This book, first published in 1990, brings together descriptive, comparative, and theoretical materials on cults and sects in Western culture, focusing on literature published since 1970. A historical section links the rise of the new movements to similar past phenomena in Western culture. Other sections examine the methodology of studying religious movements and the various theories which have been brought to explain them, current studies on traditional sects that are sometimes compared to the new religions, and many studies of individual contemporary cults.
1. Sources for the Social-Scientific Study of Cults, Sects, and New Religious Movements 2. The Historical Background 3. General, Theoretical, and Methodological Studies on Sects, Cults, and New Religious Movements 4. Contemporary Studies on Specific Sects, Cults, and New Religious Movements