Faiths across Time
5,000 Years of Religious History
by J. Gordon Melton
January 2014, 2023pp, 8 1/2x11
4 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-025-6
$436, £336, 380€, A598
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-026-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Religion—regardless of ethnic or philosophical origin—has been responsible for guiding world history and shaping human culture for millennia.

This monumental, four-volume reference overviews significant events and developments in religious history over the course of more than five millennia.

Written for high school students, undergraduates, and general readers interested in the history of world religions, this massive reference chronicles developments in religious history from 3500 BCE through the 21st century. The set comprises four volumes, treating the ancient world from 3500 BCE through 499 CE, 500 through 1399, 1400 through 1849, and 1850 through 2009. Each volume includes hundreds of brief entries, arranged chronologically and then further organized by region and religion. The entries provide fundamental information on topics ranging from the neolithic Ggantija temples near Malta through the election of Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in 2009. Global in scope and encyclopedic in breadth, this chronology of world religions is an essential purchase for all libraries concerned with the development of human civilization.


  • Provides interesting sidebars to entries on such topics as monotheism and the problem of evil, the construction of the Egyptian pyramids, Mesoamerican mythology, the legacy of Charlemagne, the lives of various religious thinkers and leaders, the Hundred Years' War, the indigenous religions of South Africa, the Second Great Awakening, Potala Palace in Tibet, and many others
  • Offers a sweeping chronological presentation of faith and religion over five millennia that enables readers to see the connections between historical events and the evolution of various belief systems
  • Includes an extensive selection of photos that helps readers visualize many of the topics discussed in the text
J. Gordon Melton, PhD, is distinguished professor of American religious history at Baylor University, Waco, TX. For the last 45 years, he has served as director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, which he founded in Evanston, IL, in 1968. Melton has overseen the publication of the Institute's hundreds of scholarly texts and reference works on religion, a number of which he authored. Among his recent texts are ABC-CLIO's Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances, and Spiritual Commemorations; ABC-CLIO'S Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Belief and Practice; and Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions, now in its eighth edition.


"[P]rovides a chronology of faith and religion over five millennia that enables readers to see the connections between historical events and the evolution of various belief systems. . . . Recommended."—Choice, July 1, 2014

"[T]his work offers so much more than just mindless dates that it can be read in a leisurely manner. And for the sake of those wanting pinpoint access to a particular event, the set's extensive index is included in every volume."—Booklist, May 1, 2014
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