Cover image for Pluralism in the world religions : a short introduction
Pluralism in the world religions : a short introduction
Coward, Harold G.
Personal Author:
[Revised edition].
Publication Information:
Oxford : Oneworld, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 184 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Previous ed. published as: Pluralism. Maryknoll, N.Y. : Orbis, 1985.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL410 .C68 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Featuring coverage of all the major religions, this is a fascinating introduction to the manner in which each world faith views the others.

Author Notes

Harold Coward is the Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. Author and editor of nearly forty books, he is a well-known expert in the fields of Hinduism, philosophy and comparative religion and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Thoroughly revised from its 1985 edition, Coward's book concisely introduces the six so-called world religions, members of a category partly defined by numbers and influence but primarily by geographic dispersion. In the book, Coward moves from a plurality of religions toward religious pluralism, and that leads him to examine historic encounters between the traditions he considers as well as the metaphysical bases for such encounters within each of the traditions. The resultant volume makes a suitable handbook for students of world religions and a basic guide for others engaged, formally or informally, in conversation across the boundaries between religious traditions. With the latter purpose in mind, Coward concludes with a set of guidelines for interreligious dialogue. --Steven Schroeder

Library Journal Review

Oneworld's strong presence in today's religious book market includes a series of short histories and introductions to religions and religious questions, to which these two recent volumes are welcome additions. An authority on Hinduism and comparative religion, Coward (Univ. of Victoria) here revises his 1985 survey of the great religions' approaches to pluralism by updating chapters, adding the Baha'i faith, and revising his conclusions. He examines the response of six religions to pluralism and the future of religious dialog. The only criticism of this work is that it oversimplifies complexities and, in the Baha'i case, may not have understood the underlying worldview that permits both respectful dialog and the search for converts. Runzo (Chapman Univ. & Cambridge Univ.), who is widely published on religious pluralism, reviews the major arguments and issues in religious philosophy from a global perspective. He covers the various approaches that religions take toward each other and toward arguments for and against God's existence, theodicy, life after death, science, morality, and love. Helpful text boxes present the main philosophical arguments. Both authors succeed admirably in conveying to the student and educated lay reader the philosophical and practical issues raised by the interconnected world in which many religions coexist. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries of all sizes. William P. Collins, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 Religious Pluralism and Judaismp. 1
The biblical response to religious pluralismp. 2
Classical and medieval responsesp. 4
Modern responsesp. 7
Conclusionp. 14
2 Religious Pluralism and Christianityp. 16
The New Testament and other religionsp. 18
Early Christianity and other religionsp. 22
Christ, the Logos and the early church fathersp. 24
Christianity, Islam and the medieval periodp. 27
The modern Christian encounter with other religionsp. 27
Recent developmentsp. 31
Theocentric approachesp. 31
Christocentric approachesp. 43
The dialogical approachp. 50
Summary and conclusionp. 58
3 Religious Pluralism and Islamp. 61
Historical meetings of Islam with other faithsp. 62
Unity and the 'People of the Book'p. 64
Islam and Western religionsp. 67
Islam and Eastern religionsp. 71
Militant responses in modern Islamp. 77
Conclusionp. 81
4 Religious Pluralism and the Baha'i Faithp. 85
The Baha'i theology of religious pluralismp. 89
Relativism as a basis for Baha'i theologyp. 91
The Baha'i approach to interreligious dialoguep. 96
Conclusion: the Baha'i mission to Indiap. 97
5 Religious Pluralism and Hinduismp. 101
The classical periodp. 102
Hinduism's encounter with Islamp. 108
Hinduism and the Sikhsp. 111
Hinduism and Christianityp. 112
Hinduism and secular Indiap. 121
Conclusionp. 124
6 Religious Pluralism and Buddhismp. 126
Early Buddhism and other religionsp. 127
Mahayana Buddhism and other religionsp. 133
7 Religious Pluralism and the Future of Religionsp. 139
Religious pluralism: the current situationp. 140
The future of religionsp. 147
Notesp. 159
Indexp. 180