New Religious Movements:
Challenge and Response

Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell (editors)

256 pages, paperback

Routledge, 1999
ISBN: 0415200504

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Bryan Wilson and Jamie Cresswell (editors), New Religious Movements

New Religious Movements is one of the most comprehensive and wide-ranging studies of the impact of new religions on modern societies. The essays discuss the relevance of various religious movements such as Hare Krishna, Jesus People, and Wicca, and show the relationship between those religions and economics, law media, mental health, women and other traditional religious institutions. In particular these essays explore:

  • the importance and relevance of new religions
  • the interaction between new religions and the economy, the law, the media, mental health, traditional religion, and the role of women
  • case studies of new religions in Italy and Brazil
  • the development and influence of "anti-cult" movements in Germany, the United States, and Great Britain
  • the activities of the Hare Krishna movement, the Brahma Kumaris, the Unification Church, the Jesus Army, The Family, and Wicca

Each of the contributors to this collection is among the most respected and reputable experts in the field.


This book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the new religions and to our efforts of keeping up with current developments. To those interested in, and concerned about, the movements' impact on individuals and society at large, this volume is useful both as a text as well as a reference book.

John Saliba, University of Detroit

New religions are usually seen through the narrow lens of a specific geographic location's ethnographic presentation. This book breaks new ground to present the complex global reality of modern spirituality. It is essential reading for any one seriously interested in this growing field.

Irving Hexham, University of Calgary

New Religious Movements is extremely informative, providing a comprehensive overview of a wide range of issues. Few collections of this sort have the degree of coherence that this has.

Malcolm Hamilton, University of Reading


Bryan R. WilsonBryan R. Wilson is a Fellow Emeritus at the University of Oxford. For more than forty years, he has conducted research into minority religious movements in Britain and overseas (in the United States, Ghana, Kenya, Belgium and Japan, among other places). His work has involved reading the publications of these movements and, wherever possible, associating with their members in their meetings, services, and homes. It has also entailed sustained attention to, and critical appraisal of, the works of other scholars. His publications include The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism, Religion in Sociological Perspective, Magic and the Millennium: A Sociological Study of Religious Movements of Protest Among Tribal and Third-World Peoples, and A Time to Chant: The Soka Gakkai Buddhists in Britain.

Jamie Cresswell is the Director of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy European Centre.

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