Understanding World Religions Video Lectures
Globalization and high-speed communication put twenty-first century people in contact with adherents to a wide variety of world religions, but usually valuable knowledge of these other traditions is limited at best. On the one hand, religious stereotypes abound, hampering a serious exploration of unfamiliar philosophies and practices. On the other hand, the popular idea that all religions lead to the same God or the same moral life fails to account for the distinctive origins and radically different teachings found across the world’s many religions.
Understanding World Religions Video Lectures features 26 lessons (on 3 DVDs), exploring various religions under the broad categories of African Religions, the Yogic Traditions (including Buddhism), and the Abrahamic traditions.
A companion to the textbook Understanding World Religions by Irving Hexham, these lectures presents religion as a complex and intriguing matrix of history, philosophy, culture, beliefs, and practices. With the understanding that a certain degree of objectivity and critique is inherent in the study of religion, Hexham guides students in responsible ways of carrying this out. Of particular note is Hexham’s inclusion of African religions, which have frequently been absent from major religion texts. He surveys these in addition to varieties of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Useful for formal students and independent learners alike, Understanding World Religions Video Lectures provides an accessible introduction for anyone wanting to better understand the world’s many religions and the people who follow them.
Session Titles and Runtimes:
1 - Introductory Issues in the Study of Religion (16 min)
2 - A Biased Canon (13 min)
3 - African Religious Traditions (16 min)
4 - Witchcraft and Sorcery (16 min)
5 - God in Zulu Religion (13 min)
6 - The Case of Isaiah Shembe (23 min)
7 - The Origins of Yogic Religions (19 min)
8 - The Richness of the Hindu Tradition (18 min)
9 - Rethinking the Hindu Tradition (20 min)
10 - Gandhi the Great Contrarian (16 min)
11 - Buddhism (21 min)
12 - The Development of Buddhist Belief and Practice (19 min)
13 - The Moral Quest of Edward Conze (17 min)
14 - Other Yogic-Type Traditions (18 min)
15 - Early Judaism (18 min)
16 - Rabbinic and Other Judaisms (21 min)
17 - Jewish Faith and Practice (17 min)
18 - Martin Buber's Zionist Spirituality (11 min)
19 - Christianity (12 min)
20 - Christian History (19 min)
21 - Christian Faith and Practice (17 min)
22 - Christian Politics According to Abraham Kuiper (19 min)
23 - The Challenge of Islam (20 min)
24 - Muslim Beliefs and Practices (23 min)
25 - Muslim Piety (18 min)
26 - Sayyib Qutb and the Rebirth of Contemporary Islam (11 min)
27 - Conclusion (16 min)
About the Author
Irving Hexham is professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary and adjunct professor of World Christianity at Liverpool Hope University. He has published twenty-seven academic books, including The Concise Dictionary of Religion, Understanding Cults and New Religions, and Religion and Economic Thought, plus eighty major academic articles and chapters in books, numerous popular articles, and book reviews. Recently he completed a report for the United Nations’ refugee agency on religious conflict in Africa and another for the Canadian Government’s Department of Canadian Heritage on Religious Publications in Canada. He is listed in Who’s Who in Canada and various scholarly directories. In 2008, he was honored at the historic Humboldt University in Berlin with a Festschrift, Border Crossings: Explorations of an Interdisciplinary Historian (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag).
In the Understanding World Religions course, author and professor Irving Hexham explores the world’s broad sweep of religions under the categories of African religions, the Yogic traditions (including Buddhism), and the Abrahamic traditions. He presents an appreciative yet realistic approach, noting both the strengths and inherent problems of each world religion.