Nova Religio
Perspective: New New Religions: Revisiting a Concept
J. Gordon Melton


The concept of new new religions, which in Japan refers to a second generation of new religions formed after 1970, calls attention to a generation of new religions formed in the West since 1990 and largely neglected in new religions studies. The concept itself is less helpful in that it obscures the continuous year-by-year production of new religions in free societies. The fact that so many of the older new religions are being considered by the academy under their family groupings as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish or Muslim sects, along with the demise of the brainwashing controversy, suggests that new religions studies needs a new direction. The many new new religions——those new groups with a high degree of both social and cultural alienation, many of a New Age Esoteric orientation——seem to be a logical innovative focus for new religions scholars.

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