The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects and New Religions / Edition 2

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Surpassing the scope and the thoroughness of the first edition, this new edition of The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions is the most wide-ranging and accessible resource on the historically significant and more obscure, sinister, and bizarre religious groups. Including many entries by scholarly specialists, this volume explains more than 1,000 diverse groups and movements, from such well-known sects as the Branch Davidians, Aum Shinrikyo, and Heaven's Gate, to obscure groups like Ordo Templi Satanas, Witches International, and the Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus. In addition to an exhaustive index and handy cross-references, the second edition includes over a hundred new topical entries on subjects relevant to understanding sectarian movements, from snake-handling and satanic ritual abuse to brainwashing and exorcism.

This book, a must for all libraries and schools, will endure as the first and only point of reference for researchers, scholars, students, and anyone interested in fringe religious groups.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
One might not expect to find established groups such as the Amish and the Brethren Church included in a work on cults, sects, and new religions, but they are. After reading the introduction one will understand why. Lewis (religious studies, World Univ. of America) provides a good discussion of the terms sect and especially cult. Although sometimes taken negatively, these terms are not inherently so and definitely have no negative connotation here. Most of the nearly 1000 entries are brief--one to three paragraphs--and cover everything from Aum Shinrikyo and the Branch Davidians to the Nudist Christian Church of the Blessed Virgin Jesus. The longer entries of a page or two, often authored by scholars other than Lewis, are for groups that are controversial or have made the news recently. This handy ready-reference tool is up-to-date, and, since the entries were submitted to the various religious groups for correction, accurate. Recommended for all libraries.--John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Whether you wish to learn about the sects with offices in your neighborhood, such as ECKANKAR or Dianetics, or are doing research on Elijah Mohammad, the well-researched entries of this guide provide information, bibliography, and websites. In his introduction, Lewis (philosophy and religion, U. of Wisconsin, Stevens Point) describes the phenomenon of sects, cults, and new religions, and informs us as well that each entry was sent to the main office of each religion for correction (when possible). The entries consist of the history, beliefs, and practices of the religion as well as entries on specific practices. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573928885
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 775
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.51 (h) x 1.84 (d)

Meet the Author

James R. Lewis (Stevens Point, WI), a world-recognized authority on nontraditional religions, teaches religious studies at the University of Wisconsin, and is the author or editor of over 20 books, including Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy and Doomsday Prophecies: A Complete Guide to the End of the World.

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