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The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Religious Studies

The Religion Toolkit: A Complete Guide to Religious Studies

John Morreall, Tamara Sonn

ISBN: 978-1-118-29697-4 March 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 376 Pages




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
List of Figures and Maps xiii

Timeline xvi

Acknowledgments xxii

Credits xxiii

1 Introduction: Prepare to Be Surprised 2


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


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