Esotericism in New Religious Movements

Olav Hammer

in The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780195369649
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Esotericism in New Religious Movements

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The study of Western esotericism has come into its own in recent years. Because this tradition incubated a number of more recent movements—from Neopaganism to the New Age—contemporary studies of esotericism overlap studies of these related phenomena. This article articulates a concept of esotericism based on five characteristics: social formations, rituals, purported objectives, cognitive style, and relations to mainstream society. It then analyzes a number of groups and movements exhibiting these characteristics.

Keywords: Western esotericism; Neopaganism; New Age; social formations; rituals; purported objectives; cognitive types

Article.  9521 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Alternative Belief Systems

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