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Picture of Antiquity and Social Reform

Antiquity and Social Reform

Religious Experience in the Unification Church, Feminist Wicca and Nation of Yahweh

Author(s): Dawn Hutchinson

Book Description

Although religious innovation in America has historically been the norm rather than the exception, mainstream Americans have often viewed new religious movements with suspicion and occasionally with outright alarm. The question motivating many studies of new religious movements has been “why would someone join these religions?” In Antiquity and Social Reform, Dawn Hutchinson offers at least one answer to this often repeated query. She argues that followers of new religious movements in the 1960s–1980s, specifically the Unification Church, Feminist Wicca and the Nation of Yahweh, considered these religions to be legitimate because they offered members a personal religious experience, a connection to an ancient tradition, and agency in improving their world. Utilizing an historical approach, Antiquity and Social Reform considers the conversion narratives of adherents and primary literature of the formative years of these movements, which demonstrates that the religious experiences of the adherents, and a resonance with the goals of these religions, propelled members into social action.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-2287-9
ISBN-10: 1-4438-2287-6
Date of Publication: 01/09/2010
Pages / Size: 230 / A5
Price: £39.99


Dr Dawn Hutchinson currently teaches religion and philosophy at Christopher Newport University, USA. She received her Bachelor of Music from Christopher Newport, her Master of Arts in Comparative Religion from the University of South Florida, and her Doctorate in American Religious History from the Florida State University. Dr Hutchinson’s research interests include American religious history, new religious movements, African American religions, women in American religions, contemporary Gnosticism, critical thinking, and philosophy of religion.