The textbook for high school or undergraduate courses was first published in 1994 and is revised here from the 2003 edition with new chapters on the Unification Church, New Thought, and women and religion in America. Previous material also been updated and rearranged into a more logical sequence of topics; timelines of important events and people have been added; and sidebars now describe key movements or controversies, contain personal accounts of believers, and cite print and electronic sources for further study. Contributors identified only by name cover Christian foundations, other Middle Eastern monotheistic traditions, recent arrivals from Asia, religions made or adapted in the US, and issues in American religion.
"Huston Smith's masterpiece explores the essential elements and teachings of the world's predominant faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the native traditions of Australia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Emphasizing the inner--rather than the institutional--dimension of these religions, Smith devotes special attention to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Sufism, and the teachings of Jesus. He convincingly conveys the unique appeal and gifts of each of the traditions and reveals their hold on the human heart and imagination."