Journals Higher Education



09 December 2011

640 Pages | 100 photos, 11 maps, & 10 tables

8.0 x 10.0 inches

ISBN: 9780195437744

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Bookseller Code (04)

A Concise Introduction to World Religions

Second Edition

Willard G. Oxtoby and Alan F. Segal

This brief, accessible, and engaging volume covers the major world religions, addressing their significance in today's society and culture and also in historical perspective. Each chapter is written by an esteemed scholar and covers a different tradition, exploring its origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges. The second edition features a new "Contemporary Issues" section in each chapter; a new chapter (12) on new religions and movements; additional coverage of women's contributions to the development of traditions; "Sacred Text" tables on the process of compiling, revising, and ritual use sacred documents; and a glossary, study questions, and further readings and recommended websites lists for each chapter.

New to this Edition:

  • Contemporary issues. A section in each chapter addresses the modern challenges unique to each tradition, including fundamentalism and extremism, religious violence, abuse, bioethics, and interaction with politics.
  • A new chapter on "New Religious Movements." Highlighting the changing face of religious expression, Chapter 12 examines movements that have emerged out of established faiths--Hare Krishna (Hindu), Kabbalah (Jewish), Baha'i (Islam), and the Church of Latter Day Saints (Christian)--as well as new religions that have formed in response to changing spiritual needs--Wicca, Scientology, the Rael movement, the New Age movement, New Thought, and Spiritual Ecology/Green Religion.
  • More coverage of women and religion. This edition offers expanded treatment of the contributions of women to the development of each tradition and to the practice and performance of rituals. Examples include women as religious leaders in the Sufi tradition and female participation in the ascetic tradition of renunciation.
  • Additional scriptural excerpts. Passages from the Book of Mormon and a Baha'i prayer are new to this edition.
  • Full-color redesign. A revamped, full-color art program more effectively illustrates the practices, rituals, and symbols characteristic of each faith.
  • "Sacred Texts" tables outline the process of compiling and revising the fundamental texts for each faith as well as their oral, legal, and ritual uses.
  • End-of-chapter study questions ask students to review and recall key concepts and themes.
  • Recommended websites and further readings provide an excellent starting point for additional research and study.
  • A "Religions of the World" map on the inside front cover helps students situate each faith within a geographical setting.
  • A "Religions" timeline on the inside back cover offers students a historical context for understanding key events in each religion's development.

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