Synopses & Reviews
New religions emerge as distinct entities in the religious landscape when innovations are introduced by a charismatic leader or a schismatic group leaves its parent organization. New religious movements (NRMs) often present novel doctrines and advocate unfamiliar modes of behavior, and have therefore often been perceived as controversial. NRMs have, however, in recent years come to be treated in the same way as established religions, that is, as complex cultural phenomena involving myths, rituals and canonical texts. This Companion discusses key features of NRMs from a systematic, comparative perspective, summarizing results of forty years of research. The volume addresses NRMs that have caught media attention, including movements such as Scientology, New Age, the Neopagans, the Sai Baba movement and Jihadist movements active in a post-9/11 context. An essential resource for students of religious studies, the history of religion, sociology, anthropology and the psychology of religion.