Religions of the World:
A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices

ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA;  see website information to order:

J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, Editors

August 2002, ca. 1,800 pp. ISBN 1-57607-223-1, $385.00 (4 Vol.) Size 8.5 x 11

An extraordinary survey, in four volumes, of the religious belief and practice in all 276 of the world's nations and territories.

From the Aboriginal Cult of Maria Lionza in Venezuela to Zionist and Apostolic churches in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Religions of the World brings you the only comprehensive, AZ compilation of the world's presently existing major religious communities. More than 200 worldwide experts contributed the 1,200+ entries, each of which covers a group's origin, history, organization, ecumenical contacts, and present status.

Renowned world religion scholars J. Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann have performed nothing less a miracle of scholarship. Their Religions of the World brings together more than 200 international specialists to report on the state of worship around the world. No significant active faith remains unexamined. No corner of the globe goes unexplored. The results are staggering. The three-volume illustrated set offers more than 1,200 AZ entries, examining the religious history and key religious communities in all 276 recognized nations and territories. Each entry covers a groupís origin, history, organization, ecumenical contacts, and present status with address and website. Other entries focus on each individual country as a whole, surveying the current state of religious practice, supported by statistical data from the country's leading religious statistician, David B. Barrett. Among the AZ entries are core essays covering the major world religious traditions. With cross-references and a general index, this phenomenal set is sure to become the primary reference source on everything religious everywhere.


1,200+ AZ entries written by scholars numerous black-and-white illustrations 200+ contributors including top religious scholars 16 core essays Up to date statistical information including future projections Cross references, end-of-entry sources, and index


First reference work to undertake a true worldview of religious communities Editors and contributors include the biggest names in world religion studies Individual religious groups are documented and current religious practices are surveyed on a country-by-country basis Entries are supported by addresses, websites, and statistical data furnished by David Barrett, America's leading religious statistician

J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton is the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California.

NOTE: Dr. Clifton L. Holland of the Evangelical University of the Americas (UNELA) in San Jose, Costa Rica, is a contributing editor to this study; Holland is a specialist on the study of new religious movements in the Americas and a major researcher on the historical development of the Protestant Movement in Latin America and the Caribbean regions, as well as the Hispanic Protestant Church in the USA. Dr. Holland is the director of the Latin American Socio-Religious Studies Program (PROLADES), a research organization founded in Costa Rica in 1977 that has done fieldwork in more than 20 countries, and he is the chairman of the Administrative Council of the Institute for Socio-Religious Studies (known as IDES) at UNELA.