The Religion ToolkitA Complete Guide to Religious Studies
This complete overview of religious studies provides students with the essential knowledge and tools they need to explore and understand the nature of religion. Covers the early development of religion, with overviews of major and minor religions from Islam to Scientology Considers recent developments including secularization; the relationship between religion and science; and scientific studies on religion, health, and mystical experience Uses humor throughout, allowing students to remain open-minded to the subject Explains what it means to study religion academically, and considers the impact of the study of religion on religion itself Contains numerous student-friendly features including photos, maps, time lines, side bars, historical profiles, and population distribution figures Provides classroom users with a lively website,www.wiley.com/go/religiontoolkit, including questions, quizzes, extra material, and helpful primary and secondary sources
List of Figures and Maps xiii Timeline xvi Acknowledgments xxii Credits xxiii 1 Introduction: Prepare to Be Surprised 2 PART I THE TOOLS 15 2 An Overview of Religion: Making Sense of Life 16 3 The Early Development of Religious Studies 44 4 Religious Studies in the 20th Century 76 PART II USING THE TOOLS: SURVEYING WORLD RELIGIONS 103 5 Early Traditions 104 6 The Family of Western Monotheisms: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Traditions 124 UNIT I Judaism 126 UNIT II Christianity 151 UNIT III Islam 167 UNIT IV The Impact of Religious Studies on the Western Monotheisms 183 7 330 Million Gods – or None: Two Traditions from India 206 8 Balancing and Blending: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism in China 246 9 Zoroastrianism, Shinto, Baha’i, Scientology, Wicca, and Seneca Traditions: What Makes a “World Religion”? 274 10 Closing Questions 308 Glossary 338 Index 344
John Morreall is Professor of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. He has published widely in the philosophy of religion, and on the comic dimensions of world religions. His book Comedy, Tragedy, and Religion (1999) won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book 2000. He is also the author of Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (2009), published by Wiley-Blackwell. Tamara Sonn is the Wm. R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies at the College of William and Mary. Her books include Comparing Religions through Law: Judaism and Islam (with J. Neusner, 1999) and Islam: A Brief History, 2nd edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). She was senior editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Islam (2003), and associate editor of The Islamic World Past and Present (2004). She is currently an editor of Oxford Islamic Studies Online, and of Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (2009). In addition, Sonn is editor-in-chief of Oxford Bibliographies Online: Islamic Studies, and co-editor-in-chief of Wiley-Blackwell's Religion Compass.
This unique introductory textbook is a complete overview of Religious Studies, providing students with the essential knowledge and tools they need to explore and understand the nature of religion. In a lively and engaging way, the authors draw together the main elements of Religious Studies, allowing the reader to develop an integrated understanding of religion. The book provides: an overview of the roles of religion in society; an account of the historic development of Religious Studies, and an introduction to some of the major theories and methods - the tools - used in the study of religion; an exploration of the diversity of world religions through overviews of some of the early religions; the family of Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam); Indian traditions (Hinduism and Buddhism); Chinese traditions (Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist); and less familiar religions such as Zoroastrianism, Shinto, and Native American religion; the impact of Religious Studies and the natural sciences on religion, exploring issues such as developments in scriptural studies, feminist and liberation theology, evolutionism vs. creationism, and ongoing debates about the future of religion in modern society. The attractive design, lively text, numerous illustrations, sidebars, text boxes, questions, and activities all make The Religion Toolkit an exciting and thought-provoking book to use.
"The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Religious Studies is a unique one-stop resource. Although religion continues to be a powerful source of personal faith and a significant factor in domestic and international politics, astonishingly studies show that most people are religiously illiterate. Morreall and Sonn's tool kit will prove essential for all (students, media, policymakers and the general public) who want to understand religions and their impact today." —John L. Esposito, Georgetown University "A decade after 9/11, the world still seems to be torn between competing religious and political ideas. John Morreall and Tamara Sonn provide us a road-map based on objective analysis and scholarly research that offers us a method of understanding the nature of our world. Most important, they give us hope. Anyone interested in making sense of our times should be reading this book." —Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, American University "An invaluable guide for students of religion! The overview of Religious Studies theory is one of the clearest I have read." —Ravi M. Gupta, College of William and Mary "This is a highly intelligent, accessible and thoughtful contribution to religious studies by two of the most respected and accomplished scholars of religion working in the field today." —Mumtaz Ahmad, International Islamic University, Islamabad
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