1st semester Monday evening                                                        (Min. No. 8)


The four questions that will guide this comparative survey are: (1) What were the historical and socio-cultural settings within which the major religions arose, developed and/or declined? (2) Who were their founders and what functions have they had? (3) What are the main points of contact and contrast between these religions, in particular between each and Christianity? (4) What are the modern day causes of and responses to the growth of New Religious Movements and Fundamentalism across the religions?



Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. describe the main tenets of at least three of the major religions of the world
  2. describe the common aspects of their religious world-views
  3. demonstrate the contrast between the primal and world religions
  4. analyse the claims of uniqueness by any religion.


Level 2: Tutorial paper 1000 words (40%); 3500 word essay (60%)

Level 3: Tutorial paper 1500 words (40%); 3500 word essay (60%)


*= set texts recommended for purchase

Antoun, Richard T. Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic and Jewish Movements. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2001.

Bagir, Zainal Abidin. Science and Religion in a Post-Colonial World: Interfaith Perspectives. Adelaide, SA: AFT Press, 2005.

Davie, Grace, Paul Heelas, and Linda Woodhead, eds. Predicting Religion. Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd, 2003.

Eliade, Mircea. Patterns in Comparative Religion. London: Sheed & Ward, 1958.

Foy, Whitfield, ed. Man’s Religious Quest. London: Croom Helm, 1978.

Gwynne, Paul. World Religions in Practice. Oxford: Blackwell Pub., 2011.

Livingston, James C. Anatomy of the Sacred: An Introduction to Religion. 2nd ed. New York: McMillan Publishing Company, 1993.

Kulkarni, S. K. Hinduism: Triumphs and Tribulations. Mumbai: Indus Source Books, 2008.

*Losch, Richard R. The Many Faces of Faith: A Guide to World Religions and Christian Traditions.  Grand Rapids, MI: W. B. Eerdmans, 2001.

Noss, David S., and John Boyer Noss. A History of World Religions. New York: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1994.

Novak, Philip. The World’s Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World’s Religions. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1994.

Pannikar, Raimon. The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1993.

Sarma, Deepak, ed. Hinduism A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

*Sharpe, Eric J. Comparative Religions. A History. London: Duckworth, 1975.

Smart, Ninian. The World Religions: Old Traditions and Modern Transformation. Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press, 1989.