledge and research. I found her two essays on the attitudes of the Catholic and Lutheran religious press towards the Jews and Nazi Germany particularly impressive as important contributions to Australian history.” William D. Rubinstein Emeritus Professor of the University of Wales, author of A History of the Jews in the English-Speaking World: Great Britain (1986) and The Jews in Australia: A Thematic History (2 volumes, with Hilary L. Rubinstein, 1991).
"Rachael Kohn is one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals especially in the sphere of religious issues in which she is eminently well qualified. Indeed, she is a star in the firmament with prize-winning books and a host of pioneering essays to her credit....What Australia needs more than ever are such public intellectuals who are not only ecumenically engaged but also those who are capable of advancing the inter-faith dialogue. That is crucial to defining who we are and what as a nation we shall become. Rev Professor John Moses, Fellow, St Marks National Theological College, Canberra
“This is a book for the connoisseurs, but accessible to the broad public. Rachael Kohn brings to the table a unique mix of academic research, prescient analysis and engaging writing. We can savour her analysis of sometimes obscure historical sources to dissect anti-Semitism - or to examine the role of women of faith. We can also devour a fascinating discourse on the obsessions and behaviour of an eclectic variety of cults and sects. The author's passion is to celebrate, yet expose where necessary, the ramifications of religious belief on disciples and society. She does this with her own inimitable blend of verve and insight.” Stephen Mutch PhD LLB is a retired attorney, former MP and academic.
“Dr. Kohn is one of Australia's best-known writers and broadcasters on religion. In 'The Other Side of the Story', she has brought together a selection of her essays, together with insights that were distilled over several decades. The eclectic structure of the book will appeal, not only to theologians and academics, but to lay people who want to learn more about the nature of religions, especially Judaism and Christianity. The phenomena of religious cults, New Age beliefs, women's movements, and the place of art in spiritual expression, all find a place in this book. Eloquently written, The Other Side of the Story, deserves a place on the bookshelf of every thoughtful reader. Dr Brian Wimborne, Ph.D., B. Sc., B. Econ. Researcher for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and author.
“Dr Rachael Kohn’s research and incredible knowledge about cults and sects within Australian society is to be applauded. … Ultimately each member contributes to the power of the cult leader by trading his or her freedom for the security and glory that group membership holds out. This is a compelling look at the times we live in as the internet is now playing a big role in recruiting the vulnerable who are looking for answers for their life. Ros Hodgkins, President, Cult Information and Family Support (CIFS).
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