Introduction to World Religions


Introduction to World Religions:

DANTES Final Exam Outline 

Each topic will be covered in class. 


Definition and Origins of Religion (5% - 7%)


  • Basic dimensions of religion: Myths, rituals, experiences, doctrines, ethics, etc.

  • Approaches to religion: Historical approach vs. Theoretical approach.


Indigenous Religions (5% - 7%)


  • Native north American traditions: Hopi, Lakota, Inuit, etc.

  • Native south American traditions: Guarani, Chinca, etc.

  • Native west African traditions: The Dogon, the Lebe cult, the cult of Binu, etc.

  • Native middle Eastern traditions: Mesopotamian and Egyptian.

  • Hellenic and Roman traditions: Archaic Mediterranean traditions.

  • Shintoism: Ethnic religion of the Japanese.


Hinduism (9% - 11%)


  • Historical development: According to Hindu beliefs, Brahman is the principle source of the universe.

  • Doctrine and practice: Hinduism recognizes a different path for each individual.


Buddhism (9% - 11%)


  • Historical development: Siddhartha Gautama – founder of Buddhism, was born about 583 BCE.

  • Major traditions: The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

  • Doctrine and practice: Buddhist monks and the emphasis on reaching enlightenment.


Confucianism (5% - 7%)


  • Historical development: Confucius (551-479 BCE) was a famous sage and social philosopher of China whose teachings have deeply influenced East Asia for 2400 years.

  • Doctrine and practice: The orthodox canon of Confucian texts, as eventually formulated by Zhu Xi, is the so-called "Four Books and Five Classics".


Taoism (3% - 5%)


  • Historical development: Originated in China in late 4th Century BCE.

  • Doctrine and practice: The root of Tao is defined as the way of the universe, nature, balance, it is a reality that cannot be grasped in language or thought.


Judaism (15% - 17%)


  • Historical development: It is believed that Judaism is the expression of the covenantal relationship that God established with the Children of Israel.

  • Denominations: There are noticeable differences in ritual, especially in the language in which services are conducted, with the more traditional movements emphasizing Hebrew.

  • Doctrine and practice: The Torah is the foundational text along with supplemental texts such as the Talmud and Midrash.


Christianity (17% - 19%)


  • Historical development: Based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, currently the world’s largest religion.

  • Major traditions: The belief that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him.

  • Doctrine and practice: The religion is based on the Bible and its various versions.


Islam (15% - 17%)


  • Historical development: Muhammad is viewed as the profit from which the word of God was heard and recorded.

  • Major traditions: Belief that God is one and unequaled. The Major text is the Qur’an.

  • Doctrine and practice: Most Muslim fall into one of two denominations; Sunni or Shia.


Religious Movements (7% - 9%)


  • Before 1000 A.D.: Religious constructs from the past.

  • After 1000 A.D.: Newer religions with varying origin stories.