Author(s): John Morreall & Tamara Sonn
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 including questions, quizzes, extra material, and helpful primary and secondary sources
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.
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