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Hardback 512 pp.
2 b/w halftones and 3 b/w line drawings, 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"



Publication date:
March 2009

Imprint: OUP US

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Edited by James R. Lewis

Scientology is arguably the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religions. The church of Scientology has been involved in battles over tax issues, a ten-year battle with the Food and Drug Administration regarding the Electro-meters used in the Church's counseling activities, and extended conflicts with the Australian and German governments. Negative publicity has not prevented the Church from experiencing remarkably steady growth. But despite its high public profile, recently enhanced by celebrity spokespersons like Tom Cruise, little has been published about the Church, its history, theology, and mission. In this book a group of well-known scholars of New Religious Movements offers an extensive and evenhanded overview and analysis of all of these aspects of Scientology, including the controversies to which it continues to give rise. Part I of the book gives a general introduction to the Church and discusses the problems associated with studying it. The essays in Part II represent sociological approaches to understanding the Church. Part III offers illuminating comparisons and contrasts with other religious systems. Part IV looks at the conflicts in which the Church has been, and continues to be, involved. In Part V, the subject is Scientology's overseas missions. Finally, Part VI examines some of the distinctive practices of the Church. This book will be the only comprehensive resource for scholars, students, and others interested in this controversial and little-understood religious movement.

Readership : This book will be the only comprehensive resource for scholars, students, and others interested in this controversial and little-understood religious movement.

Introductory Essays
J. Gordon Melton: i Birth of a Religion
William Sims Bainbridge: ii The Cultural Context of Scientology
Douglas E. Cowan: iii Researching Scientology: Perceptions, Premises, Promises, and Problematics
iv Theoretical and Quantitative Approaches
David G. Bromley: v Making Sense of Scientology: Prophetic, Contractual Religion
Dorthe Refslund Christensen: vi Scientology & Self Narrativity: Theology and Soteriology as Resource and Strategy
James R. Lewis: vii The Growth of Scientology and the Stark Model of Religious "Success"
Community and Practices
Peter B. Andersen and Rie Wellendorf: i Community in Scientology and Among Scientologists
Regis Dericquebourg: ii How Should We Regard the Religious Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology?
Gail M. Harley and John Kieffer: iii The Development and Reality of Auditing
Sources and Comparative Approaches
Frank Flinn: i Scientology as Technological Buddhism
Andreas Gruenschloss: ii Scientology: A "New Age" Religion?
Gerald Willms: iii Scientology: "Modern Religion" or "Religion of Modernity"?
Anson Shupe: i The Nature of the New Religious Movements - Anticult "Culture War" in Microcosm: The Church of Scientology versus the Cult Awareness Network
James T. Richardson: ii Scientology in Court: A Look at Some Major Cases from Various Nations
Susan J. Palmer: iii The Church of Scientology in France: A History of Legal and Activist Responses to the Forces of Anti-cultism and the Government - sponsored "War on sectes"
International Missions
Bernadette Rigal-Cellard: i SMI: Scientology International Missions, An Immutable Model of Technological Missionary Activity
Henrik Bogdan: ii Scientology in Sweden
Adam Possamai and Alphia Possamai-Inesedy: iii Scientology Down Under
Dimensions of Scientology
Mikael Rothstein: i "His name was Xenu. He used renegades...": Aspects of Scientology's Founding Myth
Carole M. Cusack: ii Celebrity, the Popular Media and Scientology: Making Familiar the Unfamiliar
Dorthe Refslund Christensen: iii Sources for the study of Scientology: Presentations and Reflections
Pastoral Care and September 11: Scientology's Non-Traditional Religious Contribution, Carole M. Cusack and Justine Digance L. Ron Hubbard, Kenneth Goff, and the <"Brain-Washing Manual>" of 1955, Massimo Introvigne: i Pastoral Care and September 11: Scientology's Non-Traditional Religious Contribution

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James R. Lewis is an extensively-published scholar of new religious movements. He currently teaches in the University of Wisconsin system. His reference books have won New York Public Library, American Library Association, and Choice book awards. He has been interviewed by the LA Times, the NY Times, NPR, the BBC, and Meet the Press.

Making Sense - Margot Northey and Joan McKibbin
Teaching New Religious Movements - David G. Bromley
The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements - Edited by James R. Lewis
Controversial New Religions - Edited by James R. Lewis and Jesper Aagaard Petersen

Special Features

  • This book is the only comprehensive critical source about Scientology.