Religions of the World
A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition
by J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, Editors
September 2010, 3200pp, 8 1/2x11
6 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-203-6
$688, £530, 599€, A943
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-204-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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
J. Gordon Melton is director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, founded in 1969 in Santa Barbara, CA, and was a research specialist with the Department of Religious Studies of the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is presently Distinguished Professor of American religious history at the Institute for Studies in Religion at Baylor University, Waco, TX. Melton is the author of more than 40 books on American and world religion, including the Encyclopedia of American Religions, Eighth Edition; Nelson's Guide to Denominations; and ABC-CLIO's American Religions: An Illustrated History.

Martin Baumann is a professor of the history of religions at the University of Lucerne, Lucerne, Switzerland.


"This impressive reference set has really grown up since its 'birth,' in 2002. . . . With its currency and particular emphasis, this work warrants the attention of virtually every academic and pubic library."—Booklist, February 1, 2011

"This second edition, like its predecessor, remains highly recommended for academic and large public libraries."—Library Journal, Starred Review, January 1, 2011
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