As a more general interest in religion grows as well as student interest, a paramount need arises for a group of comprehensive coursebooks that bring scholarly expertise and clear perspectives to bear on the world's largest religious traditions. Comprehensive Surveys of Religion (CSUR) promises to fill this need. Each volume in the series will be devoted to a major religion, offering undergraduates and general readers alike newly commissioned chapters from 12 to 24 internationally known scholars. A CSUR title will consist of two sections, roughly equal in length. The first will review the entire history of the religion, integrating into a well known narrative important new areas of research. The second section will highlight certain themes (such as gender, ritual, sexuality, ethics) that engage contemporary scholarship and through which students and other readers will come to better understand the dynamics of any tradition. Photographs and other artwork, timelines and maps will further illuminate the subject. The end result will be books that gently question as they answer, reorienting some widespread assumptions about religious history and practice while providing students with a widespread and deeper understanding of a given tradition. While each volume will be overseen by at least two outside scholars, the series itself will be administered by the Press religious studies editors. It is their responsibility to ensure consistency between volumes, in terms of level of readership, format, size of chapters and volume and design.
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