Return to NURELWEB or ACADEMIC ARTICLES or CULTS AND RELIGIONS
CULTS, SECTS AND NEW RELIGIONS BIBLIOGRAPHY
PART ONE - TO 1983
[Originally published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research,
at the University of Manitoba, 1993. Copyright Irving Hexham 1993]
Adventism Armstrongism Baha'i Black and Native American Religions Christian Science Children of God Christian Groups Divine Light Mission Eckankar Findhorn Free Communion Church Free Masonry Gurdjief Health and Holiness Hara Krishna Jewish Christianity Krishnamurti Meher Baba Neo-Hinduism Occult Scientology Theosopohy Transcendental Meditation UFO's Unification Church Western Buddhism.
Counter Culture Literature Debunking the New Mythologies De-Programming and the Anit-Cult Controversy Discussions of Communal Movements Evangelical Interpretations of the New Religious Movements Insights into the New Religions Jonestown Music and the Growth of New Religions New Religions and the Drug Sub-Culture Psychological Studies of Religion Religious and Sociological Background to the Rise of New Religious Movements Rise of New Religions.
Introductory works on world religions, symposia, sources.
A vast and ever increasing body of literature deals with the growth of new religious groups in western society. Sometimes these movements are called "cults" others refer to them as "sects". The consensus among scholars has been to refer to these groups as "New Religious Movements". This terminology has been adopted in this bibliographical guide.
The guide is intended to introduce the reader to basic works on the New Religious Movements which will enable them to begin their own research. It doesn't claim to be exhaustive nor to represent every point of view. Rather, it attempts to present a representative number of works. These will help readers understand the appeal of the New Religious Movements so that they can make their own informed judgment about them. Because of the controversial nature of the New Religious Movements, which many critics claim use brain- washing techniques, the bibliography includes sections on the issue of de-programming and the psychology of religion. This bibliography is the third edition of one originally published by Bishop Lonsdale College, Derby, England in 1975. Later it was published by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Manitoba (1983). Finally, a revised version was used at the University of Calgary.
Compiled By: Irving Hexham
Copyright: Irving Hexham.
Permission is granted for anyone to copy the bibliography for noncommercial, educational, purposes.
University of Calgary
Ellwood, Robert S. Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America,
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, 1973.
An excellent introduction to the study of new religious movements and the sociological theories by which they may be understood. In addition to classifying and briefly outlining a large number of groups, Ellwood includes short extracts from their writings to give the reader a feel for their beliefs.
Ferguson, Marilyn. The Aquarian Conspiracy, Los Angeles, J.P. Tarcher Inc.,
This book is essentially an update of Roszak's work. It concentrates on the positive aspects of personal transformation in modern society. Essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the intellectual climate of today.
Neddleman, Jacob. The New Religions, New York, Doubleday, 1970.
This was the first general guide to the new religious movements. Although it has proved to be a very influential book it is superficial and somewhat dated.
Roszak, Theodore. The Making of a Counter Culture, Garden City, N.Y.,
This work is a classic of its kind and probably the best known study of the counter-culture of the 1960's. It is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the intellectual background to the rise of New Religious Movements.
Roszak, Theodore. Unfinished Animal: The Aquarian Frontier and the Evolution
of Consciousness, London, Faber & Faber, 1975.
Here Roszak continues the theme developed in the making of a counter-culture by examining the religious and mythic roots of the counter-culture and New Religious Movements.
Shupe, Anson. Six Perspectives on New Religions, Toronto, Edwin Mellen Press,
Using a case study perspective Shupe introduces the reader to various perspectives by which the new religious movements may be understood. This is a useful work which introduces the problem of interpretation.
BOOKS ABOUT SPECIFIC NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
Dansteegt, Foundations of the Seventh Day Adventists: Message and Mission,
William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1977.
A valuable discussion of the origin and theology of Adventism.
Paxton, Jeffrey. The Shaking of Adventism, Zenith Publishers, Wilmington,
A scholarly discussion of Seventh Day Adventism and the theological and historical problems faced by its adherents.
Chambers, Roger R. The Plain Truth about Armstrongism, Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, 1972.
A critical discussion of the work of Garner Ted and Herbert W. Armstrong from the viewpoint of evangelical Christianity.
Esslemont, J.E. Baha'u'llah and The New Era, Baha'i Publication Trust,
A useful introduction to Baha'i beliefs from the viewpoint of a believer.
Miller, William McElwee. What is the Baha'i Faith? William B. Eerdmans,
Grand Rapids, 1977.
An unabridged version of an earlier classical study of Baha'i. This work is valuable in presenting a Christian critique on theological grounds.
Perkins, Mary & Hainsworth, Philip. The Baha'i Faith, Wardlock, London, 1980.
A short but valuable introduction to the Baha'i religion.
Black and Native American Religions
Abilla, Walter D. The Black Muslims in America: a Sociological Analysis of
Commitment, East African Literature Bureau, Nairobi, 1977.
An intriguing analysis of Black Muslims in America by an African sociologist.
Barret, Leonard. The Rastafarians: Sounds of Cultural Dissidence, Beacon
Press, Boston, 1977.
A well written historical introduction to this Jamaican religious movement which has had an impact on both Jamaican politics and North American music.
Simpson, George Eaton. Black Religions in the New World, Columbia University
Press, NY, 1978.
A scholarly discussion of a number of religious groups in the Americas and the Caribeean.
Gottschalk. The Emergence of Christian Science in American Religious Life
University of California Press, Berkeley, 1973.
A valuable introduction to Christian Science.
Martin, Walter and Klann, Norman. The Christian Science Myth, Biblical Truth
Publishing, Paterson, NJ, 1955.
A well documented fundamentalist critique of Christian Science.
Children of God
McManus, Una, & Cooper, John Charles. Not for a Million Dollars.
A highly personal account of a young girl who joined the Children of God. The book contains perceptive comments by Cooper on new religious movements and the dangers that some hold for the unwary.
Ellwood, Robert S. One Way: the Jesus Movement and Its Meaning, Prescott
Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 1973.
An excellent survey of the Jesus Movement by a historian of religion.
Quebedeaux, Richard. The Young Evangelicals, Harper & Row, New York, 1974.
A good introduction to changes taking place in evangelical society in the 1970's.
Quebedeaux, Richard. The Wordly Evangelicals, Harper & Row, 1978.
In this book, Quebedeaux develops his analysis of evangelicals showing the radical changes which have taken place during the 1979s.
Quebedeaux, Richard. The New Charismatics, Doubleday, New York, 1976.
An excellent introduction to the charismatic movement.
Richardson, James T. (ed.) Organized Miracles, Transaction Books, New
An intriguing sociological study of a Jesus people movement.
Divine Light Mission
Downton, James V. Sacred Journeys: the Conversion of Young Americans to the
Divine Light Mission, Columbia University Press, NY, 1979.
Using case studies of eighteen members, this work presents a sociological analysis of the Divine Light Mission during the 1970's.
Eckankar. Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal, Special Edition on
Eckankar, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1979.
A well documented expose of Eckankar from a Christian perspective.
Steiger, Brad. In my Soul I am Free, Illuminated Way Press, San Diego, 1968.
A biography of Paul Twitchell, the founder of Eckankar giving the group's self interpretation.
Twitchell, Paul. Eckankar, the Key to Secret Worlds, Illuminated Way Press,
San Diego, 1969.
This work gives the official teaching of Eckankar by its founder.
Caddy, Eileen. The Spirit of Findhorn, Harper & Row, NY, 1976.
A short but valuable introduction to the Findhorn Community by its spiritual founder. Although located in a remote part of Scotland, the Findhorn community has exercised great influence in North America, especially in futurist circles. As a spiritual group it is an important representative of the neo-pagan movements and seeks to popularize communion with nature spirits.
The Findhorn Community. The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man
and Nature in Co-operation, Harper & Row, NY, 1968.
A useful work taking one to the heart of the Findhorn vision.
Free Communion Church
Bubba Free John, Love of the Two armed Form, Dawn Horse Press, Middleton,
An introduction to the teaching of Bubba Free John.
Walton, Hannah. Darkness Visible, Augustine Press, London, 1952.
An attack upon Free Masonry from a viewpoint of high church Anglicanism.
Walton, Hannah. Christian by Degrees, Augustine Press, London, 1954.
A continuation of Walton's earlier critique.
Gurdieff, G.I. All and Everything: Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson, E.P.
Dutton & Co., 1964.
As a mystical teacher Gurdieff disliked teachings that were to be found in books preferring to teach his followers orally. This work is the closest he comes to giving a written account of his ideas.
Gurdieff, G.I. Meetings with Remarkable Men, E.P. Dutton & Co., NY, 1963.
A supposedly autobiographical account of Gurdieff's early life and search for truth. This book became the basis of the film with the same name.
Ouspensky, P.D. In Search of the Miraculous, Harcourt, NY, 1949.
An account of Gurdieff's teachings by his most prominent pupil.
Health and Holiness
Inglis, Brian. Fringe Medicine, Faber and Faber, London, 1964.
A well written introduction to various unorthodox medical techniques.
Inglis, Brian. Natural Medicine, William Collins, Glasgow, 1979.
An interesting account of other alternate medicines not discussed in Fringe Medicine.
Wallis, Roy and Morely, Peter. Marginal Medicine, P. Owen, London, 1976.
A useful academic discussion of unorthodox medical practices.
Bhaktivedanta, (Swami) A.C. Bhagavad-Gita as It Is, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust,
A translation and interpretation of the Gita by the founder of the Hara Krishna Movement. This is particularly important for understanding Hara Krishna because of the place given to the Gita in the movement.
Bhaktivedanta, (Swami) A.C. The Path of Perfection: Yoga for the Modern Age,
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles, 1979.
An introduction to Bhakti Yoga as understood by the Hara Krishna movement.
Bhaktivedanta, (Swami) A.C. Easy Journey to Other Planets, Iskon Press, NY,
Prabhupada's accommodation with modernity. Instead of space travel yoga takes the soul to those places it needs to go.
Daner, Jeanee Francine. The American Children of Krsna, Holt Rinehart &
Winston, NY, 1976.
An anthropological study of Hara Krishna community. Although weak on the history and theology of the movement, the book is excellent for its description of the daily life of a devotee.
Stillson, Judah, J. Hara Krishna and the Counter Culture, John Wiley & Sons,
A valuable discussion of the Hara Krishna movement by a historian of religion. The book is useful in setting the historical background to the modern movement and discussing its theology in the context of the history and phenomenology of religion.
Sobel, B.Z. Hebrew Christianity: the Thirteenth Tribe, John Wiley & Sons, NY,
A discussion of Jewish Christianity by a Jewish scholar who refused to be converted. In many ways this is a classic study of a new religious movement by an outsider who has every reason to be hostile to it and yet is able to present an understanding but sympathetic interpretation without accepting the claims of the group.
Krishnamutri, J. The Flight of the Eagle, Harper & Row, NY, 1972.
This book is a representative example of Krishnamurti's thought.
Lutyens, Mary. Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening, John Murray, London,
A biography of Krishnamurti by a close disciple.
Baba, Meher. Discourses, California Sufism Reoriented Inc., Walnut Creek,
A collection of Meher Baba's essays on spirituality.
Purdon, C.B. The God Man, Sheriar Press, Crescent Beach, 1971.
A useful biography of Meher Baba.
Cameron, Charles. (ed.) Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?, Phantom Books, NY, 1973.
A discussion of the claims of one of the more popular religious leaders in the early 1970's.
Damrell, Joseph. Seeking Spiritual Meaning: The World of Vedanta, Sage
Publications, Beverly Hills, 1977.
A sociological account of a Vedanta group in America. A very useful study for understanding what attracts people to Indian religion and its effect upon their lifestyle.
Hittleman, Richard. Guide to Yoga Meditation, Bantam Books, New York, 1969.
A useful guide to meditation as taught by one of Los Angeles' leading yoga teachers. The book has an intriguing preface in which Hittleman explains that when he first began teaching yoga he had to advertise it as being 'healthy'. He goes on to state that only after 1965 was he able to openly admit that his interest in yoga was really religious. However, he concedes that by promoting yoga as a way to health he realized a small number of devoted practitioners would come to see its religious meaning.
Wood, Ernest. Yoga, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1959.
A useful introduction to yoga.
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Worshipers and Other
Pagans in America Today, Viking Press, NY, 1979.
A valuable account of the revival of paganism today by a member of the new pagan movement.
Bainbridge, William Sims. Satan's Power, University of California Press,
This work is a classic study of a deviant psycho-therapy cult worshipping Satan. It sought to develop telepathic and other occult powers. The study was done by means of participant observation and contains many candid interviews with members of the group. It gives a rare insight into the mind of members of occult organizations. An exceptionally valuable work.
Cayce, Hugh Lynn. The Edgar Cayce Reader, Paperback Library, NY, 1969.
An introduction to the works of Edgar Cayce who is undoubtedly one of the leading advocates of occult Christianity in this century.
Cortes, J.B. and Gatti, F.M. The Case Against Possessions and Exorcisms,
Vantage Press, NY, 1975.
A lively discussion of possession and exorcism from a skeptically Christian viewpoint. This book does much to debunk many of the faddish views about exorcism and possession currently found in charismatic Christianity.
Furst, Jeffrey. Edgar Cayce's Story of Jesus, Coward-McCann, NY, 1969.
An introduction to Cayce's view of Jesus upon which he based his claim to be a Christian.
Gasson, Rafael. The Challenging Counterfeit, Logos Books, Plainfield, 1966.
A Christian critique of occult phenomena.
Koch, Kurt, E. Christian Counselling and Occultism, Kregel Publications,
Grand Rapids, 1965.
A chilling collection of case histories of psychological illness caused by dabbling in occult phenomena as seen from the perspective of a Lutheran pastor.
Lewis, I.M. Ecstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession
and Shamanism, Penguin Books, Harmondworth, 1971.
A scholarly discussion of the religious dimensions of occult phenomena from an anthropological perspective.
Montgomery, John Warwick. Principalities and Powers: A New Look at the World
of the Occult, Dimension Books, Minneapolis, 1975.
A well documented confrontation with occult phenomena from the standpoint of an evangelical Lutheran. The strength of the book lies in its historical analysis and logical criticism.
Strachan, Francoise. The Aquarian Guide to Occult, Mystical, Religious,
Magical, London and Around, Aquarian Press, London, 1975.
A catalogue of occult and other groups in London. Valuable as a source of information about the British religious underground.
Unger, Merrill, F. Biblical Demonology, Scripture Press, Wheaton, 1952.
A discussion of occult and related phenomena as it is reported and viewed in the Bible.
Watson, Lyall. Supernature, Harder Paperbacks, London, 1975.
One of the first and most influential attempts to integrate occult phenomena with modern theories of science and psychology. An intriguing book which deserves close attention.
Wilson, Colin. The Occult, Mayflower Books, St. Albans, 1975.
A sympathetic account of occult phenomena by the well-known British author.
Wright, J. Stafford. What is Man?, Paternoster Press, 1955.
A Christian discussion of occult and related phenomena which is both intelligent and informative.
Hubbard, L. Ron. Scientology 0-8: The Book of Basics, American Saint Hill
Organization, Los Angeles, 1970.
A short and useful introduction to scientology by its founder.
Hubbard, L. Ron. Scientology: The Twentieth Century Religion, The Church of
Scientology, Los Angeles, 1972.
Hubbard's account of scientology as a religion.
Wallis, Roy. The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of
Scientology, Heinemann, London, 1976.
A sociological study of one of the most controversial of the new religious movements. This book is invaluable for anyone wishing to understand the inner dynamics of many new religions.
Besant, Annie. Esoteric Christianity or the Lesser Mysteries, Theosophical
Publishing House, Aydar, 1953.
An attempt by one of the founders of theosophy to interpret Christianity in theosophical terms. In this pioneering study Annie Besant presents interpretations of Christianity which have been repeated in similar ways by many lesser writers.
Blavatsky, Helen. Basic Questions about Theosophy:Articles by H.P.Blavatsky,
The Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, n.d.
This important book is a source not only of theosophy but many modern neo-eastern religious movements.
Campbell, Bruce. Ancient Wisdom Revived, University of California Press,
A highly readable account of the history and development of the theosophical movement.
Hare, H.E., and W.L. Who wrote the Mahatma Letters?, Williams & Norgate,
A telling critique of Madam Blavatsky and her claim to receiving secret instruction from Tibetan masters.
McNeile, E.R. From Theosophy to Christian Faith, Longmans, London, 1919.
A strong attack upon theosophy by a Christian writer.
Rampa, T. Lobsang. The Third Eye, Trans World Publishers, London, 1957.
A modern re-interpretation of theosophy which build upon the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The author made headlines in Britain by claiming to be a refugee Tibetan monk with esoteric knowledge. After his book became a best seller, he was exposed by the News of the World (newspaper) as a Bradford plumber who had never been out of Britain. This exposure did nothing, however, to lessen his influence as a spiritual teacher.
Forem, Jack. Transcendental Meditation, George Allen & Unwin, London, 1974.
A clear exposition and strong apologetic for TM.
Kroll, Una. TM: A Signpost for the World, Darton, Longman and Todd, London,
A Catholic approach to TM as a neutral spiritual technique.
The Spiritual Counterfeits Project, TM in Court, Spiritual Counterfeits
Project, Berkeley, 1978.
An account of the judgement given in an American court in which TM was challenged on its claim to be non-religious. After considering voluminous evidence, the judge ruled that TM was indeed a religion.
Weldon, John and Levitt, Zola. The Transcendental Explosion, Harvest House
Publishers, Irvine, 1976.
A strong attack upon TM which disputes its claim to be neutral and its alleged scientific supports. Written from an evangelical Christian viewpoint.
Yogi, (Maharishi) Mahesh. The Science of Being and Art of Living,
Normendruck, Stuttgart, 1966.
The theory and practice of TM as described by its founder.
Goldsmith, Donald. Scientists Confront Velikovsky, Cornell University
Press, Itharca, 1977.
An intriguing work which although not about UFO's seeks to debunk the related phenomena of Velikovsky's theories of the origin of the universe.
Jung, C.G. Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies,
Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1978.
One of the more interesting and sensitive discussions of UFO phenomena by the renowned psychologist.
King, George. You are Responsible, Aetherius, London, 1961.
In this strange book not only are UFO's assumed to exist but the author claims to be in personal contact with them. Through yoga and other religious practices, he offers to bring mankind into communion with the cosmic masters. An interesting introduction to an irrational religion.
Menzel, D.H. and Taves, E.H. The UFO Enigma: The Definitive Explanation of
the UFO Phenomena, Doubleday, Garden City, 1977.
Although this book may not be all that it claims, it does go a long way to debunk UFO stories. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with UFO's and related myths. Although occasionally the authors seem to overstate their case, in general they manage to explain many of the so called mysteries surrounding UFO phenomena.
Mitchell, John. The Flying Saucer Vision: The Holy Grail Restored, Sphere
Books, London, 1967.
A work which weaves together stories bout UFO's and themes from the emerging religious consciousness of the mid-1960's written by one of the leaders of the British religious counter culture.
Naud, Eves. UFO's and Extra Terrestrial in History, Vols. 1-4, Ferni
Publishers, Geneva, 1978.
A wierd collection of UFO stories which while valueless as a historical or scientific treatise it is extremely useful in presenting popular Ufology.
Peters, Ted. UFO's: God's Chariots, John Knox Press, Atlanta, 1977.
An attempt to understand UFO phenomena and the perspective of liberal Christianity. An interesting but uninspired work.
Wilson, Clifford. UFO's and Their Mission Impossible, Word of Truth, Burned
A fundamentalist interpretation of UFO's as satanic manifestations.
Wilson, Clifford. Crash go the Chariots, Master Books, San Diego, 1976.
A useful debunking of von Daniken and related books from the perspective of fundamentalism.
von Daniken, Erich. Chariots of the Gods, Souvenir Press, London, 1968.
Although not strictly about UFO's, von Daniken's work has done much to popularize the idea of space visitors influencing human civilization.
Ad Hoc Committee of the Unification Church. Our Response to the Investigation
of Korean American Relations, Holy Spirit Association of Unification of
World Christianity, NY, 1979.
The Unification Church's response to the Fraser Committee and its investigations of links between the Unification Church and the Korean government.
Bryant, Darrol, (ed.) Proceedings of the Virgin Islands Seminar on
Unification Theology, Rose of Sharon Press, NY, 1980.
An interesting transcript of discussions and dialogues between invited guests and members of the Unification Church. The topics cover a wide range of issues and clarify many aspects of unification theology.
Bryant, Darrol and Hodges, Susan. (eds.) Exploring Unification Theology, Rose
of Sharon Press, NY, 1978.
An introduction to unification theology in dialogue form.
Moon, Sun Myung. The Divine Principle, H.A.U.W.C., Washington, 1973.
This is the basic text for unification theology by its founder. A strange amalgam of western theology and eastern philosophy in stilted English.
No author. Research on the Unification Principle, Song Hwa Press, Seoul,
A series of essays discussing the significance of the Unification Church and its theology in terms of philosophic concerns.
Papayannopoulos, Takis, (ed.) Religion in Korea: And the Movement of
Unification, Athens, 1979.
An interesting account of the relationship between unification theology and Korean traditional religions. Written by a sympathetic outsider.
Quebedeaux, Richard. (ed.) Evangelical-Unification Dialogue, Rose of Sharon
Press, NY, 1974.
An edited version of a series of dialogues which took place between Unification Church seminarians and members of the North American evangelical community.
Sontag, Fred. Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, Abingdon, Nashville,
An intriguing sympathetic account of the biography and beliefs of the founder of the Unification Church written by a historian of religion who attempts to understand rather than criticize.
Clark, David K. The Pantheism of Alan Watts Inter Varsity Press, Downer's
A useful discussion of the writings of Alan Watts from the viewpoint of evangelical Christianity.
Fields, Rick. How the Swans came to the Lake: A Narrative History of Buddhism
in America, Shambhala, CO., 1981.
A well-written narrative survey of Buddhism in America by the author of co-evolution monthly. This book both updates and supplements the other works on American Buddhism.
Hoover, Thomas. Zen Culture, Random House, NY, 1977.
An intriguing introduction to Zen which looks at its cultural development and influence upon Japanese society.
Humphreys, Christmas. Sixty Years of Buddhism in England: A History and a
Survey (1907-1967), The Buddhist Society, London, 1968.
A useful if stilted survey of the history of Buddhism in Britain.
Layman, Emma, McCloy. Buddhism in America, Nelson Hall, Chicago, 1976.
Another valuable survey of the growth of Buddhism in North America.
Nordstrom, Louis. (ed.) Namu Dai Bosa: A Transmission of Zen to America,
Theatre Arts Books, NY, 1976.
An introduction to Zen in America.
Oliver, Ian P. Buddhism in Britain, Rider and Co., London, 1979.
A contemporary account of the growth of Buddhism in modern Britain. This work is invaluable for understanding a number of groups not found as yet in North America. It gives some indication of the phenomenal recent growth of Buddhism in Britain.
Prebish, Charles. American Buddhism, Duxbury Press, Belmont, 1979.
An account of the growth of Buddhism in America. This work supplements the works on Buddhism in Britain.
Prebish, Charles, (ed.) Buddhism: A Modern Perspective, Pennsylvania State
University Press, University Park, 1975.
A useful discussion of Buddhism in a modern world.
Wright, Brooks. Interpreter of Buddhism to the West: Sir Edwin Arnold,
Bookman, NY, 1957.
An account of an early advocate of Buddhism in Western society. Valuable for understanding later developments in Buddhism.
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE COUNTER CULTURE OF THE 1960's
AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE RISE OF NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS
To understand the rise of new religious movements in the late 1960's and early 1970's, it is essential that the crucial role of the so-called "counter culture" of the 1960's is appreciated. It was out of this social ferment that most of the new religions gained their early converts.
Cohen, Stanley. Folk Devils and Moral Panics: The Creation of Mods and
Rockers, Paladin, London, 1973.
In this fascinating study, Professor Cohen shows how the news media created what he calls a "moral panic around the phenomena of the mods and rockers, teenage deviants in the mid-1960's in Britain". In many ways this work helps one understand the anti-cult movement in North America.
Cohen, Stanley. (ed.) Images of Deviance, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1971.
This book contains an excellent series of essays on deviances in British society which help one understand new religions and their reaction to criticism.
Cohen, Norman. Europe's Inner Demons, Paladin, London, 1976.
An intriguing study of the reactions to religious groups and social deviants in the European Middle Ages.
Goodman, Paul. Growing Up Absurd, Vintage Books, New York, 1956.
In some ways this is an American version of Colin Wilson's The Outsider. Written before the rise of the counter culture, it discusses all the sociological factors which would give it birth in the context of American society.
Musgrave, Frank. Ecstasy and Holiness, London, Methuen, 1974.
An interesting and valuable sociological interpretation which leaves the reader wondering to what extent the author reads his own ideas into the groups he studies.
Neville, Richard. Play Power, London, Paladin, 1971.
Probably the best introduction to the British counter culture. It was written by the author of OZ who was an active member of "Alternative Society" and one of its recognized leaders in Britain.
Nuttall, Jack. Bomb Culture, London, Paladin, 1968.
This book almost belongs to the counter culture literature and certainly gives the feel of its many aspects. Nuttall provides a lot of valuable information that lacks sympathy for the more religious aspects of the movement which he is speaking about.
Paloczi-Horbath, G. Youth Up in Arms, London, Weidenseld & Nicolson,
A stimulating study of the political aspects of modern counter cultures. Written from the Marxist perspective. Worth reading for a different view of things.
Partridge, William L. The Hippie Ghetto, New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston,
This is a classic anthropological account of a hippy community in America. As such it is of great value to anyone attempting to understand the inner workings of such a community.
Reich, Charles E. The Greening of America, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1971.
A Utopian interpretation of the American situation which contains interesting insights. Unfortunately the author tends to interpret in accordance with a preconceived framework which has not been supported by subsequent historical developments.
Rigby, Andrew. Alternative Realities, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974.
A sociological account of the commune movement in Britain with a theoretical discussion of its significance.
Speck, Ross V. The New Families: Youth Communes and the Politics of Drugs,
London, Tavistock Publications, 1974.
Many myths exist about the "immorality of the hippies". This book goes a long way towards debunking this mythology. It is a valuable study of family life among London deviants.
Taylor, Ian and Taylor Laurie. (eds.) Politics and Deviance, Penguin,
In this interesting discussion of deviances, Jock Young contributes an excellent chapter titled "The Hippy Solution: An Essay in the Politics of Leisure".
Toffler, Alvin. The Third Wave, Bantam Books, NY, 1981.
In this book Toffler maps his futurologist's view of the future. Many of his insights relate to the rise of new religious movements especially the chapter which he devotes to the question of why young Americans join the so-called "cults".
Turner, Victor, W. The Ritual Process, Penguin Harmondsworth, 1974.
By applying anthropological insights to modern society, Victor Turner has produced a lively and compelling interpretation of counter cultures.
Veysey, L. The Communal Experience: An Anarchistic and Mystical Counter
Culture in America, Harper & Row, New York, 1973.
The author defines counter cultures in terms of the living patterns of communitarian socialism with roots in anarchistic political philosophies and mystical religions. An interesting but questionable work.
Westhues, Kenneth. (ed.) Society's Shadow: Studies in the Sociology of
Counter Cultures, Toronto, McGraw-Hill, Ryerson Ltd., 1971.
This is a valuable contribution to the study of counter cultures. It contains helpful discussions on sociological conditions necessary for a rise of counter cultures and their survival. There are interesting articles on drugs, music and "hippiedom" in general.
Wilson, Bryan. Youth Culture and the Universities, London, Faber & Faber,
This well-known British sociologist makes interesting observations about American counter cultures and the general lack of relevance of American interpretations for the British scene.
Wilson, Colin. The Outsider, Panet Books, London, 1963.
Although written long before the advent of the counter culture of the 1960's this book provides an excellent introduction to the intellectual influences which shaped the counter culture in both Britain and America.
Yablonsky, L. The Hippie Trip, N.Y., Pegasus, 1969.
This is probably the most extensive study of the hippies made by a participant observer. It covers many aspects of the hippy life and enables the reader to understand the times. The author collected his information for the study from many hippy communities throughout America. It is a well-written and interesting work.
Counter Culture Literature
Fong-Torres, Ben. The Rolling Stone Rock'n Roll Reader, N.Y. Bantam Books,
A good collection of articles from Rolling Stone's magazine.
Leary, Timothy. The Politics of Ecstasy, Paladin, London, 1970.
In this classic work one can find numerous essays by the High Priest of the counter culture, Timothy Leary. Not only does Leary coin many of the phrases and catch words used by members of the counter culture, but in many ways he gave it direction and anticipated the development of new religious movements.
Mairowitz, David. Some of It, Knullar Ltd., London, 1969.
This book contains an interesting collection of articles from It, which was originally known as the International Time until the Times of London objected. For a number of years, It was the leading counter culture newspaper in Britain.
Wolf, Tom. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, NY, Bantam Books, 1969.
An introduction to the counter culture.
De-bunking the New Mythologies
de Camp, Sprague, L. Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science
and Literature, Dover Publications, New York, 1970.
A well written discussion of Atlantis and similar claims about lost continents by a well-informed master of science fiction. His skeptical approach brings sanity to a much misused subject.
Evans, Percival Christopher. Cults of Unreason, George G. Harrap & Co.,
A skeptical look at many of the psychic and strange phenomena which are often cited in support of the claims of new religious movements.
Fair, Charles. The New Nonsense: The End of Rational Consciousness, Simon &
Schuster, New York, 1974.
Another valuable skeptical look at common beliefs which often lead people to accept the claims of new religions.
Piggot, Stuart. The Druids Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1968.
A discussion of the Druids from the viewpoint of historical knowledge by a competent archaeologist.
Webb, James. The Flight from Reason, Macdonald & Co., London, 1971.
A discussion of mystical and occult movements from a skeptical viewpoint.
De-programming and the Anit-Cult Controversy
Conway, F. and Siegelman, J. Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden
Personality Change, J.P. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1978.
A more sophisticated defense of deprogramming based largely upon William Sargent's Battle for the Mind, but lacking his depth and scholarship.
Enroth, Ronald. Youth Brainwashing and the Extremist Cults, Zondervan, Grand
An evangelical study which is used to promote deprogramming.
Garvey, John, (ed.) All Our Sons and Daughters, Templegate, Springfield,
An interesting discussion of deprogramming presenting many points of view.
Hill, Daniel G. A Study of Mind Development Groups, Sects and Cults in
Ontario, Government Publishers, Ottawa, 1980.
The result of the government inquiry into cults, sects and new religions commissioned by the Ontario Government.
Levitt, Ken and Rosen Ceil. Kidnapped for My Faith, Bible Voice, Van Nuys,
A personal account by a Hebrew Christian of the way in which his Jewish parents kidnapped and attempted to deprogram him.
Patrick, Ted. Let Our Children Go!, E.P. Dutton & Co., NY, 1976.
A justification of deprogramming by the originator of the practice.
Richardson, Jim, (ed.) The Brainwashing/Deprogramming Controversy:
Sociological, Psychological, Legal, and Historical Perspectives, Edwin
Mellen Press, Toronto, 1983.
Shupe, Anson B. and Bromley, David G. The New Vigilantes: Deprogrammers,
Anti-Cultists and the New Religions, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1980.
By far the best and most scholarly introduction to the deprogramming anti-cult debate.
Discussions of Communal Movements
Alt, Roy. The Youth Communes, Power Publications, NY, 1970.
A journalistic interpretation of the communal experience.
Carden, Maren Lockwood. Oneida: Utopian Community to Modern Corporation,
Harper & Row, NY, 1971.
An intriguing study of the development of a modern business corporation from religious and communal roots as a 19th century Utopian community.
Clark, David. Basic Communities, S.P.C.K., London, 1977.
An extremely useful discussion of communal groups in Britain in the mid-1970's written from a Christian perspective.
Maria, Richard. Communal Love at Oneida, Edwin Mellen Press, 1978.
A study of Oneida which concentrates on its theological underpinnings.
Rigby, Andrew. Communes in Britain, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1974.
A lively discussion of the British communal movement.
Stock, B. and Hedgepeth, W. The Alternative: Communal Life in America,
Collier Macmillan, London, 1970.
An attractive book illustrating communal movements in America in the beginning of the 1970's.
Veysey, Laurence. The Communal Experience, Harper & Row, NY, 1973.
A valuable discussion of the development of communal groups in America.
Evangelical Interpretations of the New Religious Movements
Chang, Lit-sen. Zen-Existentialism: The Spiritual Decline of the West,
Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Nutley, 1969.
An interesting book written from the perspective of a Chinese convert to Christianity.
Cooper, John Charles. Religion in the Age of Aquarius, Westminster Press,
One of the earliest and best interpretations of the rise of new religious movements written in a popular yet scholarly style.
Fire, James W. Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways the Cults Misread the Bible,
IVP, Downer's Grove, 1980.
An attempt by an evangelical Christian to come to terms with the way in which many new religious movements claim to be Christian and interpret the Bible in ways that differ from traditional Christianity.
Guiness, Os. The Dust of Death, IVP, London, 1973.
This intriguing interpretation of Western culture sees the rise of new religious movements in relation to the decline of Christianity and provides a valuable overview often lacking in evangelical writers.
Hesselgrave, David J. (ed.) Dynamic Religious Movements, Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, 1978.
A pioneering attempt by a group of evangelical Christians to understand new religious movements in the perspective of mission studies and inter-religious dialogue.
Martin, Walter R. The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethaney Fellowship, Minneapolis,
An important study of religious groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science and Theosophy written from the perspective of a Baptist minister. Apart from the arguments deployed, this book is of particular significance because of its widespread use and influence.
Martin, Walter R. The New Cults, Vision House, Santa Ana, CA, 1980.
This work supplements Martin's earlier book, The Kingdom of the Cults by paying attention to groups like the Unification Church, Hara Krishna, American Buddhism, etc. Highly polemic in approach, this work is widely accepted and influential among evangelicals.
Means, Pat. The Mystical Maze, Campus Crusade for Christ, 1976.
A popular evangelical polemic against new religious movements.
Rookmaker, H.R. Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, IVP, London, 1970.
Through the medium of modern art, the late Professor Rookmaker of the Free University of Amsterdam, argues that modern society is in decline because it has lost its Christian roots. Although he does not deal directly with new religious movements, many of the things he says bear upon the development of the counter culture and provide useful insights from art and music.
Insights into the New Religions
Adelman, Clifford. Generations, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1973.
An intriguing account of the development of the 1960's and 1970's counter culture in all its aspects and the reaction of older generations.
Annett, Steven, (ed.) Many Ways of Being, Sphere Books, London, 1976.
This work contains a short description of many religious groups to be found in Britain. Because of the international nature of the new religious movements the majority of these groups are also present in North America. This is a valuable descriptive work.
Brent, Peter. God, Men of India, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1973.
A collage of personal anecdotes about Indian spirituality and the Guru in Indian society. Valuable understanding of the role of personal charisma in new religious movements.
Collier, Sofia. Soul Rush, William Morrow and Company, New York, 1978.
A spiritual odyssey of a young woman caught in the maelstrom of the 1970's. The work contains many vivid personal insights into the growth of new religions by a convert of the Divine Light Mission.
Didion, Joan. Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth,
The story of a female drop out and her search for spiritual reality.
Farquharson, Robin. Drop Out, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1971.
An intriguing autobiography of a young South African who emigrates to Europe and becomes a drop-out.
Popenoe, Cris. Inner Development, Yes! Books, Washington, 1979.
This invaluable guide surveys hundreds of books connected with new religious movements. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the study of new religions.
Rabindranath, (Maharaj) R. Death of a Guru, Harder and Stoughton, London,
This work is the opposite of most spiritual autobiographies of the 1960's and 1970's. In it a young Indian moves from Hinduism to Christianity.
Spiritual Community Publications. A Pilgrim's Guide to Planet Earth,
Spiritual Community Publications, San Rafael, 1974.
This work contains addresses and brief descriptions of spiritual groups, communes, and publications throughout the world.
Naipaul, Shiva. Journey to Nowhere: A New World Tragedy, Penguin,
An intriguing study of the Jonestown phenomena which takes into account the political study and social dynamics of the group written by a competent journalist who refuses to accept easy answers.
Rose, Steve. Jesus and Jim Jones, Pilgrim Press, NY, 1979.
This competent study of the Jonestown phenomena includes a complete transcript of Jim Jones' final speech recorded during the tragedy. The author makes clear Jones' commitment to Marxism and his final suicide as a revolutionary act devoid of religious content.
Music and the Growth of New Religions
Jasper, Tony. Jesus in a Pop Culture, William Collins & Son, Glasgow, 1975.
An interpretation of the role of pop music in contemporary society from the standpoint of a liberal Christian.
Larson, Bob. Hippies - Hindus and Rock and Roll, McCook, Nebraska, 1969.
A fundamentalist attack on rock and roll and its supposed relationship to Hinduism.
Melly, George. Revolt into Style, Cox and Wyman Ltd., London, 1972.
An intriguing interpretation of the function of pop music in British society during the 1960's. Written by a creative social critic.
New Religions and the Drug Sub-Cultures
Canadian Government The Non-Medical Use of Drugs, Penguin, Harmondsworth,
A well-documented report prepared for the Canadian Government on the use of drugs for relaxation and for non-medical reasons.
Huxley, Aldous. The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, Penguin,
A classic introduction to the relationship between religion, drugs, and mystical experience by a noted British writer. This book inspired many to experiment with drugs in the early 1960's.
Leech, Kenneth. A Practical Guide to the Drug Scene, S.P.C.K., London, 1973.
A balanced study of the drug problem by an English pastor.
McGrath, J.H. and Scarpitti, F.R. Youth and Drugs, Scott Foresman and Co.,
A valuable study of the youth sub-culture and its drug use.
Schofield, Michael. The Strange Case of Pot, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1971.
A careful study of the relationship between medical evidence and legislation with regard to marijuana use in Britain. This book explains why many young people in the mid to late 1960's disregarded warnings about the dangers of drug use.
Wells, Bryan. Psychedelic Drugs, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973.
A useful discussion of the use of Psychedelic drugs which gives the reader many insights into the relationship between drugs and mystical religions.
Young, Jock. The Drug Takers, Paladin, London, 1971.
This scholarly study of drug use from the perspective of deviancy theory is of great value in helping the reader understand both the use of drugs and the way in which both the drug sub-culture and its hostile parent culture interact with one another. This study is of equal value in attempting to understand the relationship between new religious movements and their parent society.
Psychological Studies of Religion
Brandon, Owen. The Battle for the Soul: Aspects of Religious Conversion,
Hodder and Stoughton, 1960.
A scholarly rebuttal of Professor Sargent's claims.
Brown, L.B. (ed.) Religion and Psychology, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth,
A valuable collection of articles on the psychology of religion.
Ferm, Robert O. The Psychology of Christian Conversion, Pickering and Inglis,
An interesting study of Christian conversion against which studies of cult conversion ought to be compared.
Green Celia, (ed.) Out-of-the Body Experiences, Institute of Psychophysical
Research, Oxford, 1968.
A useful discussion of the out-of-the-body experience phenomena.
Hardy, Alister. The Spiritual Nature of Man, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1979.
This important study is based upon survey material in Britain which sought to discover whether religious/mystical experiences were common or uncommon in the population at large. Its findings are surprising.
Jahoda, Gustav. The Psychology of Superstition, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth,
Although not directly concerned with religion, this is a useful way of understanding how people come to accept strange beliefs.
James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience, Longmans, Green & Co.,
A classic work on the psychology of religion.
Jung, C.G. Psychology and Religion, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1938.
Fascinating study by one of the fathers of modern psychology.
Martyn, D. and Jones Lloyd. Conversions: Psychological and Spiritual, IVF,
A thorough analysis and criticism of Sargent's work by a distinguished British medical practitioner and evangelical preacher.
Matson, Katinka. (ed.) The Psychology Today Omnibook of Personal Development,
William Morrow, NY, 1977.
A collection of articles from Psychology Today.
Moberg, David O. (ed.) Spiritual Well-Being: Sociological Perspectives,
University Press of America, Washington, 1979.
Are religious people happier than non-religious? Does joining a religious movement help a person to attain stability or cause them to become neurotic? These and other equally intriguing questions are tackled in this stimulating collection of essays.
Ornstein, Robert E. The Psychology of Consciousness, Viking Press, NY, 1975.
This important study provides psychological insight into understanding altered states of consciousness.
Postman L., and Alport, G.W. The Psychology of Rumor, Russell & Russell, NY,
Because so many stories about new religion depend upon rumor this study helps one understand both the internal spokesmen and external critics of new religious movements.
Richardson, Herbert W. (ed.) New Religions and Mental Health: Understanding
the Issues, Edwin Mellen Press, NY, 1980.
A valuable collection of essays which discusses not only the brain-washing conversion controversy but also the steps taken by anti-cult groups to encourage governments to pass anti-conversion laws.
Sadler, William A. (ed.) Personality and Religion, SCM Press, London, 1970.
A useful collection of articles dealing with numerous aspects of the psychology of religion.
Sargent, William. Battle for the Mind, Pan Books, London, 1959.
This challenging study of evangelical conversion from St. Paul to Billy Graham argues that conversion is best understood as brain-washing. This is the book upon which the brain-washing theories of Snapping which is discussed in the next section, are based.
Solowerman and Horkheimer, N. (eds.,) The Authoritarian Personality, Harper &
Row, NY, 1950.
A classic study of Facism which has contemporary relevance in understanding both new religions and their critics.
Thoules, Robert H. An Introduction to the Psychology of Religion, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, 1971.
A useful introduction to an understudied subject.
Toch, Hans. The Social Psychology of Social Movement, Bobs-Merrill,
A valuable introduction to social psychology.
Tart, Charles T. (ed.) Transpersonal Psychologies, Routledge & Kegan Paul,
A collection of articles on alternate psychologies and consciousness.
von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. Robots, Men and Minds, George Braziller, NY, 1967.
This book contains a modern philosophical introduction to psychology which is very useful for obtaining a framework in which to study the psychology of religion.
Religious and Sociological Background to the Rse of New Religious Movements
Caplovitz, D. and Sherrow, F. The Religious Drop-Outs, Sage Publishing Co.,
Beverley Hills, CA, 1977.
A pioneering study in unbelief among college drop-outs which is written in an academic style.
Gallup (Jr.,) George and Poling, D. The Search for America's Faith, Abingdon
Press, Nashville, 1980.
A useful little book surveying the religious situation in America by the Gallup organization.
Hale, Russell J. The Un-Churched: Who are They and Why do They Stay Away?
Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1977.
A study of unbelief which deserves attention.
Hoge, D.R. and Roozen, D.A. (eds.) The Un-Churched American: A Second Look,
Review of Religious Research, Supplement, Vol.21, no.4.
A valuable and scholarly discussion of unbelief in America which surveys sociological work as loss of faith.
Hoge, D.R. Converts, Drop-Outs, Returnees: A Study of Religious Change Among
Catholics, Pilgrim Press, NY, 1981.
A valuable study of conversion and loss of faith in one denomination.
Hoge, D.R. and Roozen, D.A. Understanding Church Growth and Decline,
1950-1978, Pilgrim Press, NY, 1979.
This book contains useful and varied essays dealing with church growth and decline in America.
Kelley, Dean M. Why Conservative Churches are Growing, Harper & Row, San
An intriguing discussion of the sociological church growth.
Marty, Martin. (ed.) A Nation of Behavers, University of Chicago Press,
This intriguing study of contemporary religion in America focuses on religious social behavior. In commenting on the new religions, Marty suggests that even if they don't prevail as major religious movements they will continue to offer an alternative to majority religion and in many ways affect traditional Jewish and Christian interpretations of faith.
MacIntyre, Alastair. Secularization and Moral Change, Oxford University
Press, London, 1976.
Professor McIntyre attempts to explain the difference between religiosity of Britain and the USA. He analyzes and rejects the secularization argument put forward by many avant garde theologians in the 1960's. Suggesting instead that religion should be seen in terms of a complex relationship between social values and the like situation of believers.
Wilson, Bryan. (ed.) The Social Impact of New Religious Movements, Rose of
Sharon Press, NY, 1981.
Although published by the Unification Church, this selection of essays, edited by a distinguished sociologist, presents an intriguing introduction to the sociology of new religious movements.
Wallis, Roy. Sectarianism, Peter Owens, Ltd., London, 1975.
In this work Wallis offers an analysis of religious sects from a sociological perspective.
Rise of New Religions
Bridges, Hal. American Mysticism: From William James to Zen, C.S.A. Press,
A useful discussion of American mysticism in the 20th century.
Cox, Harvey. Turning East, Simon and Schuster, NY, 1977.
A discussion of new religious movements by a well known "death of God" theologian.
Ellwood, Robert, S. Alternative Altars, University of Chicago Press, Chicago,
A valuable interpretative account of new religious movements since the beginning of the 19th century.
Leech, Kenneth. Youthquake, Sheldon Press, London, 1973.
A valuable study of the religious counter-culture in Britain in the early 1970's.
Pope (Jr.), Harrison. The Road East: America's New Discovery of Eastern
Wisdom, Beacon Press, Boston, 1974.
A useful interpretive essay.
Roberts, Keith Allan. Religion and the Counter Culture Phenomena, unpublished
Ph.D. dissertation, Boston University, 1976.
A discussion of the relationship between religion and the counter culture.
Stoner, C. and Parke, J.A. All God's Children, Chilton Book Co., Radnor,
A popular journalistic excursion into the world of new religious movements.
Wilson, Bryan. Contemporary Transformations of Religion, Oxford University
Press, London, 1976.
A discussion of new religious movements which tends to dismiss them in a sophisticated way.
Wuthnow, Robert. The Consciousness Reformation, University of California
Press, Berkeley, 1976.
In this study which arose out of detailed research in the Bay area of San Francisco, Wuthnow clearly charts the social and psychological factors leading to the rise of new religious movements in American society. This is essential reading for anyone attempting to understand the impact of the new religious movements today.
Wuthnow, Robert. Experimentation in American Religion: The New Mysticisms and
their Implication for the Church, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1978.
This exceptionally valuable study arose after detailed research in the Bay area of San Francisco. It is invaluable for anyone attempting to understand the new religious movements.
Zaehner, R.C. Drugs, Mysticism and Make Believe, William Collins & Sons,
A dismissive discussion of new religious movements by a renowned Roman Catholic scholar.
INTRODUCTORY WORKS ON COMPARATIVE RELIGION
In addition to knowing something about world religions, a familiarity with the history of religion and its comparative study is useful for anyone attempting to understand new religions. The following works will introduce the reader to these topics.
Eliade, Mircea, and Kitagawa, Joseph N. (eds.) The History of Religions,
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1973.
The study of religion is plagued with complicated methodological issues. In this study a number of major problems in understanding another religion are explored.
Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1923.
A classic study of religious experience which is essential reading for anyone wishing to go beyond more than a cursory introduction to the subject.
Sharpe, Eric J. Comparative Religion: A History, London, Duckworth, 1975.
One way of approaching the study of comparative religion is to survey its history. Here the reader is introduced to the major intellectual traditions and formative influences on the history of religion in a readable and stimulating way.
Weber, Max. The Sociology of Religion
This classic work approaches the comparative study of religion from the sociological perspective. In it the reader will find many of the key terms used by later sociologists and historians in attempting to classify religious movements.
Brandon, S.G.F. A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, New York, Charles
This is a very useful book. For anyone unfamiliar with religious terminology it is an excellent place to begin a study of religion.
Jack, Alex. (ed.) The New Age Dictionary, Brookline, M.A., Kanthaka Press,
A useful book which introduces the reader to the language of new age groups.
Melton, Gordon J. The Encyclopedia of American Religions, Wilmington, N.C.,
McGrath Publishing Co., 1978.
This two volume work attempts to offer a complete listing of religious bodies in the United States arranging them by type and giving a brief outline of each. Very useful for basic research.
Piepkorn, Carl. Profiles in Belief: Religious Bodies in the U.S. and Canada,
San Francisco, Harper & Row, 1977.
A multi-volume work which describes hundreds of religious groups.
Popenoe, Cris. Inner Development, Washington, Yes! Inc., 1979.
An exceptionally useful 600 page directory which discusses numerous religious groups through providing an excellent annotated bibliography to each of them.
Walker, Benjamin. Hindu World, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1968.
A two volume work which introduces the reader to the Hindu world. Topics covered include Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the minor religions of India as well as particular myths and doctrines of these religions.
Zaehner, R.C. The Concise Encyclopedia of Living Faith, London, Hutchinson,
Written by a number of eminent scholars, this is one of the most useful and concise sources of information about the world's living religious traditions. It is highly recommended.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON WORLD RELIGIONS
New religious movements cannot be understood in isolation from world religions. The following works are suggested as basic introductions to the major world religions.
Basham, A.L. The Wonder that was India, London, Sedgwick & Jackson, 1967.
The religions of India cannot be understood in isolation from Indian history and the development of Indian culture. This work does just that in a very readable way.
Conze, Edward. Buddhism, Oxford, Bruno Cassirer, 1957.
This is a superb introduction to Buddhism.
Cragg, Kenneth. The House of Islam, Belmont, CA., Dickenson Publishing Co.,
A brief introduction to Islam by an outstanding western scholar.
Earhart, Byron, H. Japanese Religions: Unity and Diversity, Encino, CA.,
Dickenson Publishing Co., 1974.
Japanese religious thought has influenced new religions largely as a result of the popularity of Zen Buddhism. However, a number of other Japanese religious traditions are gradually gaining popularity in the west. The study of Japanese religions is also valuable because of the growth of new religions in Japan in the years following World War II.
Eliade, Mircea. Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, London, Routledge & Kegan
Anyone who wishes to understand religions of Indian origin needs to read this standard study of practice and philosophy of yoga.
Hopkins, Thomas J. The Hindu Religious Tradition, Encino, CA, Dickenson
Publishing Co., 1971.
A short but highly readable, useful book which unravels the complexity of the Hindu religious tradition in a remarkably clear way. Its great strength is its recognition of the complexity of Hinduism.
Neusner, Jacob. The Way of Torah, North Scituate, MA., Duxbury Press, 1979.
This is a valuable introduction to Judaism by one of its leading, if somewhat controversial, North American advocates.
Smith, Howard D. Chinese Religions, London, Weidenseld and Nicolson, 1968.
Although the influence of Chinese religious thought on the new religious movements is not as obvious as that of Indian religions, it is
nevertheless important for a number of neo-Christian groups such as the Unification Church and The Local Church. This book gives a valuable introduction to a neglected aspect of religious though which has influenced the growth of new religious groups in the west.
SYMPOSIA ON THE NEW RELIGIONS
Biezais, Haralds. (ed.) New Religions, Stockholm, Alnquist and Wiksell
Most works on new religious movements are written by American scholars about North America. Here we are presented with the views of European scholars who discuss the rise of new religious movements throughout the world. This is a valuable work which avoids parochialism and sees the rise of new religious movements in a global perspective.
Glock, Charles Y. and Bellah, Robert N. (eds.) The New Religious
Consciousness, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA., 1976.
A stimulating collection of articles by members of a University of California research group. It contains a number of specific case studies and attempts to relate the movements under discussion to specific religious traditions.
Needleman, Jacob and George Baker, (eds.) Understanding the New Religions,
New York, Seabury Press, 1978.
A very useful volume of essays presented at the national conference for the study of new religious movements in America, Berkeley, 1977. An attempt is made to place the new religious movements in the context of American history and to interpret their significance for both American culture and the academic study of religion.
Robbins, Thomas and Anthony, Dick. (eds.) In Gods We Trust, New Brunswick,
Transaction Books, 1981.
Since their appearance in the late 1960's the new religious movements have become increasingly controversial. In addition to discussing the new religious movements as religions, this work introduces the reader to the controversy which surrounds many of them politically. It contains essays discussing such topics as "brainwashing and deprogramming" and is an excellent introduction for anyone who is interested in understanding the legal and political controversies surrounding the new religions.
Zaretsky, Irving I. and Leone, Mark, P. (eds.) Religious Movements in
Contemporary America, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1974.
A monumental study of new religious movements arising out of the American counter-culture. The book has weaknesses, like its failure to discuss transcendental meditation, but is a must for anyone approaching the study of contemporary religious movements.