'Cult Wars' in Historical Perspective provides a broad characterization of the shifting religious contours over the past several decades. Offering an assessment of several important topics in the study of new religions, this book explores developments in well-known groups such as the Unification movement, The Family International (Children of God), the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and the Church of Scientology. Bringing together both insiders and outsiders from various academic disciplines and personal perspectives, this book takes account of the ways in which the cult question is defined and addressed in different countries. It offers a vivid depiction of how the cult wars or cult controversies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries first took shape; the transformation of deeply entrenched positions on cults and sects as at least some members of new groups, cult watchers,
and academics entered into serious and sustained conversations about topics of mutual concern; the shifting foci and concerns of the general public, law enforcement and the courts, and academics in various countries; and the complex histories of individual groups in which many dramatic transformations have occurred despite their comparatively short life spans.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: "Cult Wars" in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries Eugene V. Gallagher Part One: Watching and Studying New Religious Movements 2. From Cult Wars to Constructive Cooperation – Well, Sometimes Eileen Barker 3. The History of CESNUR Massimo Introvigne 4. Are the Cult Wars Over? And If So, Who Won? Timothy Miller 5. From Deviance to Devotion: The Evolution of NRM Studies George D. Chryssides 6. Writing and Researching on New Religious Movements: A View from the American Academy Benjamin E. Zeller 7. The Law, the Courts, Religious Freedom, and the Evolving Pattern of Jurisprudence in Western Societies James T. Richardson 8. Is an Anti-cult Movement Emerging in Croatia? Dinka Marinović Jerolimov & Ankica Marinović Part Two: Developments in Specific Groups 9. From the Radical to the Routine: The History and the Future of the Family International (Children of God) Abi Freeman 10. From Radical Communalism to Virtual Community: The Family International Claire Borowik 11. The Unification Movement: Past and Future Richard Barlow 12. ISKCON: From its Origins in the West to the Present Anuttama dasa 13. Terrill Park, From the Church of Scientology to the Freezone Terrill Park 14. Scientology: From Controversy to Global Expansion and Recognition Eric Roux
Eugene V. Gallagher is the Rosemary Park Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. He is the author of Reading and Writing Scripture in New Religious Movements, The New Religious Movements Experience in America, co-author of Why Waco?: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America, co-editor of the five-volume Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in the United States and author of many essays on new religious movements and religions in the ancient Mediterranean world. He is a co-general editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of New and Alternative Religions and associate editor of Teaching Theology and Religion.