Four Wise Men: The Lives and Teachings of Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad

By Mark W. Muesse

A comparative study of the lives and thought of four of the greatest sages in history, and how their legacies shape the world in which we live.

ISBN: 9780718895228


Confucius, the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad are among the most thoughtful and influential people in history. By their words and examples, they have inspired countless individuals to live better and more meaningful lives and have shaped the institutions and worldviews we know today. Four Wise Men is an accessible introduction to each of these sages, viewed in their historical context, and a provocative comparison of their lives and teachings. Through careful study, Four Wise Men examines the ways these fascinating figures speak as one, as well as the ways in which they differ. Although their voices come from the distant past, these men still have wise words to say to us today.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 350

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Mark W. Muesse is the W.J. Millard Professor of Religious Studies at Rhodes College. He is also author of The Hindu Traditions (2011) and The Age of the Sages (2013).


A Note on Translations and Transliterations


1. Confucius
2. The Buddha
3. Jesus
4. Muhammad


     Works Cited
     For Further Study


Endorsements and Reviews

Four Wise Men is a compelling and provocative comparative study of four extraordinarily gifted leaders whose lives and teachings not only shaped great world religions but provided invaluable, timeless guides for how to live well even in the face of great adversity. Many who know Mark Muesse from his popular contributions to The Great Courses have already discovered his rare gifts as a teacherscholar able to reach a wide audience. Four Wise Men is a superb, yet accessible resource for college and divinity students, book clubs, serious adult study programs in churches, and a wide range of interested non-specialists. I’ll be using this book in courses on Comparative Religion for many years to come!
Charles Kimball, Presidential Professor and Director of The Religious Studies, University of Oklahoma; author of When Religion Becomes Evil: Five Warning Signs