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Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions [Hardcover]

by J. Gordon Melton, James Bevereley, Constance Jones, Pamela S. Nadell, Rodney Stark
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 13, 2009 078769696X 978-0787696962 8
Presents coverage of more than 2,500 North American religious groups in the U.S. and Canada, from Adventists to Zen Buddhists. Entries contain essays and directory listings that describe the historical development of religious families and give factual information about each group within those families, including, where available, headquarter location, membership figures, a listing of educational facilities and information on periodicals published by the group.

Editorial Reviews


"This encyclopedia has been a standard work for 20 years."

Product Details

  • Series: Encyclopedia of American Religions
  • Hardcover: 1416 pages
  • Publisher: Gale; 8 edition (February 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078769696X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787696962
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.6 x 2.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. Gordon Melton is the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University, and the Director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion also based in Waco, Texas.

He is the author of more than 35 books, the great majority reference works or scholarly texts in American religious history, including the "Encyclopedia of American Religions" (eighth edition, 2009), and most recently "Religious Celebrations: An Encyclopedia of Holidays, Festivals, Solemn Observances and Spiritual Commemorations" (2011). He has also written several reference books in Dracula and vampire studies including the award winning "The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead" (third edition 2010).

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential reference for scholars of religion December 15, 2000
J. Gordon Melton's "Encyclopedia of American Religions" is a reference work to which I turn, year after year, in my work as both a scholar and journalist. And I eagerly look forward to each new edition (I viewed the 6th edition as I prepared this review).
This mammoth work contains both a series of essays on major religious traditions and a series of profiles of individual denominations, fellowships, and missions. The profiles on individual religious bodies number well over 2,300 in the 6th edition. Mailing addresses and bibliographic references (when available) for each individual body further add to the book's usefulness.
Melton covers everything from the largest mainstream denominations to the smallest and most esoteric bodies. His broad editorial vision takes in nearly every conceivable religious tradition: Christianity in all its permutations (Anglican, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc.), Judaism, Hinduism and other Eastern traditions, Neo-Pagan groups, "flying saucer"-related fellowships, Atheist and Humanist associations, and more. Each entry is written in an objective manner.
The latest edition of this book should be in every library in Canada and the United States. Furthermore, serious journalists and scholars of religion will find this to be a useful and fascinating edition to their own private libraries.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must for any library - September 7, 2000
While I don't own it (yet) I've been impressed with it since first learning of it. While this is not a work on which most households would spend hundreds of dollars, there really is no substitute for Melton's masterpiece. Even defunct and/or oddball sects are included, such as Kennedy worshippers, the House of David, and schismatic versions of many faiths. The organization of this work is by theological classification (Holiness movement or Black Muslim for two examples), but the index is comprehensive.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening May 15, 2000
I found this to be eye opening. I have had a hard time finding a book that could teach me about the different religions/denominations. This one was very comprehensive. I highly recommend it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extremely important reference work. July 25, 2000
In this mammoth work (which is regularly updated), Melton has provided clear and unbiased descriptions of virtually every religious body of any size operating in the United States today.
Every religious body is identified by the "family" into which it fits (or from which it came) eg. Western Liturgical Family, Eastern Liturgical Family, etc., and described in terms of date of founding, major beliefs, size, number of congregations, organizational structure, and, in many cases, contact information.
This book is a must in every university or seminary library -- regardless of religion or denomination. The serious scholar will also wish to have a copy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value February 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The three volume set was VERY expensive. I searched and found all three volumes at three different sellers on Amazon. I got a real deal on used copies. These books are a must for anyone who wants to explore the beliefs of others.
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