Alongside the older and more established religions, there are hundreds, indeed, thousands more, which have recently emerged. These "new religious movements" or NRMs-for lack of a better name-are not only numerous, they are also extremely varied and stem from a wide array of sources. They run the gamut from small to large, and all possess a tendency to constantly expand. And while their potential for good is considerable, more often than not it is their abuses that are noticed. Still, writing them off as "sects" is too easy, especially when they are as poorly understood as they often are. The A to Z of New Religious Movements is a major contribution to understanding these new and formative religions. While leaving any evaluation to the reader, it offers brief descriptions of well over a hundred NRMs in the dictionary section, along with information on the founders and leaders, and also their roots in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and other more traditional religions. The impact of modern philosophy and science are also weighed.
Since their roots often lay further back, the chronology starts in the 18th century and continues to the present, and the introduction attempts the arduous task of defining and categorizing the NRMs. The extensive bibliography provides further reading.
George D. Chryssides is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, England. He has acted as Consultant on New Religious Movements to the United Reformed Church in England, and served for several years as Chair of the Board for the Centre for the Study of New Religious Movements at Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham, England.
Part 1 Preface Part 2 Acknowledgments Part 3 Abbreviations and Acronyms Part 4 Chronology Part 5 Introduction Part 6 THE DICTIONARY Part 7 Glossary Part 8 Bibliography Part 9 Index Part 10 About the Author