New Religious Movements: A Documentary Reader / Edition 1

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New Religious Movements is a highly unique volume, bringing together primary documents conveying the words and ideas of a wide array of new religious movements (NRMs), and offering a first-hand look into their belief systems.

Arranged by the editors according to a new typology, the text allows readers to consider NRMS along five interrelated pathways—from those that offer new perceptions of existence or new personal identities, to those that center on relationships within family-like units, to those movements that highlight the need for recasting the social order or anticipate the dawn of a new age.

The volume includes original documents from groups such as the Unification Church, Theosophy, Branch Davidians, Wicca, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Santeria, and Seventh Day Adventists, as well as many others. Each section is prefaced by a contextual introduction and concludes with a list of sources for further reading. New Religious Movements offers a rare inside look into the worldviews of alternative religious traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Anthropologists have referred to humankind as Homo religiousus (literally, "religious man") or the God-intoxicated ape. The pervasiveness of relativism, postmodernism, pluralism, and materialism has neither quelled nor quenched humanity's transcendental leanings and yearnings. The evidence? The rise and proliferation of New Religious Movements (NRMs), once pejoratively referred to as cults. Today's religious landscape has become a spiritual smorgasbord, and here's a sampling of the menu: Wicca, the Unification Church, Santer a, the Nation of Islam, Heaven's Gate. This single-volume work profiles 16 such groups, relying-unlike many other books on NRMs-on primary sources. Readers will find excerpts of the writings of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy; Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam; and Jim Jones, the central figure of the People's Temple. Also unique to this work is its taxonomy: NRMs are classified into five categories that range from faiths offering new perceptions on reality and personal identities to those that challenge the social order and look toward the advent of a new age. Particular highpoints include the chapter on Heaven's Gate and a discussion of Anticult and Countercult movements. Overall, this scholarly, succinct work offers a balanced approach to a contentious topic. Public and academic libraries should purchase two copies, one for reference and one for circulating collections.-C. Brian Smith, Arlington Heights Memorial Lib., IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“This book introduces readers to these faiths, utilizing the best of both worlds: the NRMs get to express themselves in the words of their own hallowed texts, while the religious scholars Daschke and Ashcraft place these new and interesting belief systems in their proper historical and theosophical context.”
-New York Spirit

“New religious movements have been in the public eye for decades, and have been the focus of a great deal of debate. Now, at long last, they get to speak for themselves. Dereck Daschke and W. Michael Ashcraft have given us an outstanding resource for understanding new religions, one useful to scholars and students as well as the inquisitive general public. The selections are excellent, and the introductions are models of clarity and accuracy. this volume of primary materials is overdue and very welcome.”
-Timothy Miller,University of Kansas

“Overall, this scholarly, succinct work offers a balanced approach to a contentious topic. Public and academic libraries should purchase two copies, one for reference and one for circulating collections.”
-Library Journal

New Religious Movements: A Documentary Reader is an essential text for courses on new religions. It combines well selected source materials with knowledgeable and accessible introductions. The appendix containing an essay by Douglas Cowan on the history of anticult and countercult movements is a very helpful addition.”
-Catherine Wessinger,Co-general Editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814707036
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 6/17/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 341
  • Sales rank: 1,319,998
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dereck Daschke is assistant professor of philosophy and religion at Truman State University.

W. Michael Ashcraft is associate professor of religion at Truman State University and author of The Dawn of the New Cycle: Point Loma Theosophists and American Culture. He is a former chairman of the New Religious Movements Group of the American Academy of Religion.

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Table of Contents

1 Christian science 25
From retrospection and introspection 30
From science and health with key to the scriptures 33
2 Theosophy 46
From "why I became a Theosophist" 50
From the ocean of Theosophy 52
3 UFO religious groups 64
From connections : solving our alien abduction mystery 70
4 Wicca 99
"The principles of Wiccan belief" 102
From the Wicca handbook 104
From Wicca : a guide for the solitary practitioner 107
5 Soka Gakkai 119
"Human revolution" 121
From the Buddha in daily life : an introduction to the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin 124
6 The Unification Church 139
"The purpose of creation" 144
"Blessed marriage in the Unification Church : sacramental ideals and their application to daily marital life" 148
7 The family / children of God 164
From women in the family 167
From "one wife" 169
From "the family's foundation : God's law of love" 172
From "responsibilities of the charter home : regarding children and parents" 177
8 Santeria 183
From the altar of my soul : the living traditions of Santeria 187
9 The Rastafarians 205
From the Kebra Nagast : the lost Bible of Rastafarian wisdom and faith from Ethiopia and Jamaica 211
From the Holy Piby : the Blackman's Bible 216
10 The nation of Islam 224
From message to the Blackman in America 229
From the Autobiography of Malcolm X 231
11 Peoples Temple 241
Interview on Ukiah radio station, May 10 or 11, 1973 244
Political and religious lecture, October 15, 1974 247
Sermon in Philadelphia, 1976 248
The "death tape," November 18, 1978 249
Suicide note 252
12 The Adventist tradition 259
From evidence from scripture and history of the second coming of Christ about the year 1843 : exhibited in a course of lectures 264
From America in prophecy 266
From a place called Waco : a survivor's story 270
13 Jehovah's Witnesses 279
From millennial dawn, vol. 1 : the plan of the ages 283
From Jehovah's Witness tract literature : "life in a peaceful new world" and "eternal happiness - in heaven or on Earth?" 286
From knowledge that leads to everlasting life 293
14 The new millennium : NRMs and the year 2000 297
From the Heaven's Gate website 302
From "Disappearance of the spiritual life of Earth and the madness of the human-devil realm" 307
From give me that online religion 310
App Constructing the new religious threat : anticult and countercult movements 317
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