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Experiencing the World's Religions: Tradition, Challenge, and Change, 5th Edition 5th Edition

81 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0073407500
ISBN-10: 007340750X
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 5th edition (October 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 007340750X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0073407500
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dr. B on August 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I use Molloy's book for the college course I teach on world religions (along with Van Voorst, Anthology of World Scriptures, Wadsworth: 2011). He begins with an insightful chapter on various approaches to the study of religion, then explores indigenous religions. The rest of the book walks students through the origins, beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, Daoism and Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Alternative Paths (e.g. contemporary Paganism, Baha'i), and The Modern Search (including women's issues, environmentalism, and spirituality). Each chapter is between 25 and 80 pages long (average is about 50 pages), and is loaded with attractive pictures and interesting sidebars. Personally, I think it's one of the best books out there for those wanting a solid overview of key world religions. It treats each religion appreciatively and fairly and is written in a reader/student friendly fashion. The "Personal Experience" section at the end of each chapter is either "corny" or "interesting," depending on which student you ask. My suggestion: Take students to various places of worship and have guest lectures from those who practice the various religions. This will allow them to have a bit of first-hand "experience" as they read this textbook and passages from the various scriptures.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Most "reviews" so far remark briefly on its delivery, condition, or the student's course. A couple criticized doctrinal points, and a few praised its tone and scope. I've been assigned (note the verb--we don't always have a choice!) this text to teach a Comparative Religions course, so I've prepared by studying it cover to cover.

"Understanding Religions" opens, then indigenous varieties, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism & Sikhism, Daoism & Confucianism, and Shintoism. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam follow. Alternative religions and "The Modern Search" wrap it up.

Michael Molloy's updated this all for its fifth edition. He takes his task seriously, but he adds insight and verve. That is, he integrates personal encounters into the beginning of his chapters as well as within them, keeping the pace snappier than a chronological structure (each religious tradition's evolution) and geographical one (first ancients everywhere, then Asian, then Middle Eastern, then Western, New Age, earth-based, alternative, and "new religious movements") might portend. His own Hawaiian orientation allows him to use this logical East-West portal as a place for contemplating the island's indigenous and syncretic faiths and outlooks, and his Californian upbringing enriches this with another fitting place from which to scan the varieties of belief and ritual and outlook.

I kept an eye out for how contemporary scholarship, often not matching the mindset of many believers in the pew or temple, entered his treatment of issues.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Experiencing the World's Religions" is a fairly comprehensive introductory text describing the major religions of the world. It is well-written and easy to read. However, at times Malloy's presuppositions stand in the way of an objective presentation of the data. For example, on the inside front cover, on Judaism's timeline, Abraham is called "legendary." Certainly from the perspective of the skeptic, Abraham is a legendary figure. But not from the perspective of those who believe the account in Genesis is historically accurate. Yet, Abraham's legendary nature is assumed as an established fact. On p. 358 a chart notes the dates of the writing of the books of the Christian New Testament. Malloy assumes the dates that the most skeptical of scholars assigned to them. Even many scholars who reject the divine inspiration of the Bible have come to the conclusion that the books were written at a much earlier date than some have assumed. Nevertheless, Malloy simply assigns these late dates to the New Testament books as though these dates were an established fact. On the other hand, in the same chart he lists "Hebrews" as one of the Pauline Epistles, even though almost every scholar (whether conservative or liberal) rejects the Pauline authorship of the book. This is simply sloppy scholarship.

These are just two of the instances of bias or sloppy scholarship I have found in Malloy's discussion of Judaism and Christianity, the two religions with which I am most familiar. It makes me wonder about the accuracy of his analysis of the other religions he considers. (There is a lengthy but very helpful review in this collection of reviews that discusses Malloy's inaccurate and misleading statements about Islam.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary C Collins on November 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this edition to save money as my professor uses a more updated version and there are some minor differences with certain religions and then there are some major ones. The author really did a lot of research between this one and the newest ed. Still very helpful, though.
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