Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Patterns of Religion, 3rd Edition

  • Roger Schmidt
  • Gene Sager
  • Gerald Carney
  • Albert Charles Muller
  • Kenneth J. Zanca
  • Julius F. Jackson, Jr.
  • C. Wayne Mayhall
  • Jeffrey C. Burke
  • ISBN-10: 1111186553
  • ISBN-13: 9781111186555
  • 576 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2005, 1999
  • COPYRIGHT: 2014 Published
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About the Product

Authored by distinguished scholars of religion writing in their areas of specialty, PATTERNS OF RELIGION examines key religious traditions around the world, from the ancient origins of religion to contemporary religious movements. Expertly written and organized, this text offers unparalleled flexibility for instructors. Each chapter explores the history, beliefs, practices, and source material for contemporary perspectives for a major religious tradition. This unified chapter structure helps to emphasize the patterns that link diverse religious traditions. The readings at the end of chapters include selections from scriptures and other important texts, eliminating the need for a separate scripture anthology. Now in full color, the supporting maps, photographs, chronologies, glossaries, and tables help contextualize each tradition and encourage further inquiry.


  • Consistent organization of each religion covers history first, then beliefs, practices, and contemporary perspectives.

  • The text's flexible organization enables instructors to choose to include or bypass material depending upon the constraints of the course.

  • Source readings provided for each tradition may eliminate the need for a separate anthology of scripture.

  • Extensive geo-political references, timelines, tables, and maps provide context in space and time.


"For a beginning student, it is perfect. For an advanced student, it is a great foundational text."
— Dean McGinnis, Chaminade University

About the Author

Roger Schmidt

Roger Schmidt was most recently chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Hsi Lai University (Rosemead, Ca.), a university grounded in Buddhist traditions and values. He is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Claremont Graduate School. He taught philosophy and religion for thirty years at San Bernardino Valley College and Crafton College, retiring as a professor emeritus in 1993. A prolific scholar and researcher, he continues to explore religious traditions in Asia and beyond.

Gene Sager

In addition to academic studies, Gene Sager brings to this text the experience of living as a scholar and translator in Japan. He has translated articles by Kyoto University's Keiji Nishitani and authored numerous articles on environmental issues and Asian religion. He received the faculty award for teaching excellence at Palomar College (May, 2001).

Gerald Carney

Gerald Carney is the Elliott Professor of Religion at Hampden-Sydney College. He received his Ph.D. in the history of religions from Fordham University, and has published widely on Vaishnava devotional traditions, religious aesthetics, interreligious dialogue, and on Baba Premananda Bharati, an early Bengali Vaishnava missionary to the West.

Albert Charles Muller

A. Charles Muller is a professor in the Faculty of Humanities at Toyo Gakuen University in Chiba, Japan. His primary field of study is Korean Buddhism, having received his Ph.D. from the Program in Korean Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. He is presently engaged in a number of other Buddhist translation projects, as well as in compiling web resources for teaching and research, most of which are housed at his web site, Resources for East Asian Language and Thought (

Kenneth J. Zanca

Kenneth J. Zanca is professor of Religious Studies at Marymount College, Palos Verdes, California, He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University, where he studied systematic theology with a concentration in Christian Ethics. He has published widely, including a text book for Contemporary Moral Issues classes entitled How to Arrive at a Considered Opinion. His research passion is American Catholic History, and he has published extensively in this field to leading journals and magazines. In 2008, his most recent book was published, The Catholics and Mrs. Mary Surratt: How They Responded to the Trial and Execution of the Lincoln Conspirator.

Julius F. Jackson, Jr.

Julius J. Jackson, Jr., is a professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at San Bernardino Valley College. His degrees include a B.A. in religious studies from Alma College; an M.Div. from Duke University; and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Syracuse University, where his areas of specialization were hermeneutic theory and religion and culture. He is the author of A Guided Tour of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, a wide range of academic papers, and interactive, multimedia computer tutorials in the areas of classical mythology, the Western humanities, introduction to philosophy, and world religions.

C. Wayne Mayhall

C. Wayne Mayhall is adjunct professor of philosophy at Bethel College and Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of On Plotinus, On Carnap, and On Buber, in the Wadsworth Philosophers Series and On Logical Positivism, in the Wadsworth Philosophical Topics Series. A former news writer for a New York Times syndicate and a professional writer for over two decades for such national magazines as Reader's Digest, National Wildlife, Modern Maturity, and Men's Fitness, he decided a decade ago to combine two passions, humanities studies and writing, into an interdisciplinary pursuit to teach and publish in the fields of philosophy, sociology, and religion.

Jeffrey C. Burke

Jeffrey C. Burke is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Islamic Studies from McGill University, where he was awarded the J. Jeffrey Semaan Arabic Prize in 1992, as well as a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has taught a wide range of courses on Islamic Studies, the modern Middle East, and world religions. Burke is a specialist in the history of religions covering the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, whose research has focused on the history of education in Egypt and interfaith relations in the Middle East. Professor Burke is the author of book chapters, articles, and reviews in leading scholarly works with a focus on women in religious traditions, the history of Islam, and Muslim-Christian relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Overview.
1. Discerning Patterns of Religion.
2. Ancient Spirituality.
3. Indigenous World Religions, Past and Present.
4. Contemporary Religious Movements.
5. Judaism.
6. Christianity.
7. Islam.
8. Zoroastrianism.
9. Baha'i.
10. Hinduism.
11. Buddhism.
12. Jainism.
13. Sikhism.
14. Taoism.
15. Confucianism.
16. Shinto.

New to this edition

  • This edition now introduces Zoroastrianism, Baha'i, Jainism, Sikhism, Shinto, and Contemporary Religious Movements in complete chapters.
  • The text has been reorganized to represent the regional origins of major religious traditions and their offshoots.
  • Writing throughout the text has been edited for clarity and concision, and updated to reflect the latest research and scholarship.