MYSTICS AND MESSIAHS
MYSTICS AND MESSIAHS  -     By: Philip Jenkins
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Oxford University Press / 2001 / Paperback
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MYSTICS AND MESSIAHS

Oxford University Press / 2001 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.12 (inches)
ISBN: 0195145968
ISBN-13: 9780195145960

Publisher's Description

In Mystics and Messiahs--the first full account of cults and anti-cult scares in American history--Philip Jenkins shows that, contrary to popular belief, cults were by no means an invention of the 1960s. In fact, most of the frightening images and stereotypes surrounding fringe religious movements are traceable to the mid-nineteenth century when Mormons, Freemasons, and even Catholics were denounced for supposed ritualistic violence, fraud, and sexual depravity. But America has also been the home of an often hysterical anti-cult backlash. Jenkins offers an insightful new analysis of why cults arouse such fear and hatred both in the secular world and in mainstream churches, many of which were themselves originally regarded as cults. He argues that an accurate historical perspective is urgently needed if we are to avoid the kind of catastrophic confrontation that occurred in Waco or the ruinous prosecution of imagined Satanic cults that swept the country in the 1980s.

Without ignoring genuine instances of aberrant behavior, Mystics and Messiahs goes beyond the vast edifice of myth, distortion, and hype to reveal the true characteristics of religious fringe movements and why they inspire such fierce antagonism.

Author Bio


Philip Jenkins, one of the world's leading religion scholars joined Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion as Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion.

Editorial Reviews


"For an understanding of cults in America, this is a vital guide ... Rich in anecdotes, this sober and instructive book succeeds in being entertaining as well." --Jeff Guinn, The Wall Street Journal


"Jenkins...possesses the virtue of being able to perceive new and unusual religious sects on their own terms, not through the frequently distorted mirror in which they have been viewed in popular writings for at least a century." --Washington Post Book World


"A valuable tool....A fine resource and starting point for further exploration of a fascinating element of national life."--ForeWord


"A superb historical primer....Loaded with intriguing sketches of dozens of cults and distinguished by Jenkins' healthily nonjudgmental attitude."--Booklist


"Offers sweeping cultural breadth and fresh insights into the role of new religions."--Publishers Weekly


"A scholarly and balanced book on this controversial and explosive topic....Mystics and Messiahs is a much needed...contribution to a topic that has for too long been the subject of public hysteria and distortion. Highly Recommended."--Multicultural Review


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