In October 1994, fifty-three members of the Order of the Solar Temple in Switzerland and Québec were murdered or committed suicide. This incident and two later group suicides in subsequent years played a pivotal role in inflaming the cult controversy in Europe, influencing the public to support harsher actions against non-traditional religions. Despite the importance of the Order of the Solar Temple, there are relatively few studies published in English. This book brings together the best scholarship on the Solar Temple including newly commissioned pieces from leading scholars, a selection of Solar Temple documents, and important previously published articles newly edited for inclusion within this book. This is the first book-length study of the Order of the Solar Temple to be published in English.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Templars for the age of Aquarius: the archedia clubs (1984-1991) and the international chivalric order of the solar tradition, Jean-FranÃ§ois Mayer; 'Ordeal by fire': the tragedy of the Solar Temple, Massimo Introvigne; Purity and danger in the Solar Temple, Susan J. Palmer; The mystical apocalypse of the Solar Temple, John R. Hall and Philip Schuyler; The dangers of enlightenment: apocalyptic hopes and anxieties in the Order of the Solar Temple, Jean-FranÃ§ois Mayer; Crises of charismatic authority and millenarian violence: the case of the Order of the Solar Temple, John Walliss; Sources of doctrine in the Solar Temple, George D. Chryssides; Death as initiation: Order of the Solar Temple and rituals of initiation, Henrik Bogdan; The Order du Temple Solaire and the quest for the absolute sun, Marc LaBelle; Sects, media and the end of the world, Roland J. Campiche; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
James R. Lewis is Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin, USA. He is a highly-published scholar of New Religions. He is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements (2004), and also Controversial New Religions (co-edited with Jesper A. Petersen). In addition to writing a dozen other anthologies on new religions, James Lewis is the author of a textbook and a major encyclopedia in this field of study. His monographs include Legitimating New Religions (2003). He is a professional reference book author; his encyclopedias have won American Library Association, New York Public Library Association, and Choice book awards.
’This book is useful not only for giving the reader a multi-faceted view of this ’enigma’, but it provides any researcher reading it with an extremely useful typology of neo-Templarism as a movement. It not only explains the possible reasons for the turn towards death on behalf of the leaders of the OST, but it illuminates the past and present of a wider movement of which we have certainly not heard the end.’ Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review ’This volume is useful to scholars of NRMs and to members of the public who are interested in non-partisan, sensible and accessible treatments of controversial subjects within the study of religion.’ Bulletin for the British Association for the Study of Religions