The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements

The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements

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New religions emerge as distinct entities in the religious landscape when innovations are introduced by a charismatic leader or a schismatic group leaves its parent organization. New religious movements (NRMs) often present novel doctrines and advocate unfamiliar modes of behavior, and have therefore often been perceived as controversial. NRMs have, however, in recent years come to be treated in the same way as established religions, that is, as complex cultural phenomena involving myths, rituals and canonical texts. This Companion discusses key features of NRMs from a systematic, comparative perspective, summarizing results of forty years of research. The volume addresses NRMs that have caught media attention, including movements such as Scientology, New Age, the Neopagans, the Sai Baba movement and Jihadist movements active in a post-9/11 context. An essential resource for students of religious studies, the history of religion, sociology, anthropology and the psychology of religion.
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'There's some excellent material in this book especially on individual movements.' Fortean Times '... volume editors Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein have solicited brand new essays from an impressive array of international scholars who work on new religious movements (NRMs), all with extensive records of publication and most with advanced academic standing. ... this book would make an excellent addition to any library reference collection. Secondarily it has the potential to serve as a textbook in classrooms focused on the study of NRMs; those teaching in this area might consider it for that purpose, but should do so knowing that it will need to be supplemented with additional material.' Nova Religio
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Table of contents

Introduction to New Religious Movements Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein; Part I. Social Science Perspectives: 1. The sociology of New Religious Movements David Bromley; 2. Religion and the Internet Douglas Cowan; 3. Major controversies involving New Religious Movements: a comparative perspective James Richardson; Part II. Themes: 4. History and the end of time in New Religions Garry Trompf; 5. Charismatic leaders in New Religions Catherine Wessinger; 6. Rituals in New Religions Graham Harvey; 7. Canonical and extracanonical texts in New Religions Mikael Rothstein and Olav Hammer; Part III. New Religions in the West and Beyond: 8. Scientology: up stat, down stat James Lewis; 9. Neo-Paganism Sabina Magliocco; 10. The International Raelian Movement Susan J. Palmer and Bryan Sentes; 11. The Sathya Sai Baba Movement Tulasi Srinivas; 12. Neo-Sufism Mark Sedgwick; 13. Satanism Asbjorn Dyrendal and Jesper Aagaard Pedersen; 14. Theosophy James Santucci; 15. The New Age George Chryssides; 16. 'Jihadism' as a New Religious Movement Reuven Firestone; 17. New Religions in the New Russia Marat Shterin; 18. New Religious Movements in sub-Saharan Africa Peter Clarke.
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About Olav Hammer

Olav Hammer is Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark. He is author of Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age (2001) and co-editor of Polemical Encounters: Esoteric Discourse and its Others (with Kocku von Stuckrad, 2007), The Invention of Sacred Tradition (with James R. Lewis, 2007) and the Brill Handbook of the Theosophical Tradition (with Mikael Rothstein, 2012). Mikael Rothstein is Associate Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Copenhagen and Visiting Professor at the Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas. He is author of Belief Transformations (1996), editor of New Age and Globalization (2001) and co-editor (with Tim Jensen) of Secular Theories in the Study of Religion (2000).
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