Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities

Prophetic Charisma: The Psychology of Revolutionary Religious Personalities

by Len Oakes
     
 

Len Oakes explores the phenomenon of cult leaders. He examines the psychology of charisma and proposes his own theory of the five-stage life cycle of the two types of prophets: the messianic and charismatic. Often characterized by isolation, autonomy, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, Oakes maintains that the cult leader has a narcissistic personality. This…  See more details below

Overview

Len Oakes explores the phenomenon of cult leaders. He examines the psychology of charisma and proposes his own theory of the five-stage life cycle of the two types of prophets: the messianic and charismatic. Often characterized by isolation, autonomy, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, Oakes maintains that the cult leader has a narcissistic personality. This individual possesses a heightened empathy, confidence, and memory, as well as autonomy and detachment - while appearing disquietingly normal most of the time. The author has interviewed several leaders whom, he feels, exemplify the charismatic personality. He also provides insight into the behavior and personality of many well-known cult leaders such as Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, L. Ron Hubbard, Werner Erhard, Kathryn Kuhlman, and J. H. Noyes. For eleven years, Oakes was a member of a charismatic communal group, during which time he simultaneously undertook his research into the psychology of charisma. His results - informed by both insider and academic viewpoints - contradicts many current accepted beliefs about cult leaders and their followers.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Drawing on structured interviews and psychometric tests of eighteen leaders of charismatic groups in New Zealand, and extensive readings of biographies of prophets, psychologist Oakes delineates five life stages and a dozen personality traits of prophets. He also offers a naturalistic explanation of the prophet's charisma. Paper edition (unseen), $17.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815627005
Publisher:
Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.21(w) x 9.31(h) x 0.80(d)

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