Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion

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ISBN-13: 004-6442012294
ISBN-10: 0807012297
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This comprehensive study by a professor of religion at the University of Vermont provides a useful overview of contemporary trends in the study of the faiths of today's world. Early chapters present the previously held models that were used to interpret "exotic religions" to the Western world. Most often these religions were compared unfavorably with Protestant Christianity. After the French Revolution, a rationalist approach to "foreign" religions was popular among European intellectuals. More recently, the universalist reading has gained a wide following. Moving beyond these models, Paden presents a synthesis of the work of the acknowledged deans of modern comparative studies, Eliade and Van der Leeuw, that focuses on understanding religious practices and beliefs through an analysis of structure and pattern. However, much of the book's second half reads as lists of parallels between otherwise differing faiths. An unfortunate bias is the author's tendency to lump together Judaism and Christianity under the rubric of "the phenomena of biblical religions," thus ignoring recent work in comparative studies that emphasizes the sharp distinctions between them.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Beacon, dist. by Harper. Dec. 1988. c. 186p. index. ISBN 0-8070-1210-6. $19.95; pap. ISBN 0-8070-1211-4. $9.95. rel ~ see Cox, Harvey. Many Mansions.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (August 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807012297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807012291
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By J. Varga on February 12, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good price and very timely shipping
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By akingskid on May 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Religious Worlds is a must read for anyone who wants to understand other religions without a pre-conceived slant, and to get a broader perspective on why others believe as they do. I would highly recommend this book to theological and religious studies students.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paulregent.blogspot on October 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had this book as a text for my class on World Religion this summer. It's something of a landmark work within its field. "From gods to ritual observance to the language of myth and the distinction between the sacred and the profane, Religious Worlds explores the structures common to the most diverse spiritual traditions."(1) In other words, Paden is studying the concept of religion itself and how it manifests across the spectrum of available world religions. He is not surveying what individual religions have to say and then comparing his findings to find a right one. So rather than see which religions best address the big questions in life or help people live on a daily basis, Paden wants to ask questions like: What function do rituals serve across all religions? And, what about sacred writings and histories (properly called "myth" within comparative religion); how do these shape and fashion religion?

From his perspective, Paden is attempting to let each religion speaks on its own terms and simply listen to what each is saying, devoid of any generic, universal standard; something he believes traditional styles cannot do, whatever their standard is. Then, Paden seeks to classify these facts, or "phenomena,"(2) in the search for religious structures, or "forms of expression,"(3) from any emerging patterns. Throughout the process, respect must be given to each religion's complexity of contexts (geographic, historical, sociological, etc.); each one sees the world in its way because of these dynamics, what Paden calls a "religious world," and engages the world accordingly. Only when we shed our "religious world" and enter into those of others can we truly understand them.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anna Gregov on July 19, 2014
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Teeny print and absolutely boring--gave it away.
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