Higher Education

Cengage Advantage Books: Ways to the Center: An Introduction to World Religions, 7th Edition

  • Denise L. Carmody Santa Clara University
  • T. L. Brink Crafton Hills College
  • ISBN-10: 1133942253  |  ISBN-13: 9781133942252
  • 448 Pages
  • © 2014 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $84.75
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Striving to be the most student-friendly textbook in this field, WAYS TO THE CENTER: AN INTRODUCTION TO WORLD RELIGIONS, Seventh Edition, weaves together rich historical, cultural, and theological detail into structural and philosophical sections that analyze each of the world's major religions in terms of its views on nature, society, self, and ultimate reality. The readily accessible text is designed for today's students and places a premium on the development of critical thinking. Combining both historical and systematic analyses, the book takes as its focus the theme of personal centeredness--a primary goal of each featured religion.

Features and Benefits

  • An introductory chapter seeks to identify the essence of religion in juxtaposition to other spheres of human concern and then lays out an array of scholarly approaches taken up by key religious scholars.
  • Promoting student comprehension, a summary essay concluding each chapter succinctly represents the heart of each tradition's convictions.
  • Critical-thinking boxes throughout the text encourage students to wrestle with various religious concepts in the context of contemporary life.
  • "Case Study" boxes give a more in-depth look at various stories, scriptures, important figures, and cultural practices that give deeper insight into each religion.
  • Charts and tables are used to convey a great deal of information in an easily digestible format. Timelines, comparison charts, tables of themes, and more help students to learn important concepts and provide useful study tools.

Table of Contents

Definition of Religion. Religion Versus Science? Religion Versus Other Values. Components of Religion. God or Gods? Religion Versus Government. Sacred Writings. Religious Roles. Scholarly Approaches.
Earliest Religion. Common Themes in Tribal Religion. Australian Aborigines. Inuits (Eskimo). Native Americans. Africans. Southeast Asians and Melanesians. Polynesians. Ainu. Teutons. Celts.
Religious Themes. Mesopotamia. Egypt. Iran & Zoroastrianism. New World Civilizations.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Hindu Center.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Jewish Center.
History of China. The Chinese Worldview. Summary: The Chinese Center. The History of Japan. Japanese Worldview. Summary: The Japanese Center.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Greek and Hellenistic Center.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Buddhist Center.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Christian Center.
10. ISLAM.
History. Worldview. Summary: The Muslim Center.
Worldview. Summary: The Humanistic Center. Responses to Secularism. Unity and Diversity.
Annotated Bibliography.
Index and Glossary.

What's New

  • Chapter 3, "Ancient Civilizations," includes an expanded section on Zoroastrianism.
  • Additional content on Jainism has been added to Chapter 4, "India."
  • Chapter 10 on Islam now includes more information on Sikhism, Bahai, Druze, Nation of Islam, Yazidis, and Sabean Mandaens.
  • The Companion Website features chapter-by-chapter outlines, reviews, quizzes, and links to relevant YouTube videos.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"One of the strongest points of this text is how it clearly and consistently speaks to students."

— Mary Kelly, San Diego State University

"The material is readable, engaging, and the various visual aids facilitate comprehension."

— Darren Middleton, Texas Christian University

"The book comes across as a nice balance between rigorous scholarship and accessibility."

— Darren Middleton, Texas Christian University

"A wide-ranging, accessible text, one that students will find engaging and stimulating and that professors, who can be notoriously difficult to satisfy, will appreciate for its rigor and its even-handedness."

— Darren Middleton, Texas Christian University

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Denise L. Carmody

Denise Carmody received a Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion from Boston College and is presently provost and a professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University. An accomplished scholar and theologian, Dr. Carmody has published more than 60 books, both alone and with her late husband, John Tully Carmody. She is also the author of more than two dozen articles in both academic and popular journals. Her scholarship ranges across many areas from world religions to Christian theology, from spirituality to mysticism, and from comparative religion to systematic theology.

T. L. Brink

T. L. Brink earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has been a member of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, International Council of Psychologists, American Academy of Religion, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Religious Research Association. He has served on the faculties of Stanford University School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, University of Redlands, University of California Riverside, Universidad Iberoamericana, Excelsior College, and Crafton Hills College. He has authored or edited a dozen other books--including HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS' MENTAL HEALTH, DREAM ENCYCLOPEDIA: A CHRISTIAN APPROACH, and PSYCHOLOGY: A STUDENT FRIENDLY INTRODUCTION--two dozen encyclopedia articles, and several hundred journal articles and reviews.