8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive book with excellent background material,
This review is from: Encyclopedia of New Religions: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities (Hardcover)
Hundreds of new religious movements are detailed, some from multiple points of view. They are organized geothematically (Western, Eastern, etc) and as such the book is easy to read from beginning to end, without finding yourself skipping suddenly from one worldview to another.
Most new religions spring from fusions of old ones, so, Partridge has supplied a masterly and comprehensive introduction to major religions and religious themes. Becuase of the excellent background material, you can read up on new religions without previously knowing anything about mainstream religion.
My favorite oddities are the so-called Cargo Cults: isolated island nations who come to devise rituals to worship planes, in order to be blessed with cargo.
This is not a flowery, rose-tinted view of modern religious history; it concentrates on the hard facts so you will find negative and positive aspects of religion described in a factual, referenced, impartial manner.
Scholars of religion and laymen who want nothing more than material for exasperated conversations down the pub, will both find much to absorb in this book!