If you're one who believes knowledge is power, you'll be interested in a powerful series of 30 new volumes Signature Books is producing on the world's religions.
"Studies in Contemporary Religion," under the direction of Massimo Introvigne of Italy, offers a "digest" look at faiths ranging from the Baha'is to the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon.
"When the Pope spoke in Latin America, Massimo advised him on the new religions that had evolved in the area, so he knows the field," says Ron Priddis of Signature Books. "He tries to be objective, though that's probably not possible. If you type in his name on the Internet you'll see that nobody is happy. Some want him to endorse these religions, others want him to condemn them."
The first volume in the series, an 80-page look at Scientology by J. Gordon Melton, will be out next week.
A volume on the "Unification Church" by Massimo himself will soon follow.
The series is published in association with the Center for Studies on New Religions in Milan. Different scholars and writers have been recruited to write each booklet. Small and portable, the books -- Priddis hopes -- will be read on buses and trains by people who want to know just enough about other faiths without having to slog through thick tomes of theology.
"We'll also be marketing them to religion professors for use in classes," he says. "There will be a new one every six months."
Things may even get a bit dicey in the future. One religion is already balking at being profiled and may take legal action.
|The Church of Scientology (Studies in Contemporary Religions, 1)
by J. Gordon Melton, Signature Books (due September 2000)
|The Unification Church (Studies in Contemporary Religions, 2)
by Massimo Introvigne, Signature Books (due October 2000)
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