1st Edition

New Religions in Global Perspective
Religious Change in the Modern World

ISBN 9780415257480
Published January 13, 2006 by Routledge
412 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Peter B. Clarke’s in-depth account explores the innovative character of new religious movements and new forms of spirituality from a global vantage point. Ranging from North America and Europe to Japan, Latin America, South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, it is the perfect introduction to NRMs such as Falun Gong, Aum Shirikyo, the Brahma Kumaris, the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood, Sufism, the Engaged Buddhist and Engaged Hindi movements, Messianic Judaism and Rastafarianism.

Charting the cultural significance and global impact of NRMs, he discusses the ways in which various religious traditions are shaping, rather than displacing, each other’s understanding of notions such as transcendence and faith, good and evil, of the meaning, purpose and function of religion, and of religious belonging. He then examines the responses of governments, churches, the media and general public to new religious movements, as well as the reaction to older, increasingly influential religions, such as Buddhism and Islam, in new geographical and cultural contexts. Taking into account the degree of continuity between old and new religions, each chapter contains not only an account of the rise of the NRMs and new forms of spirituality in a particular region, but also an overview of change in the regions’ mainstream religions.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Global Perspective, New Age, and Society’s Response  1. New Religious Movements: A Global Perspective  2. The New Age Movement (NAM): alternative or mainstream?  3. Accounting for Hostility to New Religious Movements  Part 2: New Religions in the West  4. New Religious Movements in Europe  5. New Religious Movements in North America  6. New Religious Movements in Australia, New Zealand and Melanesia (New Guinea)  Part 3: The New Religions of the Middle-East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean  7. New Islamic Movements in North Africa and the Middle-East  8. New Religious Movements in Africa South of the Sahara  9. New Religious Movements in South and Central America and the Carribean  Part 4: New Religions of South, Southeast and East Asia  10. New Religious Movements in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka)  11. NRMs in South East Asia (Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia)  12. East Asia (1): Japanese New Religious Movements  13. East Asia (2): New Religious Movements in Japan, Taiwan and Korea  Part 5: Conclusions  14. Conclusion: The Uncertain Impact of Old and New Religions  Select Bibliography  Index

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Peter B. Clarke is Professor Emeritus of the History and Sociology of Religion at King's College, University of London, and a professorial member of Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford. Among his publications are (with Peter Byrne) Religion Defined and Explained (1993) and Japanese New Religions In Global Perspective (ed) (2000). He is the founding editor and present co-editor of the Journal of Contemporary Religion.


'Peter Clarke provides us with an excellent contemporary theoretical account of the field and a comprehensive source of information on a plethora of religious groups... I strongly recommend it.' - Adam Possamai, University of Western Sydney, Australia

'New Religions in Global Perspective is one of the best books on New Religious Movements (NRMs) since the beginning of the 21st century...Peter Clarke provides us with an excellent contemporary theoretical account of the field and a comprehensive source of information on a plethora of religious groups, and for this reason, I strongly recommend it. This book would be excellent as a textbook on NRMs for undergraduate and postgraduate students. For experts in the field, it offers a clear light on the most current debates in the field and covers so much across the globe, that any scholar wukk certainly find room to learn more.' -Adam Possamai, University of Western Sydney

'Creemos que la presente obra, enciclopédica en su formato, con buena bibliografía anglosajona, puede ser de ayuda para destinarios muy diversos; estudiosos de las religiones actuales, políticos, pastores y sociólogos; útil, por su sistemización y contenido, para estudiantes universitarios que buscan conocer el momento actual del espectro religioso-espiritual del mundo.' Bibliographia Missionaria