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World Religions, 2nd Edition

A Guide to the Essentials

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This masterful survey of world religions presents a clear and concise portrait of the history, beliefs, and practices of Eastern and Western religions. The new edition contains added material and has been revised throughout. The authors, both respected scholars of world religions, have over fifty years of combined teaching experience. Their book is accessibly written for introductory classes, can be easily adapted for one- or two-semester courses, and presents a neutral approach for broad classroom use. Pedagogical aids include further reading suggestions, photographs, sidebars, and pronunciation guides.

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1. Studying World Religions
2. Ancient Religions
Western Religions
3. Judaism
4. Christianity
5. Islam
Eastern Religions
6. Hinduism
7. Buddhism
8. Jainism
9. Sikhism
10. Chinese Religions
11. Japanese Religions
12. Other Religions and Major Religious Subgroups
Spelling Guide to Terminology


"Already a very good textbook introducing the student to world religions, in its second edition this book adds a number of useful teaching aids that recommend it even more highly. Each chapter now begins with a useful selection of 'quick facts' to complement the many sidebars of 'factoids' found throughout the book. There is now a thoughtfully chosen selection of photos, illustrations, and maps incorporated into each chapter, and each now concludes with a list of suggested readings. Many will be pleased to see that the authors have thoughtfully added discussions of the roles of women to their coverage of each tradition. Other smaller additions, such as the discussion of 'sect' and 'cult,' contribute to the value of this textbook. Highly recommended for first-year college courses on world religions."

Michael DeRoche, Department of Religious Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland

"One of the best introductory surveys of religions gets better in a second edition with revised and additional materials, including quick-facts pages, sections on women, and more illustrations. This multiauthored text maintains a remarkable cohesive fluidity and clarity that is extremely accessible and attractive. Its concise and well-structured exposition minimizes technical jargon and sticks to interesting essential details in a well-balanced development of history, beliefs, and practices of major and minor religious traditions. Although the book is only three hundred pages long, the depth of discussion is significant and quite creative for an introductory overview. Enhanced by a substantial chapter on minor religions and major subgroups, a fine introduction to methods of religious studies, a spelling guide, and excellent summary sidebars, it also makes available to instructors extensive multiple-choice test questions."

Michael Stoeber, Regis College and Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto

The Authors

  1. Thomas A. Robinson

    Thomas A. Robinson

    Thomas A. Robinson (PhD, McMaster University) is emeritus professor of religious studies at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, and has written numerous books. He specializes in the relationship between Christianity and Judaism and the...

    Continue reading about Thomas A. Robinson

  2. Hillary P. Rodrigues

    Hillary P. Rodrigues

    Hillary P. Rodrigues (PhD, McMaster University) is professor of religious studies at the University of Lethbridge. He specializes in Eastern religions and is the author of several books, including Introduction to the Study of Religion and...

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"The book is an easy read and engaging; its many 'Quick Facts' boxes give readers a quick overview of each religions' founders, history, ceremonies, symbols, sacred sites, and so on. As an academic volume, it hardly lacks rigor, surveying various sects, traditions, and differences within each faith with clarity and conciseness while airing alternate truth claims within each religion. Two notable threads in the book are the presence/role of women in all religions and how each religion grapples with modernity. . . . This is an invaluable introductory textbook for beginners on the subject."

John Cheong,


Praise for the First Edition

"As introductions to world religions go, this is an economical text, both short and affordable. Each chapter provides information about the history, beliefs, and practices of the major world religions, making chapters easy to navigate and providing comparative information."

Publishers Weekly

"All [of the contributors] are eminently qualified. . . . World Religions largely avoids the extremes of, on the one hand, being too comprehensive and detailed, leading to confusion for students, and, on the other hand, being too brief and risking oversimplification and possibly even misrepresentation. . . . The presentation fits well the time frame of a one-semester course. The approach of the book is admirable. Each religion (or group of religious traditions) is presented individually and absent any judgment regarding its validity. This allows for the religions to be understood on their own terms. There is neither apologetic for a particular religion nor polemic against a religion. Consequently, even if a course were to follow a comparative approach or one in which the validity of certain religious traditions was more closely scrutinized, a proper foundation must first be laid. This text can lay that objective foundation. . . . The text succeeds both as an introduction to world religions and as a reference."

Joseph Matos,

Review of Biblical Literature

"Readable, useful, and eminently appropriate, either as a text for students or as a personal resource for the world religions teacher who--like most of us--does not have an extensive background in all the traditions we are asked to address in the classroom. . . . If teachers . . . want to consider [a text] with good, solid information in a readable format and chapters of an appropriate length, Robinson and Rodrigues's text is worth looking at."

Religion Teacher Update

"For use in an introductory survey course, specialists in various religious traditions . . . offer brief summaries of the core beliefs and practices of major Western and Indian religions."

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