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(Choose one of the following questions from #1 – #5) 1. Discuss Zoroastrianism and its influence on the great monotheistic religions. Would it be helpful for for these religions to study Zoroastrianism as way to better understand their own religions? Would this challenge the assumptions many hold about these religions uniqueness as world religions?2. Is being “Jewish” a religious, cultural, or ethnic identity? How has the concept of a “chosen people” influenced Jewish life and thought? 3. World attention is regularly focused on the state of Israel, its neighbors and the peace process. Utilizing the Course Material and Social Media, how might a study of Judaism shed light on events in the Middle East?4. Compare and contrast Catholicism or Protestantism with one other Christian tradition. The field for your comparison is as follows: (a) Christian Science, (b) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (c) Jehovah’s Witnesses, or (d) Seventh-day Adventists. In structuring your response, isolate and respond to at least two (2) issues/problems in understanding Christianity that are raised by this question. 5. Turkey is a secularized country in a nation whose citizens are overwhelmingly Muslim. Controversy exists whether to ban religious attire all together (in government buildings and institutions) or to permit individuals to wear religious attire, like the hijab or burqa. Looking at the European issues, especially in France, as well as the issues faced in Turkey; Utilizing the Course Material and Social Media discuss the banning vs. permission of people to wear religious attire in a secular country that allows religious freedom. (Choose one of the following questions from A – D) A. How significant do you think it is for the Jews to “remember” communally by celebrating an annual festive dinner such as the Seder (Passover meal)?B. What do you think is Moses’ most significant teaching for your understanding of religious spirituality?C. a. What is the decisive meaning of the Incarnation for all Christian spirituality? b. What is the critical significance of Jesus’ resurrection for all Christina spirituality?D. Do you find anything in the teaching and example of Muhammad that is universally applicable to human spirituality, apart from particular religious worldview?

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Robert S. Ellwood
University of Southern California
Barbara A. McGraw
Saint Mary’s College of California
First published 2014, 2009, 2005 by Pearson Education, Inc.
Published 2016 by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017, USA
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business
Copyright © 2014, 2009, 2005 by Taylor & Francis
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any
electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording,
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and explanation without intent to infringe.
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appear on appropriate page within text (or on page 446).
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Where those designations appear in this book, and the publisher was aware of a trademark claim, the
designations have been printed in initial caps or all caps.
Cover Printer: Lehigh-Phoenix Color/Hagerstown
ISBN-13: 9780205797110 (pbk)
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Ellwood, Robert S.,
Many peoples, many faiths: women and men in the world religions/Robert S. Ellwood, Barbara A. McGraw.
— 10th ed.
p. cm.
ISBN-13: 978-0-205-79711-0 (alk. paper)
1. Religions. 2. Religion. I. McGraw, Barbara A. II. Title.
BL80.3.E44 2013
Cover Images:
Top row, left: © Stuart Black / Robert Harding Images
Top row, right: Karen Trist/Rough Guides/Dorling Kindersley, Ltd.
Second row: © Patrick Foto / Shutterstock
Third row, left:©Getty Images / Santiago Urquijo
Third row, right: Chuongy/Fotolia
Bottom row: © Idris Ahmed / Alamy Stock Photo
A very good book, best on the market.
—Helena Gourko, Merrimack College
There is no competition for this book. It is a
nearly perfect introductory textbook in my considered
—Dell deChant, University of South Florida
For Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood
May your faith be always adventurous.
For Erin Eklund Roddy and Echo Anne McCollum,
Daughters not of my body, but of my heart,
May the world greet you with a door wide open
to the fulfillment of all your potential.
Chapter 1
Chapter Objectives
A New Day of Religious Encounter
Visiting a Strange Land
Conditioned and Unconditioned Reality
Doors and Windows to the Ultimate
Forms of Religious Expression
Theoretical Expression: What Is Said in Religion
Practical Expression: What Is Done in Religion
Sociological Expression: Groups and Leadership in Religion
Ethics, Religious Experience, and Art
The Interrelationship of the Forms of Expression
Descriptive and Critical Approaches
Religion Through Time
Looking Forward
Religion, Governance, and Political Life
Women in the World Religions
Fundamental Features of Religions
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on the Study of World Religions
Chapter 2
Indigenous Peoples and Religion
Chapter Objectives
Encountering Indigenous Peoples’ Religion
The First Faiths
The Natural World is the Realm of the Sacred
Gods, Spirits, and the World
Initiation Rites of Men and Women
Tracing Survivals of Archaic Indigenous Peoples’ Religions
Indigenous Hunter-Gathers and Agriculturalists
Indigenous Hunters
Indigenous Gatherers
Indigenous Farmers
The Social Impact of Agriculture, the Role of Women, and the
Patriarchal Revolution
Progress and Return
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on Indigenous Peoples’ Religions
Chapter 3
The Spiritual Paths of India
Chapter Objectives
The Face of India
Understanding Hinduism
Ancient Indus Valley Religion
The Vedas
The Upanishads
Spiritual Ferment and the Rise of Buddhism
The Laws of Manu
The Yoga Sutras
The Bhagavad-Gita
Advaita Vedanta
Devotional Hinduism
The Vishnu Family of Devotional Gods
The Shiva-Shakti Family of Devotional Gods
The Mixing of the Families of Gods and Goddesses, and the
“Holy Trinity.”
Devotionalism in the Meeting of Hinduism and Islam
Devotionalism in the Meeting of East and West
The Practice of Hinduism Today
Home Rites
Ashrams and Swamis
Hinduism, Governance, and Political Life
Classical Concepts: Dharma and the Holy Kingship
The Hindu Nationalist Movement
Mohandas K. Gandhi and Indian Independence
India Today: Tension, Change, and Promise
Women in Hinduism
Sources of Classical Hindu Ideals of Womanhood
The Subordination of the Ideal Hindu Wife
Places of Power and Participation
Women and Reform in India
Today’s Hindu Women
India in America
Hinduism Comes to America
Other Indian Influences in America
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on the Religions of India
Chapter 4
The Journey of Buddhism
Chapter Objectives
A Religion of Transformation of Consciousness
The Life of the Buddha
Basic Buddhist Teaching
The Middle Way
The Four Noble Truths and “No Self”
Theravada Buddhism
Mahayana Buddhism
Nagarjuna’s Two Basic Principles
The Bodhisattva
“Mind Only” (Yogacara)
The Three Forms of Buddhic Expression (The Three “Buddha
Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism
Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet
Chan or Zen Buddhism
Pure Land Buddhism
Buddhism, Governance, and Political Life
The Tradition of the Dharma King
Colonial Rule and Recent Developments
Implications of Buddhism for Politics Today
Women in Buddhism
The Dharma: Opening the Door to Women’s Enlightenment
Women in Early Indian Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism
Women in Mahayana Buddhism
Women in Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhism
Women in Chan (Zen) and Pure Land Buddhism
Women in Contemporary Buddhism East and West
Buddhism in America
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on Buddhism
Chapter 5
Religions of East Asia
Chapter Objectives
The East Asian Spiritual World
Religion in China
Ancient China
The Dao—Foundational to Confucianism and Daoism
Confucius (Kong Fuzi) and the Confucian Classics
Fundamentals of the Confucian Tradition
The Han Synthesis and Yin–Yang
Mandarins (Ru)
Rituals of the Mandarins (Ru)
Confucian Moral and Social Values
Fundamentals of Daoism
Laozi and the Dao De Jing
The Development of Philosophical Daoism
Religious Daoism
Buddhism in China
Religion in Traditional China—A Syncretistic Practice
Religion in China, Governance, and Political Life
Confucianism as a Holistic Sociopolitical Vision
The Sage King and the Mandate of Heaven
Religion and Politics after the Fall of the Empire
Religion and Politics in China Today
Women in Chinese Religion
Women in Classical Confucianism
Women in Daoism (Taoism)
The “Golden Lotuses”—Footbinding in China
Chinese Women in Buddhism
Women in the People’s Republic of China
The Influence of Daoism and Confucianism in America
Religion in Japan
Four Affirmations
Shinto Worship
The Kami and Their Myths
Buddhism in Japan
Tendai and Shingon
The Kamakura Reformation: Pure Land, Nichiren, and Zen
Confucianism in Japan
The Japanese “New Religions”
Religion in Japan, Governance, and Political Life
Women in Japanese Religion
Religion in Korea
Religion in Vietnam
Religion in Mongolia
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on East Asian Religion
Chapter 6
The Family of the Three Great Monotheistic Religions and
Chapter Objectives
The Nature of Monotheistic Religion
The Abrahamic Faiths
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on Monotheism and Zoroastrianism
Chapter 7
The Unique Perspective of Judaism
Chapter Objectives
Jewish Uniqueness
The Ancient Story of Judaism
From the Second Temple to the Talmud
Medieval and Modern Judaism
Judaism in America
Jewish Beliefs
Jewish Life
Festivals and Practices
Judaism, Governance, and Political Life
Foundational Concepts
Structure of the Jewish Polity
Theology of the Land and Current Tensions
Israel and Governance
Diaspora Today
Looking Back to Look Forward
Women in Judaism
Women in Traditional Judaism
Jewish Women Today—Modernity and Feminism
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on the Hebrew Scriptures and Judaism
Chapter 8
The Growth of Christianity
Chapter Objectives
Encountering Christianity
The Scope of Christianity
The Early Jesus Movement
Varieties of Early Christianity
The Emergence of Normative Christianity
The Christian Triumph
The Foundations of Medieval Christianity
Medieval Christendom
The Reformation and Martin Luther
The English Reformation
Radical Reform
The Catholic Reformation
Christian Mysticism and Devotion
Eastern Orthodoxy
Roman Catholicism
Independent Christianities
Varieties of Independent Christianities around the World
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons)
Christianity, Governance, and Political Life
Apolitical Christianity Becomes Political: Christianity and
Politics in Historical Context
Roman Catholicism
Eastern Orthodoxy
Protestant Churches
Christianity in America: A Wellspring of Denominationalism
Missionaries and the Modern Expansion of Christianity
Women in Christianity
Women in the Early Jesus Movement
Christian Dualism, the Medieval Vision, and their Impact on
Attitudes toward Women
Christian Women in Europe during the Middle Ages: Wives,
Nuns, Charismatics, and Heretics
Women and Reform
Christianity and Women in America before the Twentieth Century
The “Woman Question” in American Christianity in the Twentieth
Century and Beyond
Christianity in the World Today
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on Christianity
Chapter 9
Building the House of Islam
Chapter Objectives
The Meaning of Islam
The Qur’an
The Five Pillars of Islam
Prayers and Mosques
Historic Islam
Features of Classic Islamic Civilization
Urban Settings and Family Life
The Development of Islamic Culture
The Role of Nonrepresentational Art, Calligraphy, and Literature
in Islamic Culture
Philosophy, Science, and the Intellectual Life of Islam
Rationalism and Mysticism in the Development of Islamic
Sunni Islam
Shi’a Islam
Islamic Mysticism
Islam, Governance, and Political Life
Islam’s Community Ideal and Authority
Tension with the West
Governments in the Islamic World
Islam in Europe
Islam in America
Women in Islam
Islam and the Question of Women’s Role
Early Islam after Muhammad: The Continuation of Patriarchal
Muslim Women: Leaders, Saints, and Practitioners
Muslim Women and the Winds of Change
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on Islam
Chapter 10
New Religious Movements
Chapter Objectives
The World of New Religions
Types of New Religions
Reactive Movements
Accommodationist Movements
Spirit Movements
New Revelation Sects
Import Religions
Golden Age Movements
Hybrid Religions
Other Ways to Categorize New Religions
New Religions Around the World
Features of New Religious Movements
Questions for Review
Suggested Readings on New Religious Movements
We have surveyed the religions of the world. What have we
What then of the future?
Appendix Studying the World’s Religions
I. Writing a Term Paper
II. Writing a Religious Visit Paper
III. Internet Research Guide
For more than three and a half decades, this introduction to the world’s religions,
has combined factual information with empathic writing that seeks to instill in
readers a sense of the richness of the religious lives of the peoples of the world.
While striving for accuracy and depth, Many Peoples, Many Faiths is neither an
encyclopedic compilation of data nor a survey of alternative philosophies. Instead,
the goal is to present a sense and feeling of the total human experience of religious
life from past to present, made up as it is in an inseparable mingling of concepts,
worship and other practices, and social factors. Also, the hope is that readers will
become curious about the areas of scholarship that lie behind this introductory
presentation of the world’s religions and will be inspired to explore these areas
more deeply.
The tenth edition has been fully updated throughout with material reflecting new
scholarship and general interest and, where appropriate, addressing rapidly
developing and shifting areas, taking account of the dynamic, changing quality of
religion. The authors call the readers’ attention to special features of this book and
a few examples of new material that are especially significant:
• This book places the world’s religions in historical context, illustrating the
complex dynamic of each religion over time, while also presenting current
beliefs, practices, and group formations.
• The chapters include substantial sections on women in religion; religion
governance and political life; and religion in America, which have been
revised and updated and many of these sections include new narrative
• MyReligionLab, an online resource produced by Pearson Education, is
available with this book and includes “Suggested Websites” and other helpful
electronic tools for this book.
• Chapter Two on indigenous peoples has been fully revised, including a
revised map and additional accounts of indigenous religions to enhance
readers’ understanding of these foundational faiths and their importance for
understanding other religions.
• In Chapter Three, the discussion of the religions of India has been
substantially revised to reflect new scholarship on the development of
Hinduism from prehistory to the present, and the chapter now has more
developed sections on “the Practice of Hinduism Today,” “Sikhism,” and
• Chapter Eight includes a new section on “Independent Christianities”,
including a new section on the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
(the Mormons),” and the sections on “Missionaries and the Modern Expansion
of Christianity” and on “Christian Mysticism and Devotion” have been
substantially revised.
• Chapter Nine reflects new developments in Islam and includes a new section
on Islam in Europe.
• Throughout the book, some descriptive writing has been replaced by profiles
of individuals who exemplify the same point in personal terms, and additional
narratives of the authors’ experiences have been included.
• Many new photographs and other art have been added to increase the
attractiveness and accessibility of the book.
• The Glossary is a helpful tool for students, as are the bibliographies at the end
of each chapter, which have been updated to reflect new scholarship, and the
maps, timelines, and summary information tables.
• The Appendix gives practical suggestions on how to write papers for courses
using this text and makes suggestions about how to do research in the library
and on the Internet.
As always, true understanding of the many faiths of the many peoples of Earth
requires a mixture of knowledge and empathy. While reading this book, keep the
necessary facts in mind, but read it also with compassion, which alone can furnish
an understanding of what those facts mean to human beings for whom they are
gateways to ultimate meaning.
The Authors
Robert S. Ellwood is emeritus of the Religious Studies Department,
University of Southern California. Generous in sharing with other scholars, whether
young or old, his clear understanding of the deeper goals of education and
scholarship, his breadth of knowledge and insight have resulted in numerous
impressive works. Dr. Ellwood has a legacy with a long trajectory—Many
Peoples, Many Faiths being one of his many significant contributions over the past
more than four decades.
Barbara A. McGraw, Professor and Director of the Center for Engaged
Religious Pluralism, Saint Mary’s College of California, has been coauthor of
Many Peoples, Many Faiths for half of all editions of this book, having joined Dr.
Ellwood from the sixth edition forward in the rewriting, editing, updating, and
additions to all sections of the book. Among other things, she contributed most of
the material on women in the world religions, on religion, governance, and
political life, and on the religions in America.
The authors are indebted to many people who have helped to make this tenth edition
possible. First, we would like to thank everyone at Prentice Hall who has worked
on this book. Unfortunately, we cannot name them all here, but we would like to
thank Sarah Touborg, the Editor in chief for Religion; Nicole Conforti, the Editorial
Project Manager, whose perseverance and steady hand during a complicated
production process was greatly appreciated; and Anandakrishnan Natarajan,
Project Manager, whose swift and clear communications and attention to detail
were invaluable to the success and timeliness of this edition.
We also wish to acknowledge the reviewers who offered suggestions for the
improvement of this tenth edition. Our thanks and appreciation to: James Findlay,
California State University Northridge; Theresa Gilbertson, University of South
Florida Sarasota-Manatee; Tim Harrison, McKendree University; Cristobal
Serran-Pagan, Valdosta State University; Curtis Smith, Penn State University; and
Brandy Stark, St. Petersburg College.
Understanding the World’s Religious
After studying this chapter, you should be able to
■ Talk about what you mean by religion, and what a religion includes.
■ Discuss religion in terms of the human experience of a split-level universe—as
conditioned and unconditioned reality.
■ Cite and interpret Joachim Wach’s Three Forms of Religious Expression, plus
expression in ethics, religious experience, and art.
■ Discuss other methods for approaching the study of religion: descriptive,
critical, and historical.
■ Begin the study of religion, governance, and political life and the role of
religion in the lives of women.
The world’s many religious pathways are no longer far away.
Think of your friends, neighbors, classmates, or workmates. The chances are
many of them are of a different religious background than yourself. Think of the
products you buy in today’s global economy: electronics from Malaysia, household
items from China, chocolate from Africa. The chances are the hands that prepared
them for your use belonged to persons of diverse religions, or no religion at all.
The religions of the world—the words themselves may evoke a panorama of
colorful images, perhaps drawn from a host of stories, movies, TV documentaries,
the Internet, travel, or family background. Incense and temple gongs, yogis in
contorted postures, ancient and mysterious chants, joyous shouts of praise, the
slowness of ancient rituals—all these and more sweep past our inner eyes and ears.
Sometimes, what most fascinates us is that which is far away or long ago. But the
study of the religions of the world is no longer a matter of reading about what may
seem strange or is faraway. In today’s world of pluralism* and rapid travel, almost
any faith anywhere is a presence and an option throughout the world. The temples
of Hindu Americans and the mosques of Muslim …
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