The Encyclopedia of World Religions (Facts on File Library of Religion and Mythology)

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9780816061419: The Encyclopedia of World Religions (Facts on File Library of Religion and Mythology)
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An in-depth guide to religions of the world covers such topics as ancient religions, Eastern religions, Christianity, new religious movements, comparative studies, and religion as a subject of study.

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About the Author:

Robert S. Ellwood is Professor Emeritus of Religion at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of more than a dozen books on comparative religion, including "Introducing Religion: From Inside and Outside"; Many Peoples, Many Faiths: An Introduction to the Religious Life of Humankind"; and "The History and Future of Faith: Religion Past, Present, and to Come".

From Booklist:

"The Encyclopedia of World Religions aims to help young people satisfy their curiosity about a very important aspect of their world: religions." So writes Associate Editor Gregory Alles in his introduction. Alles goes on to claim that most reference works are "geared to a college and postgraduate audience," whereas this work "is different in that it aims to address students directly."

Nearly 500 entries cover topics from prehistoric and ancient religions, major contemporary world religions, concepts, symbols, and personages. The entries for major religions are the longest, covering two or three pages and subdivided into sections that discuss history, beliefs, practices, organizations, and significance. The form is a traditional alphabetical arrangement of entries. As such, it's not bad, but is it the best way to introduce young readers to the variety and complexity of religions of the world? The entries for Christianity and Hinduism, among others, are extremely succinct and packed with see references, forcing the reader to flip from one entry to another. There are longer, more comprehensive entries available in The World Book Encyclopedia, to name just one example. The alphabetical arrangement, though useful from a ready-reference standpoint, does not allow for a synthesis of the history, people, and ideas of religious traditions and may not be the best format for satisfying the curiosity of young readers. Facts On File's own Encyclopedia of World Faiths: An Illustrated Survey of the World's Living Religions (New York, 1987) is better in this regard.

Many entries begin with a dictionary-like definition that attempts to capture the content of the entry in a single headline. Prayer is defined as "communication with a religious being, such as a god, spirit, ancestor, or saint." That's pretty good. But the entry for Religion, Definition of begins with the redundant phrase "explaining what religion is." Judaism in America is defined as "the practice of Judaism in the Western Hemisphere." The use of language in this work often suggests an attempt at simplification gone wrong. Although designed for young adults, the authors could have written the text in a way that would challenge readers, all the while remaining accessible to them.

In addition to form and language, the content of entries is also questionable. The entry abortion and religion indicates that Roman Catholicism does not permit abortion even if the life of the mother is in jeopardy. Catholic theology is very complex on this issue. The distinction between direct and indirect abortion, the precise circumstances surrounding the health of the mother, and the medical intervention necessary to save her all determine whether the death of the fetus is morally acceptable. Although all of this might well be beyond the scope of an encyclopedia for young readers, the entry as it stands is misleading.

Finally, the encyclopedia begins with a chart giving the number of adherents to religions worldwide but lacks any citation for the source of these figures. It ends with a supplemental bibliography of works geared for an undergraduate audience and beyond, including one in German. Could no books on world religions for young readers be found?

The target audience for this title is students in grades 6 through 12. Although the concept of providing an accessible reference source on religion for young adults is laudable, students at the lower end of the audience range will benefit just as much from the articles in World Book, and students at the higher end will be much better served by any number of one-volume encylopedias written for adults, such as The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion [RBB Ap 15 96] and The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions [RBB Jl 97]. Not recommended.

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Book Description Facts on File Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Encyclopedia of World Religions, Revised Edition provides young adults with reliable, unbiased information on the world s religions, from ancient times to the present day. In about 600 entries - with 115 new to this edition - this revised edition covers all the major and minor religions of the world, including the religions of the ancient world; the major religions practiced around the world today; religions of contemporary indigenous peoples; definitions of religious symbols and ideas; key leaders and thinkers; and terms and definitions. The new entries and photographs broaden the encyclopedia s representation of current world events and the impact of those events on the world s religions. The book also covers religious fundamentalism - especially within Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism - and documents the burgeoning new religious movements in Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and the United States. All major entries now come with suggestions for further reading. New entries include: Al-Qaeda; Apocrypha; Biblical prophets; Christianity fundamentalism; Christianity in Latin America, Asia, and Africa; Fundamentalism (general); Hamas; Hebrew scriptures; Hindu fundamentalism; Independent movements in Christianity; Islamic fundamentalism; Modern paganism; New Age Movement; New religious movements in Africa; New religious movements in Brazil; New Testament; Politics and religion; and, UFO religions (e.g., Heaven s Gate). Seller Inventory # FLT9780816061419

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Book Description Facts on File Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. 2nd Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Encyclopedia of World Religions, Revised Edition provides young adults with reliable, unbiased information on the world s religions, from ancient times to the present day. In about 600 entries - with 115 new to this edition - this revised edition covers all the major and minor religions of the world, including the religions of the ancient world; the major religions practiced around the world today; religions of contemporary indigenous peoples; definitions of religious symbols and ideas; key leaders and thinkers; and terms and definitions. The new entries and photographs broaden the encyclopedia s representation of current world events and the impact of those events on the world s religions. The book also covers religious fundamentalism - especially within Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism - and documents the burgeoning new religious movements in Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and the United States. All major entries now come with suggestions for further reading. New entries include: Al-Qaeda; Apocrypha; Biblical prophets; Christianity fundamentalism; Christianity in Latin America, Asia, and Africa; Fundamentalism (general); Hamas; Hebrew scriptures; Hindu fundamentalism; Independent movements in Christianity; Islamic fundamentalism; Modern paganism; New Age Movement; New religious movements in Africa; New religious movements in Brazil; New Testament; Politics and religion; and, UFO religions (e.g., Heaven s Gate). Seller Inventory # FLT9780816061419

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