The Encyclopedic Sourcebook of New Age Religions

Front Cover
James R. Lewis
Prometheus Books, Aug 30, 2004 - Reference - 682 pages
In the late 1980s, the New Age movement became the focus of both media attention and widespread ridicule as some of the more outlandish aspects of the movement, such as channeling and the use of crystals for healing, briefly piqued the public's curiosity. While the movement was at its height, scholars of religion generally sneered at what was perceived to be a daffy, shallow craze, and ignored it as a subject of serious study. Professor James R. Lewis was among the first to examine this growing religious phenomenon scientifically. In previous books, he has investigated the New Age as the most visible manifestation of a significant spiritual subculture, the roots of which reach back to Theosophy, Spiritualism, and New Thought. The present collection pursues this theme, bringing together some of the best recent scholarship on new religions. Since the height of its popular influence the New Age has declined in strength but has given rise to a plethora of new denominations all shaped by New Age ideas and spirituality. Reflecting the emergence of this new denominational structure, the core chapters of this book focus on specific groups. Other chapters examine the movement's historical roots. A unique feature of Dr. Lewis's work is his inclusion of extensive selections from New Age literature, thus allowing readers to experience firsthand the unusual perspectives of the various groups. This is a fascinating examination of a significant and persistent religious and social phenomenon.
 

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Contents

CONTENTS
11
Historical Influences
17
An Overview
25
Rudolf Steiner Esoteric Christianity and the New Age Movement
50
Paradigms of New Thought Promote the New
63
New Age Groups and Religions
81
Findhorn in the 1990s
94
Crazy Wisdom and Entrepreneurialism
115
New Age Commodification and Appropriation of Spirituality
369
A Sociological Assessment
383
Contradictions of the New
409
PART II
439
The Theosophical Mahatmas
455
Christianized Theosophy
487
Christ and the Coming New
502
Lesson
524

A Meeting of East and West in a New Age Community
134
A Rational Choice Theory of Channeling
174
A Magical Community in Italy
192
British Buddhism and the New
206
The Success of A Course in Miracles in the World
222
The Aquarian Foundation
243
The I AM Activity
271
Christianity and the New
305
Christ Consciousness and the Cosmic Christ
318
Spiritual Commodification and Sociological Issues
339
The Asian Influence
537
Smokey the Bear Sutra
557
Authors Introduction from The Seth Material
580
A Strange Mix
590
The Hundreth Monkey Revisited
604
How the Journey Begins
622
Damanhur
635
Index
669
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

James R. Lewis (Stevens Point, WI), a world-recognized authority on nontraditional religions, teaches religious studies at the University of Wisconsin, and is the author or editor of over 20 books, including Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy and Doomsday Prophecies: A Complete Guide to the End of the World.

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