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Edited by James R. Lewis

The Handbook of Scientology brings together a collection of fresh studies of the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religions. In recent years, increasing scholarly attention has been directed at the Church of Scientology, resulting in a small tsunami of new scholarship. We have finally reached a point in time where a book on Scientology need not restrict itself to basics. Thus, for example, the historical chapters in the present volume are not really aimed at providing elementary facts on Scientology’s background, but, rather, focus on understanding how the Church of Scientology developed over the years. In short, the Handbook of Scientology will provide a wealth of new information on a topic that one might otherwise have thought exhausted.

Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity

Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society


Edited by Stephen J. Hunt

The Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity: Themes and Developments in Culture, Politics, and Society maps the transformations, as well as the continuities, of the largest of the major religions - engaging with the critical global issues which relate to the faith in a fast changing world. International experts in the area offer contributions focusing on global movements; regional trends and developments; Christianity, the state, politics and polity; and Christianity and social diversity. Collectively the contributors provide a comprehensive treatment of health of the religion as Christianity enters its third millennium in existence and details the challenges and dilemmas facing its various expressions, both old and new. The volume is a companion to the Handbook of Contemporary Global Christianity: Movements, Institutions, and Allegiance.


Edited by Chibueze C. Udeani, Friedrich Reiterer and Klaus Zapotoczky

Religion is today mainly present in the consciousness of people through keywords like fundamentalism, global conflict or violence. But as what is religion understood and how does it affect the society are questions that need to be examined separately. The contributions in this volume will examine the sub-questions that pose themselves in this light: 1) What influence does religion exercise on our social life forms? 2) What are the religious societal prerequisites? And how is visible religion affected by these? 3) How do these questions present themselves both externally and internally in the contemporary perception?

Hindu-Christian Dialogue

Theological Soundings and Perspectives


Mariasusai Dhavamony

Dialogue is an integral part of the mission of the Christian church. The immensity of the ocean of Hindu doctrine and thought presents a significant obstacle to Christians who have been invited by the Roman Catholic Church to “scrutinize the divine Mystery” present in other religions. Many, fascinated by Hindu mysticism, confuse permanent Hindu beliefs with certain current Western religious movements. India’s quest for the divine embodies multiple forms. Its millennia-old methods of meditation and varieties of asceticism often confuse those who are less inclined to experience of an inner spiritual nature. This book attempts to address some of these difficulties and questions. It is the author’s belief that in the Hindu-Christian encounter the Christian believer will also rediscover the originality and newness of the Christian revelation, viz. the intervention of God in the history of salvation whereby God reveals his salvific love in Jesus Christ. Possessing expert knowledge of both Hinduism and Christianity, the author approaches the Hindu-Christian dialogue with sympathy and discernment.

Sharing Lights on the Way to God

Muslim-Christian Dialogue and Theology in the Context of Abrahamic Partnership


Pim Valkenberg

This book seeks to give form to a theology that hyphenates two traditions that have not only been in constant conflict during most of their historical encounters but are also presented as opposite blocks in the threatening ‘clash of civilizations’ at the beginning of the third millennium: Islam and Christianity. Based on experiences of dialogue between the three Abrahamic faiths, this book analyzes historical and contemporary processes of interreligious dialogue between Christians and Muslims in order to arrive at a concept of dialogue as ‘mutual emulation.’ It shows how, in their theologies of religious others, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have based their images of others on their self-images. This characteristic makes traditional theologies of religion quite unsuitable for interreligious dialogue. Consequently, the author of this book develops a model in which comparative theology and interreligious dialogue are connected by studying – as a Christian theologian – the theological and spiritual sources of his Muslim dialogue partners. These exercises in comparative Muslim-Christian theology comprise both the medieval (Aquinas, al-Ghazali, Rumi) and the modern periods (Said Nursi, Fethullah Gülen, Tariq Ramadan). An interlude on Teresa of Avila’s poem Nada te turbe shows how Christians may recover important insights from their own tradition by reading these Muslim theological and spiritual sources.

Shaking the Fundamentals

Religious Plurality and Ecumenical Movement


Jan van Lin

The issue central to this study can be considered one of the most pressing facing the World Council of Churches today and in the decades to come, and is much greater than that which confronted the International Mission Council in the years 1910 to1938. The question answered in this study is: what significance can the theology of religions, as it developed between 1910 (Edinburgh) and 1938 (Tambaram), have for present-day endeavours to develop a more common understanding and vision within the ecumenical movement as regards the theological problem of religious plurality? This significance becomes clear in the conclusions and suggestions in the final chapter. One of these conclusions is that classic Trinitarian theology and Pneumatology will be incapable of drawing the theology of religions out of the present impasse as long as traditional Christological models continue to exist within them. A commemoration of the Edinburgh meeting will undoubtedly be organized in 2010; and in view of this commemoration Dr van Lin suggests considering the possibility of starting a process of reflection on the World Council of Churches' theology of religions, similar to those on Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, and Towards the Common Expression of the Apostolic Faith Today. Given the fact that the study of religious plurality shakes the ecumenical movement to its foundations, within the foreseeable futures serious thought has to be given to placing the study of the theology of religions on the agenda of Faith and Order within the World Council of Churches.

Der historische Muhammad in der islamischen Theologie

Zur Kriterienfrage in der Leben-Muhammad-Forschung


Zishan Ahmad Ghaffar

Wie können wir wissen, wer der historische Muhammad war? Welche Rolle spielt diese historiographische Fragestellung in der islamischen Theologie? Der Autor stellt die Frage nach zuverlässigen Kriterien für eine historische Rekonstruktion von Muhammad.
Zishan Ghaffar stellt dabei die Leben-Muhammad-Forschung der Leben-Jesu-Forschung gegenüber. Dieser vergleichende Ansatz erleichtert die Bestimmung der wichtigsten Kriterien für die historische Frage nach Muhammad. Mit dieser Grundlage hat der Autor eine geschichtshermeneutische Voraussetzung geschaffen, um Muhammed in einen breiten Kontext zu setzen, beispielsweise seine Bedeutung in der urmuslimischen Gemeinde in der spätantiken Umwelt und seine Einbeziehung in die islamische Theologie.

"I am just a Sukuma"

Globalization and Identity Construction in Northwest Tanzania


Frans Wijsen and Ralph Tanner


Edited by Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein

Few religious currents have been as influential as the Theosophical. Yet few currents have been so under-researched, and the Brill Handbook of the Theosophical Current thus represents pioneering research. A first section surveys the main people and events involved in the Theosophical Society from its inception to today, and outlines the Theosophical worldview. A second, substantial section covers most significant religions to emerge in the wake of the Theosophical Society - Anthroposophy, the Point Loma community, the I AM religious activity, the Summit Lighthouse Movement, the New Age, theosophical UFO religions, and numerous others. Finally, the interaction of the Theosophical current with contemporary culture - including gender relations, art, popular fiction, historiography, and science - are discussed at length.

Edited by Loek Halman and Paul de Graaf

The European Values Studies book series is based on the results of a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program, founded in the late 1970s by a foundation which is now called the European Values Study. This group investigates basic social, cultural, political, moral, and religious values held by the populations of the European countries. The first study was carried out in 1981, followed by repeat surveys in 1990, 1999, and 2008, in an increasing number of countries. Today, all European countries are involved in the European Values Study. The publications in this series include interpretations and explanations of the quantitative survey data. These are presented in the form of monographs and edited volumes. The Series also publishes sourcebooks.

For more information on the European Values Study see:

The series has published one volume over the last 5 years.