Over the past dozen years or so, an increasingly disproportionate percentage of new religions scholars have arisen in Nordic countries, which now teach at universities in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Baltic countries. Nordic New Religions, co-edited with Inga B. Tøllefsen, surveys this rich field of study in this area of the world, focusing on the scholarship being produced by scholars in this region of northern Europe.
The study of New Religious Movements (NRMs) is one of the fastest-growing areas of religious studies, and since the release of the first edition of The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements in 2003, the field has continued to expand and break new ground. In this all-new volume, James R. Lewis and Inga B. Tøllefsen bring together established and rising scholars to address an expanded range of topics, covering traditional religious studies topics such as "scripture," "charisma," and "ritual," while also applying new theoretical approaches to NRM topics. Other chapters cover understudied topics in the field, such as the developmental patterns of NRMs and subcultural considerations in the study of NRMs. The first part of this book examines NRMs from a social-scientific perspective, particularly that of sociology. In the second section, the primary factors that have put the study of NRMs on the map, controversy and conflict, are considered. The third section investigates common themes within the field of NRMs, while the fourth examines the approaches that religious studies researchers have taken to NRMs. As NRM Studies has grown, subfields such as Esotericism, New Age Studies, and neo-Pagan Studies have grown as distinct and individual areas of study, and the final section of the book investigates these emergent fields.
The Handbook of UFO Religions, edited by scholar of new religions Benjamin E. Zeller, offers the most expansive and detailed study of the persistent, popular, and global phenomenon of religious engagements with ideas about extraterrestrial life.
In terms of public opinion, new religious movements are considered controversial for a variety of reasons ranging from how they speak, dress, and eat, to the way they think and their sense of community. Their social organization often runs counter to popular expectations by experimenting withcommunal living (or strict individualism), alternative leadership roles (or flat network structures), unusual economic dispositions, and new political and ethical values. As a result the general public views new religions with a mixture of curiosity, amusement, and anxiety, sustained by lavish mediaemphasis on oddness and tragedy rather than familiarity and lived experience. This updated and revised second edition of Controversial New Religions offers a scholarly, dispassionate look at those groups that have generated the most attention, including some very well-known classical groups like The Family, Unification Church, Scientology, and Jim Jones' People's Temple; somerelative newcomers such as the Kabbalah Centre, the Order of the Solar Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, and the Falun Gong; and some interesting cases like contemporary Satanism, the Raelians, Black nationalism, and various Pagan groups. Written by established scholars as well as youngerexperts in the field, each essay combines an overview of the history and beliefs of each organization or movement with original and insightful analysis. By presenting decades of scholarly work on new religious movements in an accessible form, this book will be an invaluable resource for all thosewho seek a view of new religions that is deeper than what can be found in sensationalistic media stories.
This volume fills a lacuna in the academic assessment of new religions by investigating their cultural products (such as music, architecture, food et cetera). Contributions explore the manifold ways in which new religions have contributed to humanity’s creative output.
Contemporary alternative spirituality, as studied by sociologists, is usually seen as a recent phenomenon dating from the 1960s and 1970s. However, when viewed from a longer-term perspective this form of religious expression is actually seen to reintroduce concepts that recur throughout Western cultural history. This book argues, therefore, that spirituality in the 21st Century actually shares many of the same characteristics as Classical, Mediaeval, Renaissance and Modern spiritualities. It is neither entirely new, nor is it clearly alternative to more established religions. The book is divided into two parts. The first sets out the context in which contemporary alternative spirituality has formed, charting its development as an academic term and a social phenomenon. The second part looks at how these two elements have developed in countries that are historically Catholic, focussing on specific examples in contemporary Italy: spiritualities based on the sacralisation of nature; those concerned with health and wellbeing; and those which are fascinated by mystery.Catholic majority countries are particularly interesting in this instance, as the Catholic Church has a unique cultural hegemony with which to compare alternative spiritual practices. It concludes that spirituality, if framed in a longer historical perspective, is a way of acting and seeing the world which was built, and continues to be built upon complex relations with various contradictory sources of authority, such as religion, magic thinking, secularism, rationalism, various spheres of lay culture. This is a bold take on the spirituality milieu and as such will be of great interest to scholars of Religious Studies working on the sociology of religion, contemporary spirituality and the rise of the "spiritual but not religious".
One of the fastest growing religious movements in the Western world, neo-shamanism embraces notions and techniques borrowed from various tribal peoples and adapted to the life of contemporary urban dwellers. Until the twenty-first century, the neo-shamanism found in northern Europe differed little from neo-shamanism elsewhere in the Western world. In the new millennium, a Sámi and Nordic version of neo-shamanism came into being, along with a new focus on the uniqueness of the arctic north, expressed through New Age courses and events. The Norwegian New Age scene is increasingly overrun with Sámi and Nordic shamans, symbols, and traditions. Contemporary Shamanisms in Norway examines the construction of this Sámi neo-shamanistic movement and argues that it fits into the broader ethno-political search for a Sami identity. Drawing on ten years of ethnographic research, Trude Fonneland highlights the values important to neo-shamans' self-development and their marketing of shamanistic products and services. She explores Sáami and Nordic neo-shamans' promotion of Arctic nature, their negotiations of gender in neo-shamanism, and their ritual inventions. Focusing on contemporary shamanism in Norway and Nordic contexts, Fonneland argues that the spiritual quest in Nordic countries has developed surprising and innovative forms of spirituality that call for a reevaluation of the relationship between religion and the secular world.
Indigenous religion(s) are afterlives of a particular sort, shaped by globalizing discourses on what counts as an indigenous religion on the one hand and the continued presence of local traditions on the other. Focusing on the Norwegian side of Sápmi since the 1970s, this book explores the reclaiming of ancestral pasts and notions of a specifically Sámi religion. It connects religion, identity- and nation building, and takes seriously the indigenous turn as well as geographical and generational distinctions. Focal themes include protective activism and case studies from the art and culture domain, both of which are considered vital to the making of indigenous afterlives in indigenous formats. This volume will be of great interest to scholars of Global Indigenous studies, Sámi cultural studies and politics, Ethnicity and emergence of new identities, Anthropology, Studies in religion and folklore studies.
Minority religions, not only New Religious Movements, are explored in this innovative book including the predicament of ancient religions such as Zoroastrianism, ‘old new’ religions such as Baha’i, and traditional religions that are minorities elsewhere. The book is divided into two parts: the gathering of data on religious minorities ("mapping"), and the ways in which governments and interest groups respond to them ("monitoring"). The international group examine which new religions exist in particular countries, what their uptake is, and how allegiance can be ascertained. They explore a range of issues faced by minority religions, encompassing official state recognition and registration, unequal treatment in comparison with a dominant religion, how changes in government can affect how they fare, the extent to which members are free to practise their faith, how they sometimes seek to influence politics, and how they can be affected by harassment and persecution. Bringing together debates concerning the social and political issues facing new religions in Europe and the Middle East, this collection extends its focus to Middle Eastern minority faiths, enabling exposition of spiritual movements such as the Gülen Movement, Paganism in Israel, and the Zoroastrians in Tehran.
Narrative Cultures and the Aesthetics of Religion studies narrativity as situated modes of engaging with reality in religious contexts across the globe, equally shaped by the immersive character of the stories told and the sensory qualities of their performances.