The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions

by Huston Smith

Paperback, 1991



Call number




HarperOne (1991), Edition: Reprint, 389 pages


Huston Smith's masterpiece explores the essential elements and teachings of the world's predominant faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the native traditions of Australia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Emphasizing the inner--rather than the institutional--dimension of these religions, Smith devotes special attention to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Sufism, and the teachings of Jesus. He convincingly conveys the unique appeal and gifts of each of the traditions and reveals their hold on the human heart and imagination.

User reviews

LibraryThing member kaelirenee
A good review of the major religions. Sometimes it drags. Most of the time, it's a good mix of history and context with theory and theology.
LibraryThing member jcvogan1
On the very short list of books that every human being should read.
LibraryThing member werus
I am constantly rereading this. Very accessible. A look into the soul of the world.
LibraryThing member drgrace
Used this book in my comparative religion course this summer. overall very good, informative, factual and an easy read.

The Judaism chapter reads like a mathematical proof in places, and there are too many modern scientific parrallels in the Christianity chapter.
Aside from that a Very good book.
LibraryThing member kdwade
This book for me formed a kind of starting point for an exploration of world religions that's continued for quite a while now. The sections on Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism are invaluable for the westerner looking for an inroad into these subjects. I'd recommend this book to anybody.
LibraryThing member erichoefler
The best general introduction to world religions ever written. Smith conveys both the practical external elements and spiritual inner realities of the major religions.
LibraryThing member Maggie_Rum
This book is a wonderful book for comparative religions. It doesn't feel like one is more favored over another, and it treats the history of all the religions equally. I respect Smith for being able to talk about the good and bad sides of religion without favoring the easy ones.
LibraryThing member charlileftclues
Really amazing book! It's my textbook for my World Religions class and I absolutely love it! First textbook that I actually am not going to get rid of after I finish the class. A great book for anyone interested in different religions.
LibraryThing member bibliosk8er
Great introduction to the world's major religious traditions, putting each in it's historical context which really aids in gaining some understanding and appreciation of them.
LibraryThing member escarb25
one of my all-time favorites
LibraryThing member gmicksmith
This is a handy introduction to the world religions for a basic religions course.
LibraryThing member Kronomlo
An excellent book outlining the major world religions and their more prominent denominations. A good starting point when first learning about religions in general, each religion getting a brief overview but still enough detail to see a bit of depth in each.
LibraryThing member mykl-s
One of the best guides out there on many of the kinds of religions that exist in the world.
Smith's treatment of indigenous, animistic, pagan, and traditional practices were less complete than I had hoped to find.


Physical description

389 p.; 8.11 inches


0062508113 / 9780062508119
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