Understanding New Religious Movements / Edition 2

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From Jonestown to Waco, from the Moonies to Scientology, new religious movements or "cults," as they are often and pejoratively called - are constantly in the news. Few books from a Christian background are anything but hostile to the vast expansion of these new ways of expressing religious sentiment. But Understanding New Religious Movements is different. John A. Saliba, who has been writing on new religious movements since 1976, here offer a dispassionate, balanced analysis of new religions. After opening with a broad overview of the new religious movements in contemporary Western culture and critically examining the various definitions and generalized features commonly applied to such movements, Saliba surveys a few select religious movements that have appeared throughout the history of the West - Gnosticism, the Cathars, the Flagellants, the Ranters, the Shabbatean Movement, and Mormonism. In the main body of the book Saliba examines new religious movements from a variety of perspectives - sociological, psychological, legal, and theological. Readers encounter such groups as the Hare Krishna movement, Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, and the Unification Church. Finally, Saliba offers principles and practical suggestions to psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors who may be called on to advise cult and ex-cult members and their families. This volume is a serious study of interest to anyone who has contact with new religious movements or who seeks to understand the underlying motivations that may lead people to join them.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Saliba (religious studies, Univ. of Detroit, Mercy) is a recent participant in a three-year Vatican study of new religious movements (NRMs). Despite his formal religious affiliations, his latest work is blessedly devoid of any doctrinal bias. Rather, it is a profound theological, historical, social, and legal analysis of new religious movements (a term Saliba prefers to cults, sects, etc.), beginning with the 11th-century Cathars (violently exterminated in the very first intra-Christian/governmental crusade) and concluding with the 20th-century Branch Davidians. Unlike many cult studies, his work does not limit its purview to Christian "heresies"; for example, Saliba devotes substantial attention to the Shabbatei Zevi Messianic movement within 17th-century Judaism. This is a thoroughly researched, well-constructed, unusually balanced, and scrupulously documented masterpiece. Were it not for its high intellectual level, it would belong on the shelves of every library. Given that level, however, it is recommended for purchase by academic libraries.Bill Piekarski, Southwestern Coll. Lib., Chula Vista, Cal.
Nova Religio:Journal Of Alternative And Emergent Religions
An ideal text for undergraduate courses as well as the single most important volume to recommend to someone who knows virtually nothing about New Religious Movements and their study.
Nova Religio: The Journal Of Alternative And Emergent Religions
An ideal text for undergraduate courses as well as the single most important volume to recommend to someone who knows virtually nothing about New Religious Movements and their study.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759103566
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 10/1/2003
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,324,345
  • Product dimensions: 5.92 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

John A. Saliba, S.J., is professor of religious studies at the University of Detroit Mercy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: New Religious Movements
Ch. 1 The New Religious Movements in Contemporary Western Culture: An Overview 1
Ch. 2 The History of New Religious Movements in the West 45
Ch. 3 The New Religious Movements in Psychological Perspective 75
Ch. 4 The New Religious Movements in Sociological Perspective 127
Ch. 5 The New Religious Movements in the Law Courts 165
Ch. 6 The New Religious Movements in Christian Theological Perspective 203
Ch. 7 Counseling and the New Religious Movements 241
Index 281
About the Author 293
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