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Classic Studies of World Religions
The purpose of this webpage is to provide readers with easy access, in pdf format, to some of the classic texts on world religions. Each week we will attempt to post a new book. All of the books are in the public domain. They come from places like the Internet Archive, where they are sometimes hard to find, and other online sites, or were scanned for the purpose of posting to this website. Links are also provided to other sources for online books in pdf format like Rob Bradshaw's excellen Theology on the Web website where you can find numerous books and journals.
 
The following texts can be read online or downloaded as pdf files:
Tom Paine
The Age of Reason - to read online click here. Paine's Age of Reason is largely ignored by theologians, but its arguments shaped nineteenth century thought and in many ways gave rise to the comparative study of religion.
   
Ludwig Feuerbach
The Essence of Christianity - to read online click here. This is the book that gave birth to Karl Marx's theories of religion and society.
   

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

On Religion. Inspired by Ludwig Feuerbach the anti-religious polemic of Marx and Engels was far more complex then most people think. They saw religion as a key factor in human life which led to the study of politics and society.
 
Max Weber
Sociology of Religion - to read online click here. Directly reacting to Marx and Engels the German scholar Max Weber pioneered the study of sociology and the role of religion in society.
   
Bede
Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People - to read online click here. This is the earliest history of England and a key medieval text on religion and the conversion of the pagan British to Christianity.
   
Coming soon:
James Fraser
The Golden Bough- abrided version - to read online click here
Louis Henry Jordan
Comparative Religion: Its Adjuncts and Allies - to read online click here
Mercia Eliade
Yoga Immortality and Freedom - to read online click here
Emile Durkheim
Elementary Forms of Religious Life - to read online click here
Max Weber
The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism - to read online click here
       
       
       
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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.