This text combines study of the dynamic historical development of each religious tradition with a comparative thematic structure. Students are encouraged to discover and explore the nature of religious experience by comparing basic themes and issues common to all religions, finding connections with their own personal experiences. By sensitively introducing descriptive material within a comparative thematic structure, this text helps students to understand how each religion provides, for its adherents, patterns and meanings that make up a full way of life.
I. EXPLORING THE SACRED PATHS. 1. Perspectives on the Religious Path. 2. Beginnings of the Human Religious Adventure. 3. Sacred Paths Among Indigenous Peoples. II. RELIGIONS ARISING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD. 4. Religions of Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece. 5. The Zoroastrian Tradition. 6. Jewish Sacred Story and Historical Context. 7. Jewish Worlds of Meaning. 8. Ritual Practices and the Good Life for Jews. 9. Christian Sacred Story and Historical Context. 10. Christian Worlds of Meaning. 11. Ritual Practices and the Good Life for Christians. 12. Muslim Sacred Story and Historical Context. 13. Muslim Worlds of Meaning. 14. Ritual Practices and the Good Life for Muslims. III: ONGOING EXPLORATIONS ON THE SACRED PATHS. 15. New Religious Movements. 16. Guideposts and Crossings on the Paths. Notes. Suggestions for Further Reading. Acknowledgments. Index.