Religions of the World is unique in that it is based in religion "on the ground," tracing the development of each of the 16 major world religious traditions through its institutional expressions in the modern world, its major geographical sites, and its major celebrations. Unlike other works, the encyclopedia also covers the world of religious unbelief as expressed in atheism, humanism, and other traditions.
J. Gordon Melton is director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, a religious studies research facility based in Santa Barbara, CA.
Martin Baumann is a professor of the history of religions at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Offering the most comprehensive coverage of religious holidays ever assembled, this two-volume book covers festivals, commemorations, holidays, and annual religious gatherings all over the world, with special attention paid to the celebrations in larger countries. Entries written by distinguished researchers and specialists on different religious communities capture the unique intensity of each event, be it fasting or feasting, frenzied activity or the universal cessation of work, a huge gathering of the faithful en masse or a small family-centered event. The work spotlights celebrations that currently exist without overlooking now-abandoned celebrations that still impact the modern world.