Living Religions / Edition 9

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 75%)
Est. Return Date: 07/21/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $80.19
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 49%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (48) from $80.19   
  • New (10) from $141.38   
  • Used (38) from $80.19   


Modern religions in today’s changing world

Living Religions emphasizes the personal consciousness of believers and their own accounts of their religion and relevance in the present day. Mary Pat Fisher considers how the contemporary beliefs and practices of each of these traditions has evolved, and explores the changing nature of each religion. The ninth edition focuses on cultural customs, popular spiritual practices, mixtures of religions, and varieties of religions ways. Expanded coverage of women, including women’s voices and contributions, is woven into the discussion of each religion.

Living Religions provides a sympathetic approach to the historical teachings of traditional faiths, indigenous religions, and new religious movements. The text follows a clear and straightforward account of the development, doctrines, and practices of the major faiths followed today.

MyReligionLab is an integral part of the Fisher program. Key learning applications include MyReligionLibrary, Closer Look tours, and a personalized study plan.

A better teaching and learning experience

The teaching and learning experience with this program helps to:

  • Personalize Learning — MyReligionLab is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment program. It helps students prepare for class and helps instructors gauge individual and class performance.
  • Improve Critical Thinking — Review questions throughout the text encourage readers to think critically about religion.
  • Engage Students — Diverse stories and cultural images bring religion to life.
  • Support Instructors — The most comprehensive set of instructional materials available, instructor resources reinforce and enliven the study of world religions.

NOTE: MyReligionLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase the text with MyReligionLab, order the package ISBN:

0205956599 / 9780205956593 Living Religions Plus NEW MyReligionLab with Pearson eText --Access Card Package

Package consists of:

0205871429 / 9780205871421 NEW MyReligionLab with Pearson eText -- Valupack Access Card

0205956408 / 9780205956401 Living Religions

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[The text is teachable], given the variety of pedagogical tools on display within each chapter, as well as the MyReligionLab option. This text would prove an excellent companion and dialogue partner for the student.”

- Chris Newcomb, Bethune-Cookman University

“I believe the text does a very nice job of providing detail without becoming overwhelming from the perspective of the introductory student.

-Charles Johnson, Washtenaw Community College

“The organization is well done and logical. The consistent layout helps the readers to organize and compare the religions in their understanding of it

- Ivory Lyons, University of Mount Union

“My students consistently find the book interesting and compelling.”

- Barbara Darling-Smith, Wheaton College

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205956401
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/17/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 9
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 42,199
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pat Fisher writes about all religions, not only from academic research, but also from her experiences with religions around the world. Much of her knowledge comes from the unique interfaith community in India, Gobind Sadan, where she has lived since 1991. In addition to eight editions of Living Religions, she has written other textbooks about religions and also about art.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

In this Section:
1) Brief Table of Contents

2) Full Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Religious Responses

Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways

Chapter 3: Hinduism

Chapter 4: Jainism

Chapter 5: Buddhism

Chapter 6: Daoism and Confucianism

Chapter 7: Shinto

Special Section: Zoroastrianism

Chapter 8: Judaism

Chapter 9: Christianity

Chapter 10: Islam

Chapter 11: Sikhism

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

Chapter 13: Religion in the Twenty-first Century


Chapter 1: Religious Responses

Attempts to define religion

Why are there religions?

Understandings of Sacred Reality

Ritual, symbol, and myth

Absolutist and liberal responses to modernity

The encounter between science and religion

Women in religions

Negative aspects of organized religions

Lenses for studying religions

Chapter 2: Indigenous Sacred Ways

Understanding indigenous sacred ways

Cultural diversity

The circle of right relationships

Spiritual specialists

Group observances


Development issues

Chapter 3: Hinduism

Philosophical and metaphysical origins

Major philosophical systems

Religious foundations and theistic paths

The Hindu way of life

Hinduism in the modern world

Chapter 4: Jainism

The Tirthankaras and ascetic orders

Freeing the soul: the ethical pillars

Spiritual practices

World Jainism

Chapter 5: Buddhism

The life and legend of the Buddha

The Dharma

Branches of Buddhism

Buddhism in the West

Socially engaged Buddhism

Chapter 6: Daoism and Confucianism

Ancient traditions

Daoism - the way of nature and immorality

Confucianism - the practice of the virtue

Chapter 7: Shinto

The roots of “Shinto”

Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian influences

State Shinto

“Sect Shinto”

Shinto today


Chapter 8: Judaism

A history of the Jewish people


Sacred practices

Holy days

Contemporary Judaism

Chapter 9: Christianity

Historical evidence

Evidence of the Bible

The life and teachings of Jesus

The early Church

Church administration

Intellectual revival and monasticism

Medieval mysticism

The Protestant Reformation

The Roman Catholic Reformation

Liberal trends

The Second Vatican Council

The Orthodox world today

Central beliefs in contemporary Christianity

Sacred practices

Contemporary trends

Chapter 10: Islam

Pre-Islamic Arabia

The Prophet Muhammad

The Qur’an

The central teachings

The Five Pillars

Sunni and Shi’a


The spread of Islam

Relationships with the West

Muslim resurgence

Chapter 11: Sikhism

Guru Nanak

The succession of Gurus

Central beliefs

Sacred practices

Sikhism today

Chapter 12: New Religious Movements

Social context for new religious movements

Charismatic leadership

Offshoots of older religions

Combinations of older religions


Social trends

Opposition to new religious movements

Will new religious movements last?

Chapter 13: Religion in the Twenty-first Century



Religious pluralism

Religion in politics

Interfaith movement

Religion and social issues

Religion and materialism

Religion and the future of humanity

Read More Show Less


Religion is not a museum piece. As the twenty-first century begins, religion is a vibrant force in the lives of many people around the world, and many religions are presently experiencing a renaissance.

Living Religions is a sympathetic approach to what is living and significant in the world's major religious traditions and in various new movements that are arising. This book provides a clear and straightforward account of the development, doctrines, and practices of the major faiths followed today. The emphasis throughout is on the personal consciousness of believers and their own accounts of their religion and its relevance in contemporary life.

Special features

This fifth edition of Living Religions preserves and improves upon the features that make Living Religions special. One of these is the personal interviews with followers of each faith. This material provides interesting and informative first-person accounts of each religion as perceived from within the tradition. I have presented these first-person quotations from many people, from a Siberian shamaness to a holocaust survivor, in "Interview" feature boxes and also in excerpts woven throughout the text. A new interview box has been added in the Jain chapter, giving insights into the ascetic life of a "semi-nun."

The feature boxes on "Religion in Public Life" have been much appreciated, so I have added two new ones to this edition. One is with U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, in which he gives intimate views of the spiritual life of traditional Judaism that underlies his public service. The final chapter, which looks at current issues in religion as we begin living inthe new millennium, includes a feature box on former U.S. President and peace worker Jimmy Carter, illustrating his deeply religious values. There are now a total of eight of these boxes in the text, portraying the spiritual roots of people who are making significant contributions to modern society. There are also eight feature boxes on "Religion in Practice," such as the, Sun Dance, in which dancers in indigenous American societies practice self-sacrifice for the sake of their peoples, and Mother Teresa's example of Christian love in action. In addition, there are ten feature boxes containing "Teaching Stories" that can serve as take-off points for discussions about core values imbedded in each faith.

Violence perpetrated in the name of religion is often in the news these days. This fifth edition includes probing discussions of this disturbing factor in many major religions and also in new religious movements. Distinctions are made between the basic teachings of religions, none of which condones wanton violence, and the ways in which religions have been politicized. Coverage of the socio-political context of the contemporary practice of religions has been increased especially in the wake of the events of September 11, 2001 in the United States, which brought a sea change in the ways that people of different religions look at each other.

People of many faiths are also looking at ways in which their religious practices and beliefs affect the environment. This edition, therefore, includes new material on religious approaches to contemporary ecological concerns, from the high dams that are threatening traditional cultures in India to the story of an American woman who lived high in an ancient redwood tree for two years to save it.

Throughout the book, coverage of women's contributions and women's issues has been increased. Women's voices are woven into the discussions throughout, including female theologians who are bringing vital new perspectives to religious scholarship. African and African-American religious experiences are also of increasing interest, and these are more extensively covered in this edition. There are poignant descriptions, for instance, of the lives of American Muslim converts who are trying to maintain traditional piety in the midst of modern materialistic society.

New religious movements are still proliferating in all directions. Some have turned to violent means of expressing their beliefs, so I have incorporated specific discussion of violence in new religious movements in Chapter 12. That chapter has been extensively revised, reorganized, and updated.

The opening chapter, "The Religious Response," has likewise been overhauled to bring more critical scholarship to bear on underlying issues in the study of religion and, in all chapters, the latest scholarship has been applied. Valuable primary source material has also been updated and expanded in this fifth edition. The book incorporates extensive quotations from primary sources to give a direct perception of the thinking and flavor of each tradition. Particularly memorable brief quotations are set off in boxes.

One of the most engaging features of Living Religions is its illustrations. I have been glad to have the chance to add more than 120 new pictures—many of them in color—to this fifth edition to help bring religions to life. Narrative captions accompanying the illustrations offer additional insights into the characteristics and orientation of each tradition and the people who practice it.

Learning aids

I have tried to present each tradition clearly and without the clutter of less important names and dates. Key terms, defined and highlighted in boldface when they first appear, are included in an extensive glossary which has been further expanded and revised in this edition. Because students are often unfamiliar with terms from other cultures, useful guides to pronunciation of words that may be unfamiliar are included in the glossary.

Maps are used throughout the text to give a sense of geographical reality to the historical discussions, as well as to illustrate the present distribution of the religions. I have added a new map of the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul in the chapter on Christianity.

Timelines are used to recapitulate the historical development of the major religions. These have been brought up to the present and redesigned for clarity. The simultaneous development of all religions can be compared in the overall timeline on the end pages.

I assume that readers will want to delve further into the literature. At the end of each chapter, I offer an annotated list of books that might be particularly interesting and useful in deeper study of that religion.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)