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by The HISTORY Channel

"The Strangest Gathering of Men"


September 15, 1893. About 4,000 people are intently listening to a monk on a stage in Chicago. They’re at an event called Parliament of the World’s Religions – an unprecedented gathering of leaders from many different faiths all over the world, held at the Chicago World's Fair. The monk is Hindu from Bombay India and is telling a mostly Protestant American audience a story that is not planned and certainly not what the Protestant organizers were expecting. What happened when tension among religious leaders unfolded in front of thousands of American spectators? And how did this Parliament help broaden the country’s understanding of religion?

Thank you to our guests, Scholar of Religion and Professor Eric Ziolkowski from Lafayette College and Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies Diana Eck from Harvard University. Thank you also to Richard Hughs Seager, author of "The World's Parliament of Religions; The East/West Encounter, Chicago 1892."


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Episode 38

by The HISTORY Channel