Welcome to the Understanding World Religions Homepage

University of Calgary
Understanding World Religions
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Download as a pdf file:

Read a sample chapter:

Concise Dictionary of Religion

Click on the image of the book or here to download a free pdf copy.

When you click on the topic areas above you will find other free books in pdf format. Most are older classics, but some are relatively new.

If you are interested in recent books on world religions and related topics visit our:


Humboldt University Religion and theology Library



Are you confused by the rapidly changing religious landscape of modern society? If so this website is designed to help you navigate your way through today's religious maze. It provides access to sources that are in the public domain. In addition to various classical works that can be read online there are free academic articles, audio talks, books in pdf format, and videos, about varous world religions and anti-religous thought.

To hear Irving Hexham talk about the book Understanding World Religions and why he wrote it click here or on the photo below and remember to "open in new window" on your web browser.

Irving Hexham

Click here or on the photo below to hear Irving discusses the book with Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford. To see some other video discussions click here

Dave Rutherford


On this website you will find articles and books that you can either read online or download as a pdf file. In addition there are to talks, films, links to blogs and websites dealing with religious issues and a dictionary of religious terms and people. There are also study aids and advice on where to study. Plus information about the book Understanding World Religions.

The purpose of the book Understaning World Religions and this website it to help people understand both thier own religion and that of others. Because the majority of readers are likely to be Christians, or people who come from Christian cultural backgrounds, there is a special section of the website, with various sub-sectons, devoted to Christianity. You can find it here.

Christian Apologetics Christian Biography
Christian beliefs and practice Christianity and Culture
Christian history Christian missions
Christianity and other religions Christian philosophy
Christianity and politics Reformational books






understanding world religions

To read the introduciton and first chapter of this book click here or on the image of the book above.

To buy the book click here.

Take a look at the book's: academic endorsements

Read some academic and blog reviews of Understanding World Religions.

Errata: known typos in Understanding World Religions.

In 2012 Understanding World Religions won a book award from Christianity Today

CT Award

Visit Textbook Plus to see the teaching resources for this book



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 religons, 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, 2012, and Roberta Polfus, from the Concise Dictionary of Religion, InterVarsity Press, Carol Stream, 1994.