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Protestantism and Non-Christian Religions

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Religions of the World

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Associate Professor of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University

To the Memory of Pope John XXIII
whose charity embraced all peoples
of every nation,
and whose wisdom saw the grace of God
active in all souls of every persuasion

Imprimi potest:  Joannes R. Connery, S.J.
                 Praepositus Provincialis
                 Provinciae Chicaglensis, S.J.
April 18, 1963
		 Nihil obstat: Joannes Shinners, S.T.D.
                               Censor Deputatus

		 Imprimitur:   Josephus H. Albers
                               Episcopus Lansingensis

August 10, 1963

The nihil obstat and imprimatur are official declarations that a book or pamphlet is free of doctrinal and moral error. No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the nihil obstat and the imprimatur agree with the views expressed.



  1. Comparative Religions in Perspective

  2. Primitive Religions


  1. Hinduism

  2. Buddhism

  3. Jainism

  4. Confucianism

  5. Taoism

  6. Zoroastrianism

  7. Shinto

  8. Sikhism


  1. Judaism

  2. Early Christianity

  3. Roman Catholicism

  4. Islam

  5. Eastern Orthodoxy

  6. Protestantism

  7. Old Catholic Churches


Books on comparative religion are mainly of three kinds: the informative kind, whose purpose is to review in more or less detail the beliefs and practices of various religious systems; the analytic, which presume on the information and go on to evaluate a number of living (or archaic) faiths according to certain normative principles; and the projective, where an author combines factual data and personal theory to anticipate what the future of man’s religion may (or should) be like. Typical of the first category is the Concise Encyclopedia of Living Faiths, of the second Joseph Kitagawa’s Religions of the East, and of the third, Arnold Toynbee’s Christianity Among the Religions of the World. Each type has its merits and limitations, and the growing output in this field suggests that among the limitations the most natural is the problem of space. There are too many religions with too much history and variety to make an adequate coverage of even the principal ones in a single volume.

The present book belongs to the first category of informative studies on the leading religions of mankind, currently practiced in the world and sufficiently known to allow some comparison of their faith and principles with those of other contemporary religious cultures.

As far as possible, the sources used were those published by representative writers within their own tradition, and always the main reliance was on the sacred books which the religions venerated as their special communication from the Deity or the sages of antiquity. In order to insure maximum accuracy and objectivity the text of the different chapters was submitted for comment by those who have lived closely with the respective faiths, either as believers or as persons who know the religious persuasion by years of experience and study.

John A. Hardon, S.J.
Western Michigan University

Quoted References

The references follow the numerical sequence in the text, with complete bibliographical information and credit lines (where needed) to the respective publishers. In quoting from the sacred writings of the various religions, the text used was based on standard translations which were carefully collated, so that the versions given may differ verbally, though not substantially, from the original text.

The two most extensive translations consulted were those in the Harvard Oriental Series, and the Oxford Sacred Books of the East, to both of whose publishers the author is deeply grateful for permission to quote and paraphrase.

A full complement of titles on the religions of the world would fill another sizeable volume. Yet if the works cited in the text are combined with the select bibliography which follows, a representative library on world religions to the reader.

Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica

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