Skip to main content
Michigan State University

Religions of the World: New Age

Last updated: 03-30-2009

New Age

Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements Main BP 603 .B57 2014

29 chapters by well-published international scholars present balanced interpretations and sources.  A research guide, rather than an encyclopedia or dictionary.  Deals with issues ranging from research methods to resources.  Has an A-Z list of major topics.  43 page bibliography.

Controversial New Religions Main BP 603 .C66 2014

"Scholarly, dispassionate look at those groups that have generated the most attention, including some very well-known classical groups like The Family, Unification Church, Scientology, and Jim Jones' People's Temple; some relative newcomers such as the Kabbalah Centre, the Order of the Solar Temple, Branch Davidians, Heaven's Gate, and the Falun Gong....  Each essay combines an overview of the history and beliefs of each organization or movement with original and insightful analysis."

Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements Main BL 80.3 .E539 2006

Historical Dictionary of New Age Movements. Main BP 605 .N48 Y675 2004
In the Scarecrow Press series of historical dictionaries of religion. These, and this one, contain a chronology, dictionary, and bibliography. Entries on topics, persons, concepts. For examples: Eastern Mysticism, Eddy, Mary Baker, and Feng-Shui. Bibliography is minimal and not annotated.

Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements. Main BP 603 .H36 2004
Lengthy chapters signed by scholars with extensive further reading references. Not the standard dictionary-type organization. Comprehensive introduction to new religions. Has four sections: 1) the role that modernization, science, and technology have played in contemporary new religions. 2) Social conflict, legal dimensions, violence, anti-cult movement, France, Satanism and ritual abuse, conversion and “brainwashing.” 3) Social and psychological dimensions, millennialism, mythic dimensions, women and children in NRMs. 4) Neo-pagans, UFO religions, esotericism in NRMs, alternative spiritualities and “New Age,” NRMs in East Asia, witches and wiccans.

New Religions a Guide, New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities. Main BP 603 .N492 2004
Signed entries. Covers new religions, sects, and alternative spiritualities with roots in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Indian religions, East Asian religions, indigenous and pagan traditions, Western Esoteric and New Age traditions, and modern western cultures. Color illustrations. Minimal bibliography; no further reading references. Within each of the faiths or movements listed here are a series of articles on NRMs that have emerged from that faith. Under Christianity, for example, find articles on Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unity, Rastafarianism. Under Judaism find Lubavitch movement. Under Islam find Bahai, Sufi, and Nation of Islam. Under western esotericism find Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Anthroposophy. Under modern western cultures find Scientology and Heaven’s Gate. These are just the more recognizable ones.

Dictionary of Atheism, Skepticism and Humanism  Main BL 2705 .C66 2006

Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism Main GN 475.8 .H27 2016

Covers both historical and contemporary Shamanism.  Shamanism is not an established church or an international organization, has no holy book or cross-cultural beliefs, and has been suppressed through the centuries by more evangelistic religions.  Despite this, it is culturally vibrant among people marginalized by colonialism and modernity.  Its practices have been both mis and re-interpreted.  Its practices vary widely.  Not a New Age Movement, but alternative, which is why the book is in this section.  Dictionary approach with many biographical articles.  Also topical articles.  Large bibliography.

Religious Movements Homepage

A goal of this web site is to promote religious tolerance and appreciation of the positive benefits of pluralism and religious diversity. Site's original author was Jeffrey K. Hadden, now emeritus professor of sociology, University of Virginia, whose research interest was in new religious cults and movements. This site provides information on and links to religious cults and movements and controversies about them. Includes bibliographies.

Michigan State University