The Encyclopedia of World Religions series has
been designed to provide comprehensive coverage
of six major global religious traditions—Buddhism,
Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism,
and Protestant Christianity. The volumes have
been constructed in an A-to-Z format to provide a
handy guide to the major terms, concepts, people,
events, and organizations that have, in each case,
transformed the religion from its usually modest
beginnings to the global force that it has become.
Each of these religions began as the faith of
a relatively small group of closely related ethnic
peoples. Each has, in the modern world,
become a global community, and, with one notable
exception, each has transcended its beginning
to become an international multiethnic community.
Judaism, of course, largely defines itself
by its common heritage and ancestry and has an
alternative but equally fascinating story. Surviving
long after most similar cultures from the ancient
past have turned to dust, Judaism has, within the
last century, regathered its scattered people into a
homeland while simultaneously watching a new
diaspora carry Jews into most of the contemporary
world’s countries.

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