Understanding World Religions (Hexham): An Interdisciplinary Approach / April 09, 2011
Requires Accordance 10.4 or above
Globalization and high-speed communication put twenty-first century people in contact with adherents to a wide variety of world religions, but usually, valuable knowledge of these other traditions is limited at best. On the one hand, religious stereotypes abound, hampering a serious exploration of unfamiliar philosophies and practices. On the other hand, the popular idea that all religions lead to the same God or the same moral life fails to account for the distinctive origins and radically different teachings found across the world’s many religions. Understanding World Religions presents religion as a complex and intriguing matrix of history, philosophy, culture, beliefs, and practices. Hexham believes that a certain degree of objectivity and critique is inherent in the study of religion, and he guides readers in responsible ways of carrying this out. Of particular importance is Hexham’s decision to explore African religions, which have frequently been absent from major religion texts. He surveys these in addition to varieties of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
About the Author
Irving Hexham is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary and adjunct Professor at both Liverpool Hope University, England, and Northwest University, South Africa. He has published twenty-seven academic books, including “Understanding Cults and New Religions,” with his wife Karla Poewe (Eerdmans, 1986), and “Religion and Economic Thought,” ed. with Walter Block (Fraser Institute, 1986), “The Concise Dictionary of Religion,” (IVP, 1993), and “Understanding World Religions” (Zondervan, 2011), plus ninety-one major academic articles and chapters in books, numerous popular articles, and book reviews. He completed a report for the United Nations’ refugee agency on religious conflict in Africa and another for the Canadian Government’s Department of Canadian Heritage in 2002. He is listed in “Who’s Who in Canada” and various scholarly directories. In 2008, he was honored at the historic Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, with a Festschrift, “Border Crossings: Explorations of an Interdisciplinary Historian” (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag). Leaving school at the age of fifteen he served a six year apprenticeship in gas engineering before becoming a manager with the North Western Gas Board in England. Encouraged by Dr. Francis Schaeffer and Ranald Macaulay he gave up his career in the gas industry to enter university and become an academic.
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