University of Calgary uiwr
uwr blog   twitter Facebook news
About Articles Audio Books Courses Internet Journals Methods News Sources Statistics UWR study aids Videos
African Atheism Buddhism Chinese Christianity Hindu Islam Japanese Judaism New Religions Sikhism Worldviews

The purpose of this website is to introduce and supplement Irving Hexham's textbook Understanding World Religions (UWR). It was written to help students and others gain a basic knowledge of the major world religions and was published by Zondervan (2011). The website has three main sections containing opan source books that can be downloaded as free pdf files. The first, this one, introduces the book and the academic study of religion. The second, discusses specific world religions, atheism and worldviews. The third, assumes that most North Americal readers are from cultural backgrounds shaped by Christianity. Therefore it provides gain an understanding of Christian history and beliefs as a background to the study of other religions.


Download a free pdf copy of The Concise Dictionary of Religion it will provide you with basic information and technical terms about various world religions

Encountring World Religions will be published by Zondervan of Grand Rapids at the end of May (2019). It provides a Christian response to other world religions.

Download a free copy of Irving Hexham and Karla Poewe's Understanding Cults and New Religions on cults and new religions.
Concise Dictionary of Religion

Hexham Encountering World Religions

Understanding Cults and New Religions

Download a free copy of Fred Welbourn's classic work Atoms and Ancestors which is unuppassed. Permission to use given by Dr. Hebe Welbourn.

To find out why UWR was written click here. To read the introduction and first chapter click here. You may also like to read some reviews and endorsements.

Find out about the interaction between Buddhism and Chinese culture. Read W.W. Barber's Sinicizing Buddhism

Welbourn Atoms and Ancestors

UWR Book

Barber Sinicizing Buddhism


Syed Abul A'Ala Mawdudi is a well known Muslim writer whose views on Islam are popular among Muslims. His Islamic Way of Life presents a Muslim understanding of Islam.
Zondearvan has also produced a DVD to accompany the book. It is intended for use in churches as well as colleges and universities and provides a Christian perspective on the relationship of different religions to Christianity. You can find out more about it at: Understanding World Religions Video Lectures

Download a free copy of Edward Conze's Buddhism: Its Essence and Development.

Mawdudi Islamic Way of Life UWR Video Course Conze Buddhism its essene and Development
Read the Catholic Encyclopedia online. It contains many informative articles on Christian history, art, and other topics

In 2012 Understanding World Religions won a Christianity Today book award. It has also received some excellent reviews and endorsements by leading scholars.

Israel Abrahams' Judaism provides a concise introduction to the Jewish traditon.
Catholic Encyclopedia CHristiantiy Today Book Award Abraham Judaism

This classic work, The Religious Quest of Indiaby J. N, Farquhar and H. D. Griswold introduces Indian religions to Western readers and remains valuable even today.

Download a free pdf copy of Tom Paine's The Age of Reason. This is a daunting book, but essential reading for anyone wanting to understand modern unbelief.
Read some classic academic dictionaries and encyclopedias on world religions.Although older works they contain many articles that remain valuable today.
Farquhar The Religious Quest of India

Paine Age of Reason.

Hastings Encycolopedia of Religion




Watch a short video where Irving talks about the Zulu prophet Isaiah Shembe

Hear Irving discuss UWR with Canadian radio host Dave Rutherford click here.
Watch a short video where Irving discusses the work of Ninian Smart.
Isiah Shembe Dave Rutherford Ninian Smart






  Now Visit the Vogelstein Press Website  
Vogelstein Press
This website was first created in 2011 as a basic website. It was extensively revised to the extent that it became a new website in 2014. At that time new sections of various world religions, links to classic texts, the sections on worldviews and the extended sections on Christianity were added. All texts and graphics on Understanding World Religions are protected by copyright, 1995, 199, 2011, 2014.Permission to reproduce material found on this Web Site must be obtained from the appropriate copyright owner. World religions graphic by Christopher Tobias from Irving Hexham's Understanding World Religions, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Concise Dictionary of Religion, InterVarsity Press, Carol Stream, 1994.