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Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History Paperback – November 15, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
-John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
One might imagine that a work with Jenkins' theme would run a severe risk of being either a polemic or a dreary dissertation-like tome. Mystics and Messiahs evades both risks. Jenkins' writing style is highly readable, and his tone is not that of a pedantic, but of a sympathetic skeptic telling a bit of interesting popular history. The book is well documented, but there is no loss of a good read in pursuit of an "academically-refined text".
America's pulsating religious need in our time is the need for tolerance (as the song says, "what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?"). Jenkins' book illustrates the lessons from our history that past Americans' intolerance has caused us to learn, without interfering with the fact that the story of America's many faiths is a darned entertaining read.
It is refreshing to see a level-headed book which is neither "XYZ Evangelist's Book of Cults" or "What Christians Fail to Get about our Wonderful New JLK Faiths". Instead, in the Dragnet parlance, it's more "just the facts", and whether one is a fervent believer or a casual skeptic, this one is a worthwhile read.
Prof. Jenkins makes all sorts of interesting observations in this history of fringe groups, such as that some practices like women ministers and speaking in tongues were once considered far-out but are now considered mainstream. (Just look at the sorry state of "evangelical" Christianity in the U.S.) But the best part of this book is that it is just good history: lots of interesting facts and colorful characters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting academic examination of new religious movements.Published 16 days ago by Robert Barkley
Jenkins is a professor of history and religious studies at Penn State.
Interesting book. Good book to scan rather than read cover to cover. Read more
OK, I was obliged to buy this book because I am a victim of the University textbook industry.
What this book really is, is a history of cults/ new religious movements in... Read more