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World Religions

Western Traditions

Fifth Edition

Amir Hussain, Roy C. Amore, and Willard Oxtoby

Publication Date - 15 September 2018

ISBN: 9780190877064

480 pages
8 x 10 inches

In Stock

Explores Western religious traditions in depth from their origins, through their development, to their meaning and practice in today's society


World Religions: Western Traditions, Fifth Edition, provides students with a thought-provoking survey of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, ancient, indigenous, and new religious traditions. The expert contributors offer an authoritative examination of the origins, central teachings, divisions and branches, rituals and practices, influences on culture, and responses to modern challenges for each tradition.

Ideal for courses in Western religions and comparative religions, World Religions: Western Traditions, Fifth Edition, combines a historically descriptive perspective with a spirit of sympathetic fascination.

New to this Edition

  • "Interview" boxes bring to life the impact that a member of each religion is having on today's world
  • "Women in the Traditions" boxes highlight the essential roles played by women in each tradition
  • A new introductory chapter, "Studying Western Religions," gives more attention to theories of religion and methods for studying religion
  • An extensively updated "Current Issues" chapter addresses important new developments--including those in the Middle East and Myanmar--and provides an expanded treatment of marriage equality and religion


  • Expert contributors provide students with significant knowledge and rigorous research on each tradition
  • Dynamic pedagogical features, including "Traditions at a Glance," "Document," "Focus," and "Sites" boxes; bolded key terms; maps; photos; timelines; sites; text extracts; and further reading lists help bring each tradition to life for students
  • An Ancillary Resource Center contains an Instructor's Manual, a Test Bank, and PowerPoint lecture slides
  • A free, open-access Companion Website provides students with self-quizzes, flashcards, learning objectives, links to relevant sites, research-paper topics, and more

About the Author(s)

Amir Hussain is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Roy C. Amore is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada.

The late Willard Oxtoby, the original editor of this work, was Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.


"I truly love this textbook (and its Eastern counterpart). I feel that it masterfully explores the various world religions with great detail and clarity while making them accessible to students."--Matthew Hill, Spring Arbor University

"This text is extremely well-organized, well-written, and engaging, with very good coverage of modern expressions of each tradition."--Michelle Rebidoux, Memorial University of Newfoundland

"The chapter-opening outlines and end-of-chapter summaries provide good introductions and conclusions to the chapters. I like the 'Sacred Text' tables; they provide brief overviews of the different religious texts."--Colin James Law, University of Georgia

"This textbook covers Judaism, Christianity, and Islam very clearly and strikes the right balance between succinct and comprehensive."--Tim Labron, Concordia University of Edmonton

Table of Contents

    1. Studying Western Religions
    Basic Human Religion: Looking Both Ways from Stonehenge
    Looking Back from Stonehenge
    Looking Forward from Stonehenge
    What Is Religion?
    Why Study Religion?
    2. Religions of Antiquity
    Common Features of the Religions of Antiquity
    Mesopotamian Tradition
    Egyptian Tradition
    Greek Tradition
    Roman Tradition
    Iranian Tradition (Zoroastrianism)
    Manichaean Tradition
    The End of Paganism
    Recent Developments
    3. Jewish Traditions
    Jewish Identity as Ethnicity and Religion
    Earliest Jewish History: The Biblical Story
    The Second Temple Period (515 BCE-70 CE)
    Enter the Romans (63 BCE)
    Jewish Life Under Islam: Seventh-Twelfth Century
    Jews in the Christian World: Seventh to Fifteenth Century
    The Modern Period
    The Holocaust (1933-1945)
    Life-Cycle Events
    Recent Developments
    4. Christian Traditions
    Relations Between Church and Society
    Authority in the Early Church
    The Development of Orthodoxy
    Eastern Orthodoxy
    Medieval Christianity
    The Early Modern Era
    The Modern Era
    Recent Developments
    5. Muslim Traditions
    The Spread of Islam
    Cultural Expressions
    Toward the Modern World
    Recent Developments
    6. Indigenous Traditions
    First Thoughts
    "Indigenous Religion"
    Cultural Expressions
    Recent Developments
    7. New Religions and Movements
    Defining New Religions, Sects, and Cults
    New Religions from the East
    Religions Arising from the Abrahamic Lineage
    Religions Inspired by Other Forms of Spirituality
    The New Age Movement
    8. Current Issues in Western Traditions
    Religion and Politics
    The Environment
    Gender and Sexuality
    Religious Diversity

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