This unit introduces a student to various religions of the world including, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Confucianism/Daoism and selected Indigenous Religions. Students will examine the historical development of these religions and spiritualities, with reference to key figures, central beliefs and practices, and their interaction with historical Western and Christian traditions. Particular attention will be paid to the beliefs and practices of religious adherents in the Australian context. During the unit students will visit places of worship and religious devotion, including temples, shrines and mosques, and participate in discussions with religious leaders and adherents about their beliefs and practices.

Unit code: AR9067W (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Religious Studies

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Describe historical development of the Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Confucianism/Daoism, and selected Indigenous Religions


Describe the key figures of each religion and their significance for religious adherents


Analyse the central beliefs and practices of each religion and evaluate their significance for religious adherents


Assess the place and importance of the sacred texts for each religion


Compare ‘popular’ beliefs and practices of adherents with ‘formal’ beliefs and practices in each religion


Investigate possible barriers and obstacles for conversation, Christian witness and dialogue


Compare beliefs and practices in each religion that are also prevalent in Judea/Christian Scriptures and tradition


Face-face lectures and tutorials as well as 6 site visits to temples, shrines, mosques & places of worship.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Denny, Frederick M. An Introduction to Islam. 4th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2010.
  • Dowley, Tim. Introduction To World Religions, ed. C. Partridge, 4th ed., Oxford: Lion, 2014.
  • Farhadian, Charles, E. Introducing World Religions: A Christian Engagement. Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 2015. (recommended for purchase)
  • Gardener, D. K. Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.
  • Hinnells, John R., ed. The Penguin Handbook of the World’s Living Religions, London: Penguin, 2010.
  • Keown, Damien. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Knott, Tim. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Morris, Brian. Religion And Anthropology: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Nesbitt, Eleanor, Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Prothero, Stephen. God is Not One, New York: Harper Collins, 2010. (recommended for purchase)
  • Smith, Huston. The World’s Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions, New York: Harper Collins. 1991.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

4 x 625 word summaries/overviews of selected religions including, historical development, key figures, main beliefs and practices.

2500 30.0
Book Review

1,250word review of selected reading

1250 20.0

Essay (4000 words)

4000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 9 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-09 13:59:24 +1100