The Universe Next Door

The Universe Next Door

A Basic Worldview Catalog

Sixth Edition

by James W. Sire
Foreword by Jim Hoover

The Universe Next Door
  • Length: 330 pages
  • Published: August 04, 2020
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4938-3
  • Item Code: 4938
  • Case Quantity: 32

For more than forty years, The Universe Next Door has set the standard for a clear, readable introduction to worldviews. Using his widely influential model of eight basic worldview questions, James Sire examines prominent worldviews that have shaped the Western world:

  • theism
  • deism
  • naturalism
  • Marxism
  • nihilism
  • existentialism
  • Eastern monism
  • New Age philosophy
  • postmodernism
  • Islam

Intertwined with this analysis, he presents an overview of intellectual history giving insight into the current state of Western thought and culture. Critiquing each worldview within its own frame of reference and in comparison to others, Sire encourages readers to wrestle with life's biggest questions and examine the core beliefs and commitments on which they are building their lives.

The sixth edition, updated by Sire's longtime editor Jim Hoover, features new explanatory sidebars, helpful charts comparing worldviews and illustrating their historical flow, and a chapter on challenges to a Christian worldview in the twenty-first century. New discussion questions will help readers reflect more deeply on the ideas in each chapter.

The Universe Next Door has been translated into over a dozen languages and has been used as a text at over one hundred colleges and universities in courses ranging from apologetics and world religions to history and English literature. In a world of ever-increasing diversity, The Universe Next Door offers a unique resource for understanding the variety of worldviews that claim the allegiance of mind and heart.

"Each new edition of James Sire's classic text on worldviews, The Universe Next Door, only adds to the comprehensiveness and adaptability to classroom instruction as well as individual and group studies. This sixth edition is no exception. It contains a new commentary on the most contemporary challenges to Christian knowledge and faith. There is also an excellent new chart of worldviews as they relate to prime reality, external reality, human beings, after death, knowledge, morality, history, and core commitments. James Sire's work on worldviews was the product of a lifetime of fascination, study, and articulation of the major differences between our basic understandings and commitments across cultures, religions, and time. It was essential to whetting my own interest in and understanding of the importance of comprehending worldviews. It is an essential text for every Christian's library."

Mary Poplin, professor of education at Claremont Graduate University, author of Is Reality Secular?

"Over two generations of evangelicals have been nurtured by James Sire's magisterial The Universe Next Door. It is rightly considered a Christian classic. And for two reasons, this new incarnation of Sire's work is especially important. For one, it has a number of new features—including clarifying sidebars, charts, study questions, and a new chapter tackling recent challenges to a Christian worldview—that make its content clear, updated, and easy to use as a text. For another, as Western culture moves further and further away from the memory of a Christian worldview, it becomes increasingly important that Christians know how to navigate the realm of worldviews and think worldviewishly as Christians. This new edition of The Universe Next Door is for such a time as this."

J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and coauthor of Philosophical Foundations of a Christian Worldview

"This book is tremendous. I have taught it many times and even made videos on it. I was also heartened to see a new chapter by Jim Hoover. It contains much helpful bibliography, and the new chapter encourages us to keep thinking in the spirit of worldview."

David Naugle, professor emeritus, Dallas Baptist University


Foreword to the Sixth Edition by Jim Hoover
Preface to the Fifth Edition
1. A World of Difference: Introduction
2. A Universe Charged with the Grandeur of God: Christian Theism
3. The Clockwork Universe: Deism
4. The Silence of Finite Space: Naturalism
5. Zero Point: Nihilism
6. Beyond Nihilism: Existentialism
7. Journey to the East: Eastern Pantheistic Monism
8. A Separate Universe: The New Age—Spirituality Without Religion
9. The Vanished Horizon: Postmodernism
10. A View from the Middle East: Islamic Theism
11. The Examined Life
12. Building a Christian Worldview for the Twenty-First Century: A Work in Progress
Appendix: Helpful Worldview Diagrams and Thumbnail Sketches

James W. Sire

James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely-respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages.

Born on a ranch on the rim of the Nebraska Sandhills, Sire served as an officer in the Army, a professor of English literature, philosophy, and theology, and a lecturer at over two hundred universities in the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia. He received a PhD in English from the University of Missouri, an MA in English from Washington State University, and a BA in chemistry and English from the University of Nebraska.

Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. He focused on the application of worldview thinking to the integration of Christian faith and the academic disciplines, as well as the nature of "signals of transcendence" and their relation to Christian life. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.

For further information and a complete biography, see the IVP press release: James W. Sire, “A Keystone in the Intellectual Renewal of Evangelicalism,” Dies

BY James W. Sire