Religious Ways of Experiencing Life: A Global and Narrative Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Religious Ways of Experiencing Life

A Global and Narrative Approach, 1st Edition

By Carl Olson


548 pages

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Religious Ways of Experiencing Life: A Global and Narrative Approach surveys world religions, using the narratives and discourses of each tradition to describe it in its own terms. Carl Olson examines each tradition’s practices, teachings, material culture, roles of women, and path to salvation, as well as the experiences of its followers. The exploration of lived experience draws out and emphasizes the plural nature of religious traditions. The volume includes chapters on all current major world religions, as well as material on ancient religions of the Mediterranean, indigenous North American and African spiritual traditions, and New Age and new religious movements. Featuring timelines and suggestions for further reading, this text will be of interest to undergraduate students seeking a broad introduction to World Religion or Lived Religion.


"Anything Carl Olson creates, and he has created a lot, is eagerly awaited. Here is another superb book from him. It is an essential text to anyone’s understanding of cross-cultural religious ways of experiencing life."

Sushil Mittal, James Madison University, USA

"This book amazes by its comprehensiveness. Almost every domain of the religious phenomenon is surveyed with a discerning eye, from ancient times to the present. Professor Olson shows why religion must continue to be taken seriously by all who are interested in understanding the human condition. This wonderful achievement is truly a tribute to our globalized world."

Julius Lipner, University of Cambridge, UK

“Olson gives us the stories and their ongoing development within these religions, providing an extensive introduction of the assumptions and history of the threads of “religion” within the web of culture. The focus is on the history and the content of the traditions, as well as some reflections on particular topics.”

Cathy Hasty MDiv ThM, ACPE Supervisor, AAPC Diplomate, BCC, LPCS, Director, Health Ministry and Pastoral Education, Novant Health: Presbyterian Medical Center, Charlotte, NC

"Many textbooks have been written about world religions, but this book is unique in several ways. Having written about and studied religion extensively, Olson (Allegheny College) is aware of the complexity of religion and emphasizes its role as a component of the surrounding culture. He uses a narrative approach, discussing religion in an interesting and personal way and discussing people experiencing their religion. He devotes chapters to various world religions and to ancient, Native American, African, and new religious traditions. Each chapter includes a time line and a bibliography and discusses basic teachings, history, religious practice, cultural context, and religious expansion. The author's narrative approach serves well in bringing the various elements together in a coherent manner. Summing Up: Recommended."

- J. Jaeger, Dallas Baptist University in CHOICE

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction. Chapter 2: Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Chapter 3: Native American Traditions. Chapter 4: African Religious Traditions. Chapter 5: Hinduism. Chapter 6: Jainism. Chapter 7: Buddhism. Chapter 8: Sikhism. Chapter 9: Chinese Traditions. Chapter 10: Japanese Traditions. Chapter 11: Zoroastrianism. Chapter 12: Judaism. Chapter 13: Christianity. Chapter 14: Islam. Chapter 15: New Age and New Religious Movements.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General