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Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader (Wiley Blackwell Readings in Religion) [Paperback]

Lorne L. Dawson

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Book Description

28 April 2003 Wiley Blackwell Readings in Religion
What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements. Looks at theoretical explanations for cults, why people join and what happens when they do. Brings together the best work on cults by sociologists, historians, and psychologists of religion. A broad–ranging, balanced and clearly organized collection of readings. Includes coverage of topical issues, such as the ′brainwashing′ controversy, and cults in cyberspace. Section introductions by the editor situate the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings in context of current discussions.

Frequently Bought Together

Cults and New Religious Movements: A Reader (Wiley Blackwell Readings in Religion) + The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (Cambridge Companions to Religion) + New Religious Movements: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)
Price For All Three: 58.75

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"This is a superb collection which will effectively introduce some readers to the field of NRM studies, and which is indispensable for any course on alternative religions. The volume really represents some sort of a milestone and its publication may indicate that the scholarly study of NRMs has ′arrived′." Nova Religio "This is a valuable reader and one which deserves to become part of the landscape." Gerald Vinten, European Business School, London "The book is very useful for students, scholars of different disciplines, and lay readers to get an idea of the scientific response to publicly debated issues about new religions. Furthermore, with bibliographies at the end of each article, it also provides an excellent starting point for further study." Marburg Journal of Religion "The editor has collected a number of fine writings by leading authors, theorists and researchers in the field of NRMs. One find understandable and accessible essays by historians, sociologists and psychologists of religion and other scholars well known for their work on the subject and/or famous in their disciplines ... For readers interested in the phenomenon the book is very readable and can open up a new world – a balanced world without prejudice." Journal of Empirical Theology


Review copy sent 31/01/12: The Journal of Academic Researches in Religious Studies  

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Most of us who have been involved in the study of NRMs during the past quarter of a century or so have enjoyed learning much of interest for the study of religion in general. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Religious Sausage is Made 23 Feb 2008
By Santi Tafarella - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of those "breaking the spell" books on religion in which the intricate social psychology--the underbelly of new religious movements--is laid bare and demystified.

The book consists of thought-provoking essays on cults by social scientists, psychologists, and historians. The editor has clearly attempted to give readers a handle, both theoretical and historical, on how new religious movements get started and thrive. Some of the essays in the book are so good that they justify, in and of themselves, the purchase of the book. Roy Wallis' essay, for example, makes some fascinating distinctions between "world denying religious movements" and "world affirming religious movements" that are extremely helpful. The sociologist Rodney Stark's essay is also excellent. It discusses how the proclamations of cults function as "compensators" for general, and unachievable longings (such as eternal life).

Lastly, this book is especially useful for reflecting on how the world's major religions (Christianity and Islam etc.) likely had their beginnings. In other words, the patterns typical of new religious movements are suggestive of how the old religious movements got their start. Short of a time machine, the study of contemporary new religious movements (cults) is as close as we are likely to get to witnessing the early beginnings, and evolution, of mature religions. This book is thus an excellent introduction to the scientific study of religion generally.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank You! 22 Jan 2013
By Phillip Crenshaw - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thank You for the book. I needed it for a textbook for class and it came in perfect condition! Thank you again.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 22 May 2009
By Lee Gardner - Published on
Very interesting book, it's part of a university study course.
Had worse study books :)
2 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tranquillity, really, without pills? Don't fall for it. 10 Jan 2008
By Tom Anderson - Published on
The title is a decent statement about the "TM" type of meditation. It's about as far as this meditation is likely ever to take anyone, but that is a good, if limited, thing.

However, the real purpose of the book is to get you hooked into the Maharishi's very expensive, very elaborate and very questionable "tranquillity" which in the 1990's cost something like $3000 for just the introductory method!

Do yourself a favour. Do some searching. Ask as many teachers as you can what meditation is and what it is for! Be VERY concerned about cost because the best teachers teach for free, or for very little. "TM" as a meditation method is more about making the Maharishi and his organization rich.

I recommend How to Meditate: A Practical Guide By Kathleen McDonald -- you won't get hooked/hoodwinked into a cult and you'll learn how to meditate.
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