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DSST Introduction to World Religions Study Guide

Updated: Aug 18



If you're studying for the DSST Introduction to World Religions exam, you'll want to check out this study guide of what to expect on the test.


This exam covers the basics of religious studies, from the history and doctrines of different faiths to contemporary religious issues.


With our guide, you can ensure you're prepared for every topic on the test.


Let's get started!


Table of Contents

  1. Definition and Origins of Religion

  2. Indigenous Religions

  3. Hinduism

  4. Buddhism

  5. Confucianism

  6. Taoism

  7. Judaism

  8. Christianity

  9. Islam

  10. Religious Movements

  11. Conclusion

  12. Student Resources

  13. References


1. Definition and Origins of Religion


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Definition and Origins of Religion (5% - 7%).
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.



DSST Introduction to World Religions Trivia Question #89



2. Indigenous Religions


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Indigenous Religions (5% - 7%).
Indigenous Religions (5% - 7%)

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


  • Native South American traditions: Guaraní customs, language, habits of mind, 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.


3. Hinduism


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Hinduism (9% - 11%).
Hinduism (9% - 11%)

  • Historical development: Brahman is the principal source of the universe according to Hindu beliefs.


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


4. Buddhism


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Buddhism (9% - 11%).
Buddhism (9% - 11%)

  • Historical development: Siddhartha Gautama – the 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.


5. Confucianism


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Confucianism (5% - 7%).
Confucianism (5% - 7%)

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


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



DSST Introduction to World Religions Trivia Question #340



6. Taoism


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Taoism (3% - 5%).
Taoism (3% - 5%)

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


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


7. Judaism


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Judaism (15% - 17%).
Judaism (15% - 17%)

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


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


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


8. Christianity


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Christianity (17% - 19%).
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 and died for our sins. He resurrected from the dead to grant those who believe in him eternal life.


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


9. Islam


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Islam (15% - 17%).
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.



DSST Introduction to World Religions Trivia Question #1009



10. Religious Movements


DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam Outline. Religious Movements (7% - 9%).
Religious Movements (7% - 9%)

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


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


11. Conclusion: DSST Introduction to World Religions


Religions have existed for centuries and are essential to many people's lives worldwide.


The DSST Introduction to World Religions Exam will test your knowledge of indigenous religions from different parts of the world.


If you want to study this topic more in-depth, our online prep course can help you prepare for the exam.


Sign up today and learn about some of the fascinating religious traditions that make up our world!


12. Student Resources


13. References


DSST Introduction to World Religions Fact Sheet

DSST Introduction to World Religions Fact Sheet
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