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date: 11 April 2021

(p. ix) Contributors

(p. ix) Contributors

Kaarina Aitamurto received her doctoral degree from the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation analyzed Russian contemporary Paganism and nationalism. In her postdoctoral studies, she focuses on Muslim minorities in ethnically Russian areas. Aitamurto holds a position of a postdoctoral researcher at the Aleksanteri Institute and is a member of the Finnish Center of Excellence in Russian Studies—Choices of Russian Modernization, funded by the Academy of Finland. She is the editor of the book Modern Pagan and Native Faiths in Central and Eastern Europe.

Henrik Bogdan is Professor in History of Religions at the University of Gothenburg. His main areas of research are Western Esotericism, New Religious Movements, and Freemasonry. He is the author of Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation (SUNY Press, 2007) and co-editor of Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism (Oxford University Press, 2012); Occultism in a Global Perspective (Acumen, 2013); Sexuality and New Religious Movements (Palgrave, 2014); and The Handbook on Freemasonry (Brill, 2014). Bogdan is Associate Editor of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, book review editor of Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism, co-editor of the Palgrave Studies in New and Alternative Religions, and editor of Oxford Studies in Western Esotericism.

David G. Bromley is Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology in the School of World Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has written or edited over a dozen books on religious movements. Books published since 2000 include Cults and New Religions, with Douglas Cowan (Blackwell/Wiley, 2008); Teaching New Religious Movements (Oxford University Press, 2007); Defining Religion: Critical Approaches to Drawing Boundaries Between Sacred and Secular, with Arthur Greil (Elsevier Science/JAI Press 2003); and Cults, Religion and Violence, with J. Gordon Melton (Cambridge University Press 2001). Dr. Bromley is former president of the Association for the Study of Religion; founding editor of the ASR’s annual series, Religion and the Social Order; and former editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is currently Director of the World Religions and Spirituality Project.

George D. Chryssides studied philosophy and theology at the University of Glasgow and completed his D.Phil. in the philosophy of religion at the University of Oxford in 1974. He has taught at several British universities and was Head of Religious Studies at the University of Wolverhampton from 2001 to 2008. He is currently Visiting Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies at York St. John University. Recent books (p. x) include Historical Dictionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2008), Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements (2nd ed., 2012), Christians in the 21st Century (with Margaret Z. Wilkins, 2012), The Study of Religion (with Ron A. Geaves, 2nd ed., 2013), The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements (with Benjamin E. Zeller, 2014), and Jehovah’s Witnesses: Continuity and Change (2016).

Douglas E. Cowan is Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies at Renison University College in Waterloo, Canada. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and essays, including Sacred Terror: Religion and Horror on the Silver Screen and Sacred Space: The Quest for Transcendence in Science Fiction Film and Television (both by Baylor University Press). He is also the co-author (with David G. Bromley) of Cults and New Religious Movements, one of the most popular textbooks on the subject. When not writing, he practices Shorin-ryu Karate and goes for long rides on his motorcycle.

Sean E. Currie is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida in Tampa. His general research areas are religion and social movements, with particular interests in New Religious Movements, processes of affiliation and disaffiliation, political and organizational dynamics, identity and community, and legitimation strategies. His dissertation, “Disaffiliation from Sectarian New Religions: A Qualitative Study of Former Members of the Church of Scientology and the Watch Tower Society,” examines how and why people leave totalist new religious organizations, drawing upon in-depth interviews with former members in the Central and South Florida regions. His post-Ph.D. plans are to teach and do research at the university level.

Carole M. Cusack is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Sydney. She trained as a medievalist and her PhD was published as Conversion Among the Germanic Peoples (Cassell, 1998). Since the 1990s she has taught and researched in contemporary religious trends, including pilgrimage and tourism, new religious movements, and religion and popular culture. She is the author of Invented Religions: Imagination, Fiction and Faith (Ashgate, 2010), The Sacred Tree: Ancient and Medieval Manifestations (Cambridge Scholars, 2011) and Anime, Religion and Spirituality: Profane and Sacred Worlds in Contemporary Japan (with Katharine Buljan, Equinox, 2015). She has published widely in edited volumes and scholarly journals, and is the editor (with Christopher Hartney) of Religion and Retributive Logic: Essays in Honour of Garry W. Trompf (Brill, 2010) and (with Alex Norman) of Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (Brill, 2012). She is Editor (with Rachelle Scott, University of Tennessee Knoxville) of Fieldwork in Religion.

Ellen Dobrowolski is currently a graduate student at UiT–Norway’s Arctic University in Tromsø, Norway. She is the author of “Law Enforcement Approaches to Religion and Terrorism,” forthcoming in the Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism, and “The Prophet of the New World: Religious Insanity and the New Religion of Louis Riel,” forthcoming in the Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review.

Asbjørn Dyrendal is Professor in History of Religion at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. His research interests revolve around (p. xi) contemporary religion in society, particularly Satanism, popular occulture, and conspiracy culture. He is also co-editor of the International Journal for the Study of New Religions and editor of the Norwegian skeptics’ journal, Skepsis.

Trude Fonneland is currently professor in the Department of Culture studies at Tromsø Museum, the University of Tromsø, the Artic University of Norway. Her research interests revolve around contemporary religion in society, particularly Sami shamanism, tourism, and popular culture. Recent publications include Nordic Neoshamanisms (2015) (edited with Siv Ellen Kraft and James R. Lewis), “Approval of the Shamanistic Association: A Local Norwegian Construct with Trans-Local Dynamics” in Nordic New Religions (Inga B. Tøllefsen and James R. Lewis); “Spiritual Entrepreneurship in the High North: The Case of Polmakmoen Guesthouse and the Pilgrimage ‘the Seven Coffee Stops’ ” (International Journal for the Study of New Religions 2014); and “Spiritual Entrepreneurship: Tourism, Spirituality and Politics” (Temenos 2012).

Liselotte Frisk has been Professor of Religious Studies at Högskolan Dalarna since 2006. She has written several books about New Religious Movements and the New Age and conducted several research projects in the same area of study. She is currently researching children in minority religions together with Peter Åkerbäck. Frisk is also chairperson of Finyar (the Nordic network for research on new religiosity) and co-edits Aura (The Nordic Journal for the study of new religiosity).

Eugene V. Gallagher is the Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies at Connecticut College. He has published many articles and books about New Religious Movements and religions in the ancient Mediterranean world. He is the author of Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (with James D. Tabor), The New Religious Experience in America, and Reading and Writing Scripture in New Religious Movements: New Bibles and New Revelations. He is co-General Editor of Nova Religio: The Journal of Emergent and Alternative Religions and Associate Editor of Teaching Theology and Religion.

Ingvild Sælid Gilhus is Professor of Religion at the University of Bergen, Norway. She was Vice-President of the International Association for the History of Religions (until 2015). Gilhus works in the areas of religion in late antiquity and New Religious Movements. Her primary publications include Laughing Gods, Weeping Virgins: Laughter in the History of Religions (1997) and Animals, Gods and Humans: Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Ideas (2006). She is book review editor of Numen and is an editorial board member of Temenos.

Megan Goodwin is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Creative and Innovative Pedagogy in the Humanities and a Lecturer in Religious Studies at Bates College. She completed her Ph.D. in Religion and American Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. Her work focuses on gender and sexuality in contemporary American minority religions.

(p. xii) Olav Hammer, Professor of the Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark, has published extensively in English and Swedish on the New Age, new religions, and religious innovation from the nineteenth century to the present. Recent volumes include the Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (2012, edited with Mikael Rothstein). He has also since 2009 been executive editor of the journal Numen.

Cimminnee Holt is a lecturer and doctoral candidate in Religious Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. Her areas of interest are Western Esotericism, New Religious Movements, religion and popular culture, material culture, and ritual studies, publishing on topics related to magic, witchcraft, and Satanism. She is currently writing her dissertation on the Church of Satan.

Siv Ellen Kraft is professor of the History of Religions, University of Tromsø, Norway. Kraft has written extensively on Theosophy, New Age spiritualities, and religious revival among the Sami, including a number of articles, four edited books, and four monographs. Recent books include Religion i pressen (with Cora Alexa Døving, Universitetsforlaget 2013) and Hva er nyreligiøsitet (Universitetsforlaget 2011).

James R. Lewis is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø, Norway. He currently co-edits three book series and is the general editor for the Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review. Recent publications include (with Henrik Bogdan) Sexuality and New Religious Movements (2014), (with Carole Cusack) Sacred Suicide (2014), (with Bengt-Ove Andressen) Textbook Gods (2014), Sects & Stats: Overturning the Conventional Wisdom about Cult Members (2014), (with Siv Ellen Kraft and Trude Fonneland) Nordic Neoshamanisms (2015), and (with Inga B. Tøllefsen) The Brill Handbook of Nordic New Religions (2015).

Margrethe Løøv is a Ph.D. Fellow at the Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion at the University of Bergen. She holds an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Oslo and has previously studied in Hyderabad, Heidelberg, and Montpellier. Her research interests include the New Age Movement and New Religious Movements in general, quantitative approaches in the study of religion, the history of missions, and the adaptation of Hindu/Buddhist meditation in the West.

Jean-François Mayer received his doctorate in history from the University of Lyon in 1984. From 1987 to 1990 he was in charge of a research project of the Swiss National Science Foundation on alternative religious groups in Switzerland. Between 1991 and 1998 he worked as an analyst in international and security affairs for the Swiss Federal Government. Since 1999 he has worked as a consultant and advisor to various academic projects. Between 1999 and 2007 he taught at the University of Fribourg as a lecturer in religious studies. In 2007 he founded the Religioscope Institute and is the editor of the website His personal webpage is

Jessica Moberg is a postdoctoral researcher at Gothenburg University. Her main interests are contemporary religiosity, and aspects such as narratives and rites. Her doctorate focused on contemporary charismatic Christianity in Stockholm, with a special (p. xiii) emphasis on religious practice on the level of individual believers. Moberg is also interested in New Religious Movements, particularly the field of Swedish UFO religiosity.

Rebecca Moore, Professor Emerita of Religious Studies at San Diego State University, has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University (1996). Her research specialty is New Religious Movements, where she has concentrated on investigating Peoples Temple and the mass murders-suicides at Jonestown, Guyana, that occurred in November 1978. Research results can be seen on the website, the largest and most comprehensive digital archive of any new religion. Dr. Moore’s most recent book on the subject is Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple (Praeger 2009).

Sanja Nilsson is a Ph.D. student of religious studies at Dalarna University. She holds a Master of Sociology degree from Lund University and has studied new religions at the University of Dalarna, where she also teaches religious studies at the undergraduate level.

Erik A. W. Östling is an academic administrator at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies at Stockholm University. There he has been studying the history of religions, social anthropology, and philosophy. Recent publications include “ ‘Those who came from the sky’: Ancient Astronauts and Creationism in the Raëlian Religion” in Controversial New Religions (2nd ed., 2014).

Christopher Partridge is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. His research and writing focuses on alternative spiritual currents, countercultures, and popular music. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including Mortality and Music: Popular Music and the Awareness of Death (2015), The Lyre of Orpheus: Popular Music, the Sacred, and the Profane (2014), and The Re-Enchantment of the West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture and Occulture, 2 vols. (2004, 2005). He has also edited several books, including The Occult World (2015), Encyclopaedia of New Religions (2004), and UFO Religions (2003).

Jesper Aagaard Petersen, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Programme for Teacher Education, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim. He has published widely on modern Satanism and related currents, most recently the co-edited anthology The Devil’s Party. Satanism in Modernity (Oxford University Press 2013, with Per Faxneld) and The Invention of Satanism (Oxford University Press 2015, with James R. Lewis and Asbjørn Dyrendal). His current research focuses on wider issues in religion and science and the fluid boundaries between Satanism and esotericism.

Erin Prophet is a doctoral student in the Department of Religion at Rice University. She is the author of Prophet’s Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside Church Universal and Triumphant and a co-author of Comparing Religions by Jeffrey Kripal. Her interests include New Religious Movements, religious violence, millennialism and apocalypticism, along with conversion, and interactions between religion and health. She has a master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

(p. xiv) Jeremy Rapport is Associate Professor of religious studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. His research focuses on new and alternative religions, especially metaphysical religions, religion and science, and religion and food. He is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles dealing with these topics. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the Unity School of Christianity, an American metaphysical religion.

James T. Richardson is Professor of Sociology and Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he directs the Judicial Studies degree programs for trial judges. He is the author or co-author of nearly 300 articles and chapters, as well as twelve books, including Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe (2004), Saints under Siege: The Texas Raid against the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (with Stuart Wright, 2014), and Legal Cases involving New Religions and Minority Faiths (with François Ballanger, 2014). He was president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in 2013–2014, and his presidential address, “Managing religion and the judicialization of religious freedom” appeared in the January, 2015 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Mikael Rothstein, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of the History of Religions, University of Southern Denmark. He is also tenured Visiting Professor at the Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania. He is author and editor of several volumes on new religions and comparative religion in general. Among his English-language publications are Belief Transformations (1996), Secular Theories in the Study of Religion (edited with Tim Jensen, 2000), New Age and Globalization (edited volume, 2001), The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements (co-edited with Olav Hammer, 2012), and Handbook of the Theosophical Current (also co-edited with Olav Hammer, 2012).

Nicole S. Ruskell is currently a graduate student at the University of Sheffield and Editorial Director of Academic Publishing. She is the author of “Religious Terrorism in the News” in The Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism (forthcoming) and “Scientology vs. the Media” (with James R. Lewis) in The Brill Handbook of Scientology (forthcoming).

John A. Saliba is Emeritus Professor from the University of Detroit Mercy. His books include Perspectives on New Religious Movements (also published under the title Understanding New Religious Movements) (1996), Signs of the Times: The New Religious Movements in Theological Perspective (1996), Christian Responses to the New Age Movement: A Critical Assessment (1999), and Understanding New Religious Movements (2003). He also authored two annotated bibliographies on scholarly literature about cults and sects: Psychiatry and the Cults (1987) and Social Sciences and the Cults (1990).

Shannon Trosper Schorey is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her work is engaged at the crossroads of American discourses and practices of information technologies and religion in the twentieth century. She is an associate researcher at the Center for Media, Religion, and Culture with the Ford Foundation Project “Finding Religion in the Media.”

(p. xv) Anson Shupe is retired Professor of Sociology and Anthropology from Indiana University and Purdue University in Fort Wayne. He is the author of numerous professional articles and over two dozen books. Among his most notable books on new religions and countermovements are Moonies in America: Cult, Church and Crusade (with David Bromley, Sage 1979), The New Vigilantes: Anti-Cultists, Deprogrammers and the New Religions (with David Bromley, Sage 1980), and Strange Gods: The Great American Cult Scare (with David Bromley, Beacon 1981).

Scott Simpson is a senior lecturer at the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He is the author of Native Faith: Polish Neo-Paganism at the Brink of the 21st Century (2000) and co-editor of Modern Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Central and Eastern Europe (2014). His personal interests include gardening and cooking.

Diana G. Tumminia retired from teaching college in 2011. She continues her writing, social activism, gardening, and art projects. Her most notable book, How Prophecy Never Fails (Oxford 2005), explained the social dynamics of living a myth.

Inga B. Tøllefsen is a Ph.D. student at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway. Her main research interest is New Religious Movements and gender, and her thesis work focuses on gender in the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission, as well as other Hindu-inspired global meditation movements. She has published several articles on the Art of Living Foundation, and she is a co-editor of several anthologies, such as Nordic New Religions (with James R. Lewis, forthcoming Brill 2015), and Female Leaders in New Religious Movements (with Christian Giudice, forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan 2016). (p. xvi)