Throughout history, religion has been an important force, a motivation for making war and securing peace and a determining factor in the way people live their daily lives. What is religion's place in contemporary society? What do peoples and nations around the globe believe? How do they observe the rituals of their faiths?
This masterful six-volume encyclopedia provides comprehensive, global coverage of religion, emphasizing larger religious communities without neglecting the world's smaller religious outposts.
Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices is an extraordinary work, bringing together the scholarship of some 225 experts from around the globe. The encyclopedia's six volumes offer entries on every country of the world, with particular emphasis on the larger nations, as well as Indonesia and the Latin American countries that are traditionally given little attention in English-language reference works. Entries include profiles on religion in the world's smallest countries (the Vatican and San Marino), profiles on religion in recently established or disputed countries (Kosovo and Nagorno-Karabakh), as well as profiles on religion in some of the world's most remote places (Antarctica and Easter Island).
Religions of the World is unique in that it is based in religion "on the ground," tracing the development of each of the 16 major world religious traditions through its institutional expressions in the modern world, its major geographical sites, and its major celebrations. Unlike other works, the encyclopedia also covers the world of religious unbelief as expressed in atheism, humanism, and other traditions.
• Coverage of the religions of more than 240 countries, including all of the larger religious communities, denominations, and sects
• Detailed statistical information on the major religious communities in each country
• 100+ entries on famous and important religious sites and places of pilgrimage
• Biographies of the 100 most influential religious leaders in history
• More than 150 photographs, plus maps and illustrations for each nation
• A bibliography for each entry
• Provides detailed information on the contemporary religious scene around the world, focusing on the practices, cultures, and customs rather than on scripture
• Covers a number of small but newsworthy religious groups that have made an impact due to their participation in violence, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Branch Davidians, or their extreme beliefs, such as Satanism and Aum Shinrikyo
• Offers enhanced coverage of modern Islamic movements and of often neglected regions, including Indonesia and Latin America
• Explores the major religious holidays of each religious tradition