Abstract and Keywords
One's sense of the level of impact made by New Religious Movements (NRMs) and New Spirituality Movements (NSMs) on contemporary thinking about and practice of religion and spirituality differs. Seen from the perspective of South Asia and parts of East Asia, it is clear that so called neo-Hindu movements and lay Buddhist movements have greatly influenced these regions. NRMs and NSMs have also impacted on the study and teaching of religion. This article discusses some of these issues. Limiting the discussion to the West, it traces the development of the emerging specialisation of New Religious Studies (NRS), which offers a multi-disciplinary approach to the phenomenon of New Religion and Spirituality. One of the scholarly merits of this discipline is that it provides space in research and teaching for topics which have hitherto been marginalised, the focus having been on the more dominant forms of religion and spirituality.
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