CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

The 2015 CESNUR Conference co-organized by:
Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR)
International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR)
Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University
Center of Excellence in Cultural Theory (University of Tartu)
Estonian Ministry of the Interior


sveziaTallinn, Estonia, 17-20 June 2015
Tallinn University, Narva mnt [Street] 29

[Buildings: Astra (Registration Desk and Plenary Sessions on June 18 and June 20) and Mare.
See the University map at http://bit.ly/1zsBLIN]


Wednesday June 17, 2015

Tallinn Teachers House, Raekoja plats 14, Tallinn Old Town [http://bit.ly/16M49yw]

5 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Registration

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. /Opening Reception

Welcome Greetings
Riho ALTNURME (Dean of the Theological Faculty, Tartu University)

Religious Change and Innovation in Estonia: Some Particularities
A presentation by Ringo RINGVEE (The Estonian Ministry of Interior)


Thursday June 18, 2015

Tallinn University, Narva mnt [Street] 29
Buildings: Astra (Registration Desk and Plenary Session) and Mare
See the University map at http://bit.ly/1zsBLIN

10 a.m. - 1 p.m. / Session 1 - Plenary

A Study of the Exclusive Brethren (IV)

Welcome by Academic Authorities

Presiding and Introducing: J. Gordon MELTON

Who is Afraid of the Plymouth Brethren? Brethren Controversies in Historical Perspective

“… But the Greatest of These Is Charity”(I Cor 13, KJB): An Exclusive Inducement to Religious Innovation?
Eileen BARKER (London School of Economics / INFORM)

11.30 a.m. - 11.45 a.m. / Coffee Break

Upbringing and Schooling of the Children in the Exclusive Brethren: The Swedish Perspective
Liselotte FRISK and Sanja NILSSON (Dalarna University, Falun)

The Nurture and Admonition of the Lord: Brethren Schooling and the Challenge of the Australian Debate on Religion in Schools
Bernard DOHERTY (Macquarie University, Sydney)

With a response by representatives of the Brethren

1 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. / Lunch

2.30 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Parallel Sessions

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 2

Case Studies - I


On the Concept of Paro: La Santa Muerte and Her Interventions in Human Affairs
Stefano BIGLIARDI (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Santa Fe, Mexico City)

“The Dude De Ching” and the Duddha: How Dudeism Claims to Be Based on Buddhism and Taoism but Is Equally as Much a Product of Western Conceptions of Religion and Christian Religious Practice
Laurens DE ROOIJ (Durham University)

Kenja: Unique Australian NRM or Auditing Without an E-meter?
Christopher HARTNEY (University of Sydney)

2.30 p.m - 4 p.m. / Session 3

The Aesthetics of Religious Movements

Chair: PierLuigi ZOCCATELLI

Cutting the Sacred Wound: Self-Harm and Intensive Community Formation via Shared Aesthetics
Zoe ALDERTON (University of Sydney)

The Inspirational Iconography of the LDS Church
Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD (University of Bordeaux 3)

The Trumpet Blowing Angel in Church Architecture: From Catholic Churches to Mormon Temples
Michael HOMER (Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City)

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 4

New Spirituality and the New Age

Chair: Jean-François MAYER

The Knowledge Book Readers in Russia: New Age Movement Adjusting to Post-Soviet Society
Ksenia KOLKUNOVA (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Mais d’où viendront les sectaires? La génération Harry Potter et l’innovation religieuse
Alain BOUCHARD (University of Laval)

Magic and Media: Centralizing the Material in Satanic Ritual
Cimminnee HOLT (Concordia University, Montreal)

4 p.m. - 4.15 p.m. / Coffee Break

4.15 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Session 5

Korean and Japanese Movements

Chair: George D. CHRYSSIDES

Old Age in the New Age: The Transformation of Korean New Religion, Su-Un-Gyo in Daejeon
Shin AHN (Pai Chai University, Daejeon)

Sangje and Samkye: The Cosmology of Daesoonjinrihoe in East Asian New Religions
David William KIM (Australian National University, Canberra)

The Idea of Consecration in Japanese New Religion’s Architecture: Focused on Tenrikyo
Gyungwon LEE (Daejin University, Pocheon City)

Notes on Some Statistical Aspects of the Growth of Soka Gakkai in Italy

4.15 p.m. - 5.30 p.m. / Session 6

A Conversation About Scientology

Chair: Bernadette RIGAL-CELLARD

Spooks and Scientologists: Secrecy, Surveillance and Subversion in Cold War Australia 1954-1983
Bernard DOHERTY (Macquarie University, Sydney)

Technological Exorcism, Body Thetans and Scientology’s Secret Mythology
James R. LEWIS (University of Tromsø)

Scientology and the Global Digital Age: New Media, New Religions, and Grassroots Legitimation Efforts
Donald WESTBROOK (Claremont Graduate University)

4.15 p.m. - 5.30 p.m. / Session 7

Case Studies - II

Chair: Stefano BIGLIARDI

The Resistance of One of the Older Catholic Churches: How Pope Francis Is Trying to Force the Lebanese Maronite Church to Change for the Better
Mouna GHOSSAIN-ZAITER (Bordeaux University)

The Currents of Modern Vitalism: Rosicrucianism, Naturopathy and Chiropractic
Holly FOLK (Western Washington University)

Sensing the “Second Coming”: An Overview of New Concepts in Philosophy, Religion, Sociology and Law Acknowledging (the Return of…?) the Religious in Private and Public Life
Christo LOMBAARD (University of South Africa, Pretoria)

6.15 p.m. - 7 p.m. / Business Meeting for the members of the International Society for the Study of New Religions (ISSNR)
Non members who want to know more about the ISSNR are welcome to attend to, but only paid members will be allowed to vote.


Friday June 19, 2015

Tallinn University, Narva mnt [Street] 29
Buildings: Astra (Registration Desk) and Mare
See the University map at http://bit.ly/1zsBLIN


9.30 a.m. - 11.00 a.m. / Session 8 - Plenary

Atheism and Religious Fluidity

Chair: Eileen BARKER

Birthing an Atheist NRM: The Case of the North Texas Church of Freethought
J. Gordon MELTON (Baylor University, Waco)

The Spirituality of Atheism: Some Critical Remarks
Atko REMMEL (University of Tartu)

The Fluid Forms of Contemporary Religiosity: Innovation and Participation Modes in Estonian Spiritual Milieu
Marko UIBU (University of Tartu)

11.00 a.m. - 11.20 a.m. / Coffee Break

11.20 a.m. - 1 p.m. / Session 9 - Plenary

Religious Change and Diversity: Contemporary Forms of Alternative Religiosity in Lithuania

Chair: Ringo RINGVEE

The Ancient Baltic Faith Community Romuva: Shifting From the Cultural Movement to the Religious Community?
Milda ALISAUSKIENE (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas)

Church of Ingling’s, Rodnoverye, ISKCON and “In the Search of the [Lost] History”: Bewitchment of Historical Consciousness in NRMs
Aušra PAŽERAITE (Vilnius University)

Spiritual-Ecological Seeking Within New Age Spiritualities: Anastasians in Lithuania
Rasa PRANSKEVICIUTE (Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas)

Localized Versions of Exotic Spiritual Tradition: The Relationships of Various Lithuanian Shamanic Groups to Local Religious Traditions
Egle ALEKNAITE (Centre for Research on Contemporary Spirituality and Culture, Vilnius)

1 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. / Lunch

2.30 p.m. - 6.15 p.m. / Parallel Sessions

2.30 p.m. - 4 p.m. / Session 10

A Rumor of Spirits

Chair: Massimo INTROVIGNE

Community Building, Territorial Development and the New Spiritual Syncretism: The Case of Self-Cognition and Harmonization Park (Sigulda, Latvia)
Agita MISANE (University of Latvia, Riga)

Spiritualism in “Petruška: Teatr živych figur” according to Florenskij, Benois and Nijinsky
Concetta LO IACONO (University of Roma Tre)

“The Spirits as Artists”. An Introduction to Dutch Mediumistic Paintings of the Interbellum and the Messages they Convey
Wim H. KRAMER (Foundation Het Johan Borgman Fonds, Bunnik)

2.30 p.m. - 4.15 p.m. / Session 11

Religious Innovation and Christianity

Chair: Bernard DOHERTY

Rising Charisma as a Tool for Success in Pre and Post-Charismatic Phases of Creciendo en Gracia
Susan SETTA (Northeastern University, Boston)

Will the Hutterites Survive the 21st Century?
Timothy MILLER (University of Kansas)

Migration Is the New Missions: Internal Changes in Global Christianity
Dyron DAUGHRITY (Pepperdine University, Malibu)

Germany to Parents: “You Have to Leave the Twelve Tribes to Get Your Children Back”
Jean SWANTKO WISEMAN (The Twelve Tribes)

2.30 p.m. - 4.15 p.m. / Session 12

Movements and Controversies


La théologie de la prospérité chez les évangéliques
Guy BUCUMI (University Paris Sud)

Les Mormons et l’altérité: analyse des capsules publicitaires “I’m a Mormon”
Mathilde VANASSE-PELLETIER (University of Montreal)

“Do As I Have Warned”: The Prison-Based Ministry and Revelations of Warren Jeffs
Donald WESTBROOK (Claremont Graduate University)

Why Memes Carry Wisdom: Neo-Haiku, Cute Kittens & Social Media
David WEBSTER (University of Gloucestershire)

4.15 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. / Coffee Break

4.30 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Session 13

Change in the Old New Religions – Christian Science and Jehovah’s Witnesses

Chair: Michael HOMER

A Scottish Vegetarian’s View of Jehovah’s Witnesses
George D. CHRYSSIDES (York St John University)

The Happiness Factor in Changes for Local Christian Science Churches: A Project in Theological Reflexivity
Shirley PAULSON (University of Birmingham)

The Response of Christian Science to the Revolution in Medicine
Robin HARRAGIN (Independent Scholar, London)

4.30 p.m. - 6.15 p.m. / Session 14

Case Studies - III

Chair: Timothy MILLER

Christian New Religious Movements in China: A Survey
Edward IRONS (Hong Kong Institute for Culture, Commerce and Religion)

New Religious Movements in Courts: Toward a More Accommodative Direction? A Study of the UDV Tea Case
Nawal ISSAOUI (University of Bordeaux)

From Christianising Africa to Africanising Christianity: Some Hermeneutical Principles
Dirk VAN DER MERWE (University of South Africa, Pretoria)

The Historical Jesus as “Peacemaker” Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Eben SCHEFFLER (University of South Africa, Pretoria)

4.30 p.m. - 6 p.m. / Session 15

Perspectives on Esoteric Movements

Chair: Agita MISANE

O.W. Milosz : la régénération de l’Europe par les voies ésotérique et mystique
Jean-Pierre LAURANT (École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne University, Paris)

Sufism and the Gurdjieff “Work”: A Contested Relationship
Carole M. CUSACK (University of Sydney)

Credibility, Authority and the Paranormal: The Relation Between Science and Paranormal Claims Within the Finnish Alternative Spiritual Milieu
Tommy RAMSTEDT (Åbo Akademi University)

7.30 p.m. / Banquet

Von Krahl Theatre, Rataskaevu 10, Tallinn

Presiding and Introducing: Ringo RINGVEE

The Sociology of Religious Movements and the Sociology of Time in Conversation

Saturday June 20, 2015

Tallinn University, Narva mnt [Street] 29
Building: Astra
See the University map at http://bit.ly/1zsBLIN

9 a.m. - 11 a.m. / Session 16 - Plenary

Movements and Conflict: The Middle East and Beyond

Chair: Ringo RINGVEE

Anti-Cult Laws in Argentina
María Gimena CANTÓN (Asociación Civil Justicia es Verdad, Buenos Aires)

Women of the Veil: Religious Extremism or a New Religion for Jewish Women in Israel
Anat FELDMAN (Achva Academic College, Arugot)

The Religious and Political History of ISIS and Its Goals
Mouna GHOSSAIN-ZAITER (Bordeaux University)

Jihadists and Their Image: From Radical Islamists to Brainwashed Cultists - A Critical Discussion
Jean-François MAYER (Institut Religioscope, Fribourg)

11 a.m. - 11.15 a.m. / Coffee Break

11.15 a.m. - 12.45 p.m. / Session 17 - Plenary

The Changing Estonian Landscape

Chair: Massimo INTROVIGNE

Religious Change and Innovation Concerning New Religious Movements and New Spirituality in the 21st Century Estonia
Ringo RINGVEE (University of Tartu)

A Case for Native Shamanism in Estonia
Henno Erikson PARKS (Åbo Akademi University)

Continuity and Change in Media Representations about Estonian Native Faith (Maasusk) in the 21st Century
Ergo-Hart VÄSTRIK (University of Tartu)

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. / Lunch

2 p.m. / Field Trip - Walking tour around Tallinn’s sacred buildings

The field trip “Holy Sites in Tallinn” takes people to the sacred buildings and sites in Tallinn. The buses will take the tour from the magical Song Festival site to the Old Town, where the tour shall continue as a walking tour.


1 / Registration –Includes conference attendance, three lunches, coffee breaks, the banquet, and the field trip: Euro 130.

2 / Estonian Residents Special – Conference attendance only with no meals, banquet, or field trip: Euro 50.


To accommodate conference participants, a number of rooms have been reserved at hotels from among which every participant should find a suitable option. Accommodation can be booked by contacting the hotels directly and using the code: CESNUR 2015. The exact booking instructions (including booking deadline and deadline for changes and cancellations) is listed under each hotel shortly. Given the fact that the number of rooms available in individual hotels is limited, the accommodation will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

- Nordic Hotel Forum ****, Viru väljak 3, 10111 Tallinn, www.nordichotels.eu. Approximate distance from Tallinn University: 950 m (13 minute walking distance). Rate: 114,45 euros/night/single or double/twin room. For bookings please click HERE. Rates are inclusive of VAT, breakfast, as well as the chance to unwind in the relaxation centre, enjoying the views over the Old Town. Booking deadline: May 17, 2015. Deadline for cancellations and changes: June 10, 2015.

- Sokos Hotel Viru ***, Viru väljak 4, 10111 Tallinn, www.sokoshotels.fi. Approximate distance from Tallinn University: 900 m (12 minute walking distance). Rate: 94 euros/night/single and 99 euros/night/double/twin room. Rates are inclusive of VAT and breakfast. For bookings e-mail: viru.reservation@sok.fi with the code “CESNUR 2015”. Booking deadline: May 17, 2015. Deadline for cancellations and changes: May 17, 2015.

- Tallink City Hotel ***, A. Laikmaa 5, 10145 Tallinn, www.tallinkhotels.com. Approximate distance from Tallinn University: 900 m (12 minute walking distance). Rate: 59 euros/night/single or double/twin room. Rates are inclusive of VAT and breakfast. For bookings e-mail: hotelbooking@tallink.ee with the code “CESNUR 2015”. Booking deadline: May 17, 2015. Deadline for cancellations and changes: May 17, 2015.