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Featuring a unique, consistent, and modular chapter structure--"Teachings," "History," and "Way of Life"--and numerous pedagogical features, Invitation to Western Religions invites students to explore the world's great religions with respect and a sense of wonder. This chapter structure enables students to navigate Western religions--Indigenous Religions of North America, Indigenous Religions of Africa, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and New Religious Movements--in a consistent and systematic way and helps students to make comparisons between religions. The book describes the essential features of each Western religion and shows how they have responded to basic human needs and to the cultural contexts in which they developed. The authors also encourage students to develop an appreciation for what religious beliefs and practices actually mean to their adherents.
A consistent, modular chapter structure--"Teachings, "History," and "Ways of Life"--enables students to navigate each religion in a consistent and systematic way and helps them to make comparisons between religions
A lucid and accessible writing style imparts a sense of invitation, welcoming students into the beliefs and practices of religious adherents around the world
A large team of authors with diverse specialties ensures that each religion is covered with true expertise
"Voices" present personal, candid interviews with a diverse array of people sharing the ways in which they live their faiths
"Seeking Answers" sections at the end of each chapter encourage students to compare the ways in which different religions address the same essential questions
"Visual Guides" offer keys to important religious symbols in easy-to-read tables for quick reference and comparison
Chapter-opening maps and timelines throughout the text provide geographical, social, and political context for each religion's development
"For Review" and "For Further Reflection" questions prompt students to reexamine essential concepts and invite students to think critically and to engage in deeper analyses
Key terms are boldfaced at their first appearance and defined in the glossaries that follow each chapter and also in the glossary at the back of the book
Suggestions for further reading direct students to some of the best and most recent print and online resources on each tradition
Also available to suit your course needs:
Invitation to World Religions, Second Edition: 978-0-19-937836-4
Invitation to Asian Religions: 978-0-19-021126-4
Jeffrey Brodd is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Layne Little is Lecturer of Religious Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bradley Nystrom is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Robert Platzner is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Richard Shek is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento.
Erin Stiles is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. AN INVITATION TO THE STUDY OF WORLD RELIGIONS Approaching the Study of World Religions Religion as a Subject of Academic Inquiry What Religions Do Religious Questions and Challenges Basic Components of Religions Teachings Historical Development Way of Life Religions in the Modern World Modernization and Related Phenomena The Changing Roles of Women in Religions The Encounter of Religion and Science An Academic Approach to the Study of Religions Balance and Empathy Comparative and Multidisciplinary Approaches CHAPTER 2. INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF NORTH AMERICA The Teachings of Native American Indigenous Religions Creation and Origins Life Lessons in Myths The Importance of Balance: Humanity and the Natural World Sacred Language and Sacred Time VOICES: An Interview with Lin Estes The History of Native American Indigenous Religions Conquest, Colonization, and Christianity Resistance Movements Native Religions and Non-Native Practitioners Native American Indigenous Religions as a Way of Life Healing Women and Gender in Native American Religions Rites of Passage Rites of Renewal and Rites of Purification CHAPTER 3. INDIGENOUS RELIGIONS OF AFRICA The Teachings of Indigenous African Religions Myths Supernatural Beings: Gods and Spirits VOICES: Interviews with Sammy Letoole and Festus Ogunbitan Humanity and the Human Condition The History of Indigenous African Religions The Spread of Islam Christianity and Colonialism Reform and Resistance African Religions in the Americas Indigenous African Religions as a Way of Life Communicating with the Spirit World Using Supernatural Powers Life Cycle Rituals Women in Indigenous African Religions CHAPTER 4. ZOROASTRIANISM The Teachings of Zoroastrianism Cosmic Dualism The Divine Realm Creation and the Nature of the World Human Nature and Human Destiny The History of Zoroastrianism The Background of Zoroastrianism Zarathustra Zoroastrian Scriptures Zoroastrianism through the Centuries Zoroastrianism in the Modern World Zoroastrianism as a Way of Life Ritual Practices VOICES: An Interview with Rustom Ghadiali Women and Zoroastrianism Holy Days and Rites of Passage The Zoroastrian Community: Social and Ethical Responsibilities CHAPTER 5. JUDAISM The Teachings of Judaism God Torah Covenant and Election Israel The Messiah and the Messianic Age The Afterlife Jewish Mysticism The History of Judaism Dispersion, Assimilation, and Collective Identity The Biblical Period The Second Temple Period The Formative Age The Conflict between Judaism and Christianity The Age of Philosophy and Mysticism The Modern Era Reform Movements in Europe and the United States The Shoah and the State of Israel The Future of Judaism in the Contemporary World Women and Judaism Judaism as a Way of Life The Major Festivals VOICES: An Interview with Rabbi Brad Bloom The Minor Festivals The Sabbath Life-Cycle Events Other Sacred Practices Prayer CHAPTER 6. CHRISTIANITY The Teachings of Christianity The Life of Jesus The Teachings of Jesus Paul and the Mission to the Gentiles God, Creation, and Original Humanity God as Trinity Sin and Human Nature Grace and Salvation The Church VOICES: An Interview with Terrie M. and Father Art Scripture Tradition "Last Things" The Afterlife Christianity and Other Religions The History of Christianity Christianity in the Roman World The Church in the Middle Ages The Reformation Christianity in the Modern World Christianity Today and Tomorrow: Trends and Prospects Christianity as a Way of Life Worship Sacraments Church Interiors: Sacred Space Prayer The Liturgical Year Veneration of Saints Social and Political Activism CHAPTER 7. ISLAM THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM Muhammad and the Revelations The Holy Qur'an The Teachings of the Qur'an Commentary on the Qur'an The Sunnah: The Example of the Prophet The Five Pillars THE HISTORY OF ISLAM The Hijra and the Growth of the Muslim Community The Crisis of Succession and the Rightly Guided Caliphs The Umayyads and the Abbasids Later Islamic Empires: The Ottomans, the Mughals, and the Safavids Islam and Nationalism Islamic Reform Movements Varieties of Islam Muslims in North America ISLAM AS A WAY OF LIFE VOICES: An Interview with Tunay Durmaz The Qur'an in Daily Life What is Jihad? The Islamic Year and Holidays The Shari'ah: Islamic Law Sufism Marriage and Family Women and Islam CHAPTER 8. NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS What Is "New" About New Religious Movements? Modernization, Globalization, and Secularization Theoretical Models and Social Typologies Alternative Christianities and their Offshoots The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Christian Science and New Thought Adventism Jehovah's Witnesses The Family (Children of God) The Unification Church * Rastafarianism The Rediscovery of Eastern Religious Thought * The Theosophical Society ISKCON: The International Society for Krishna Consciousness The Osho Rajneesh Movement Transcendental Meditation THE REVIVAL OF ESOTERIC AND NEO-PAGAN THOUGHT Eckankar The Findhorn Foundation The Raelian Movement The Church of Scientology Wicca VOICES: An Interview with Rev. Lucy Bunch The Emergence of Universalist Religious Thought The Baha'i Faith * Unitarian Universalism The New Atheism Notes Glossary Credits Index