Living Religions A Brief Introduction

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-06
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Supplemental Materials

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Reflecting modern religions in today's changing world. Living Religions: A Brief Introduction3/e presents a highly readable and stimulating concise survey of the modern religious world though an emphasis on the personal consciousness of believers and their own accounts of their religion and relevance in contemporary life. Along with a team of specialist consultants in each faith, and drawing on a wealth of scholarly research and firsthand source material, Mary Pat Fisher provides a fresh and challenging insight into the historical development and teachings of traditional faiths, indigenous religions, and new religious movements. She considers how the contemporary beliefs and practices of each of these traditions has evolved, and explores the changing nature of each religion; particularly the role of women, and the issues and controversies such as fundamentalism, violence, globalization, and interfaith initiatives. Teaching and Learning Experience Personalize Learning- MyReligionLabdelivers proven results in helping students succeed, provides engaging experiences that personalize learning, and comes from a trusted partner with educational expertise and a deep commitment to helping students and instructors achieve their goals. Improve Critical Thinking -Outstanding student pedagogy- including lists of key topics, review and discussion questions, a suggested reading list, Teaching Stories boxes, primary source quotations, a timeline, world map, key terms and more! - encourages students to examine their assumptions, discern hidden values, evaluate evidence, assess their conclusions, and more! Engage Students - Living Religions: A Brief Introductionprovides personal interviews with followers of each faith, Religion in Practice and Religion in Public Life boxes, and an impressive image program - all which help to bring each major world religion to life. Support Instructors -Teaching your course just got easier! You can create a Customized Text or use our Instructor's Manual, Electronic "MyTest" Test Bank or PowerPoint Presentation Slides. Plus, Living Religions:A Brief Introduction3/e is concise enough that you can opt to use additional handouts, course packs, or supplemental readings. Note:MyReligionLab does no come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MyReligionLab, please visitwww.MyReligionLab.comor you can purchase a valuepack of the text + MyReligionLab (VP ISBN-10: 0205242081, VP ISBN-13: 9780205242085)

Author Biography

In This Section:


I. Author Bio

II. Author Letter



I. Author Bio


Mary Pat Fisher writes about all religions, not only from academic research, but also from her experiences with religions around the world.  Much of her knowledge comes from the unique interfaith community in India, Gobind Sadan, where she has lived since 1991.  In addition to eight editions of Living Religions, she has written other textbooks about religions and also about art.  "Religion is not a museum piece. Religion is a vibrant force in the lives of many people around the world, and many religions are presently experiencing a renaissance." - Mary Pat Fisher



II. Author Letter


Dear Colleague,


I am very happy to have had the chance to prepare a third edition of Living Religions: A Brief Introduction, for even though the eternal values embedded in religions remain the same, the social and historical circumstances surrounding them as well as the scholarship pertaining to them are changing rapidly. To update the text I’ve taken the help of many reviewers and a new team of excellent special consultants from a variety of academic institutions. I’ve also continued to travel, speak with, and worship with people of all faiths around the world, including the continual flow of people of all religions through our Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion in New Delhi. In this unique interfaith, international community I am privileged to meet scholars of all traditions and to live among Russian Orthodox and Protestant Christians, Tibetan Buddhist nuns, Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus.


This edition includes perspectives gleaned from another visit to China, where I met Daoist nuns, Christian pastors, and the national leaders of thriving Buddhist organizations.


In Turkey, I witnessed the revival of religious interest but also the contemporary tensions between religious beliefs and the government’s officially secular policy. Muslim friends took me to the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus, and the grotto nearby where Mary, mother of Jesus, is believed to have been brought by John the Beloved Disciple to live her last years.


Religions are so lively today that there is much to share. This new edition therefore includes new material on the encounter between science and religion, the impact of globalization on indigenous religions and more material on African religions as well as the "Great Reversal" in Christianity. It includes increased coverage of Buddhism in China, the latest in academic debates about the Indus Valley Civilization and the origin of the Vedas. There is more on socially engaged Buddhism, the latest scholarship on organized and folk Daoism in China and the interactions between Shinto, Buddhist, and Confucian ways in Japan as well as updated material on contemporary Israel.


I have extensively revised the chapter on Christianity using new historical and biblical scholarship and more coverage of developing trends such as Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. Looking deeper into the past as well as the present, I have revised the text on pre-Islamic Arabia, Islam in the West, and Islam in politics and offered a new feature box on the courageous Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran. Among the many changes in the chapter on new religious movements I’ve developed a section on the recently deceased charismatic leader Sathya Sai Baba and prepared a new interview box featuring a German practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. New material in the last chapter includes expanded discussions of globalization, secularism, and religions’ engagement with social issues.


I hope that your students will find this new edition of Living Religions: A Brief Introduction accurate, informative, and thought-provoking, and that it will increase their awareness and appreciation of all religions, including their own.




Mary Pat Fisher


Gobind Sadan Institute for Advanced Studies in Comparative Religion, New Delhi








Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Religious Responses

Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways  

Chapter 3: Hinduism  

Chapter 4: Jainism  

Chapter 5: Buddhism  

Chapter 6: Daoism and Confucianism  

Chapter 7: Shinto and Zoroastrianism

Chapter 8: Judaism  

Chapter 9: Christianity  

Chapter 10: Islam  

Chapter 11: Sikhism  

Chapter 12: Religion in a New Era



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