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9780691146089

The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion

Urban, Hugh B. Author

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Scientology is one of the wealthiest and most powerful new religions to emerge in the past century. To its detractors, L. Ron Hubbard's space-age mysticism is a moneymaking scam and sinister brainwashing cult. But to its adherents, it is humanity's brightest hope. Few religious movements have been subject to public scrutiny like Scientology, yet much of what is written about the church is sensationalist and inaccurate. Here for the first time is the story of Scientology's protracted and turbulent journey to recognition as a religion in the postwar American landscape.

Hugh Urban tells the real story of Scientology from its cold war-era beginnings in the 1950s to its prominence today as the religion of Hollywood's celebrity elite. Urban paints a vivid portrait of Hubbard, the enigmatic founder who once commanded his own private fleet and an intelligence apparatus rivaling that of the U.S. government. One FBI agent described him as "a mental case," but to his followers he is the man who "solved the riddle of the human mind." Urban details Scientology's decades-long war with the IRS, which ended with the church winning tax-exempt status as a religion; the rancorous cult wars of the 1970s and 1980s; as well as the latest challenges confronting Scientology, from attacks by the Internet group Anonymous to the church's efforts to suppress the online dissemination of its esoteric teachings.

The Church of Scientology demonstrates how Scientology has reflected the broader anxieties and obsessions of postwar America, and raises profound questions about how religion is defined and who gets to define it.

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"Hugh Urban has written an engaging book that tells the story of Scientology more thoroughly and in a more balanced way than any other treatment of the topic thus far. Were that not enough, this is also a book with much to say about the central question that has come to be debated among contemporary scholars of religion: What, after all, is this thing we call religion?"--Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University


"Urban's compelling book provides a critical but balanced assessment of this very controversial new religion, highlighting the ways Hubbard and his church reflect the fear and suspicion, yet also the boundless national optimism, so characteristic of cold war America. This book will become the source for reliable information on Scientology."--Lorne L. Dawson, University of Waterloo, author of Comprehending Cults


"Until now there was no extensive scholarship on the Church of Scientology in existence. With the appearance of Urban's powerful and provocative new book, we are without question on radically new historical and theoretical ground with respect to the study of Scientology and, I dare say, new American religious movements in general. In every way, this is a major achievement."--Jeffrey J. Kripal, Rice University, author of Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal


About the Author:

Hugh B. Urban is professor of religious studies at Ohio State University. His books include "Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism" and "Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion".

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Urban, Hugh B. Author
Published by Princeton University Press (2011)
ISBN 10: 069114608X ISBN 13: 9780691146089
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Book Description Princeton University Press, 2011. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: What Urban does better than most is continually put Scientology's bumpy beginnings and notorious scandals in a larger context of American history and the development of American culture and ideas about religion. . . . Urban is careful to present Scientology's point of view, but there's little sign that he's holding back on criticism of the church and its practices. Urban is more interested in, again, putting things in a larger context. . . . A fascinating book, and I hope other Scientology watchers will find this book as valuable as I did. -- Tony Ortega, Village Voice. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_069114608X

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Urban, Hugh B. Author
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Book Description Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX069114608X

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Urban, Hugh B. Author
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Book Description Princeton University Press. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 069114608X

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Urban, Hugh B. Author
Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton (2011)
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Book Description Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2011. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 296 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. New book. RELIGION. Scientology is one of the wealthiest and most powerful new religions to emerge in the past century. To its detractors, L. Ron Hubbard's space-age mysticism is a moneymaking scam and sinister brainwashing cult. But to its adherents, it is humanity's brightest hope. Few religious movements have been subject to public scrutiny like Scientology, yet much of what is written about the church is sensationalist and inaccurate. Here for the first time is the story of Scientology's protracted and turbulent journey to recognition as a religion in the postwar American landscape. Hugh Urban tells the real story of Scientology from its cold war-era beginnings in the 1950s to its prominence today as the religion of Hollywood's celebrity elite. Urban paints a vivid portrait of Hubbard, the enigmatic founder who once commanded his own private fleet and an intelligence apparatus rivaling that of the U.S. government. One FBI agent described him as "a mental case," but to his followers he is the man who "solved the riddle of the human mind." Urban details Scientology's decades-long war with the IRS, which ended with the church winning tax-exempt status as a religion; the rancorous cult wars of the 1970s and 1980s; as well as the latest challenges confronting Scientology, from attacks by the Internet group Anonymous to the church's efforts to suppress the online dissemination of its esoteric teachings. This book demonstrates how Scientology has reflected the broader anxieties and obsessions of postwar America, and raises profound questions about how religion is defined and who gets to define it. Hugh B. Urban is professor of religious studies at Ohio State University. His books include Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism and Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion. "Urban's book is valuable for how well he organizes a massive amount of information in a well-paced, enjoyable read. . . . [A] fascinating book." - Tony Ortega, Village Voice "Urban describes concisely the development of the Church of Scientology from a pseudopsychological self-help business venture to a self-proclaimed 'religion' fighting vigorously for government recognition. . . . Highly recommended, this is a valuable, evenhanded, academic but engaging introduction to the controversial church, both for those interested in the topic of religious studies and for general readers." - Library Journal "A fascinating and oftentimes mind-bending account of how penny-a-word sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard doggedly pursued the 'religion angle' in his quest to create the worldwide Church of Scientology. Urban makes it clear from the outset that he could have written a lot more about Scientology than he has here--perhaps even a few volumes more. Settling on a narrower scope, however, hasn't precluded the author from presenting a thoroughly absorbing chronicle of Scientology's 60-year history in America. . . . An intriguing introduction into the labyrinthine world of Scientology and its meaning in American society." - Kirkus Reviews "A fascinating account of how a healing practice called Dianetics came to define itself--and become officially recognized--as a religion in the United States. Urban strains to strike a balance between what he calls 'a hermeneutics of respect and a hermeneutics of suspicion,' grounded in a firm belief in freedom of worship and an obligation to ask tough questions about alleged misbehavior by Scientologists." - Glen Altschuler, Boston Globe (Key Words: Church of Scientology, New Religions, Religion, Hugh B. Urban). book. Bookseller Inventory # 74040X1

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Book Description Princeton University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11069114608X

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Urban, Hugh B. Author
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Book Description Princeton Univ Pr, 2011. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. first edition edition. 280 pages. 9.20x6.50x1.00 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __069114608X

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