The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena

by J. Gordon Melton, PhD
Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena

"J. Gordon Melton is a renowned authority on what academics call "New Religious Movements." His expertise with the arcane shines from the pages. . . . [T]his is an entertaining and fascinating look at an astonishing variety of ways that people experience belief."

The Dallas Morning News

"From the sensational to the conventional, this book covers it"

This is not a flashy book. The illustrations are b/w, and the text is descriptive, not polemical. The work is not an effort to promote religious phenomena, nor to pass judgment. As is the case of all encyclopedias, especially of the work of one person, readers may search in vain for a topic that interests them, or be surprised at an entry's inclusion. That's part of the appeal of this work. It's amazing how informative it is, without being disrespectful of any religious experience.


Melton is a longtime researcher in esoteric traditions and new or unconventional religious movements, subjects on which he has written extensively. The book is fascinating to flip through, will interest a wide range of readers, and is written for nonexperts.

Library Journal

"[Melton] gives readers interesting religious expressions and phenomena from Buddhism, Baha'I, Islam, indigenous faiths and Christianity. The result cannot help but be inspiring or alarming, depending on your understanding of true faith."

Reference & Research Book News

"Melton, a renowned authority on "New Religious Movements," takes on a broad range of topics. If you can't learn an interesting bunch of facts from this book, you must already have a doctorate on the topic."

The Modesto Bee

Visions of Mary and glimpses of GOD.

Hundreds of people gather at a freeway underpass in Chicago to gaze at what mystified state police reported to be a salt stain but which the faithful said was an image of the Virgin Mary. People assemble in a parking lot in Milton, Massachusetts, and see an image of the Virgin Mary. Apparitions of Mary have been claimed in dozens, if not hundreds, of different locations and are part of a sharp increase in religious phenomena worldwide.

Based on more than 250 occurrences and extraordinary experiences that have served to lift believers out of the mundane world and place them in contact with a transcendental reality, The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena explores unusual and unexplained physical events, apparitions, and other phenomena rooted in religious beliefs. Alphabetically arranged, Religious Phenomena includes more than 100 illustrations.

Well-known religion expert, J. Gordon Melton takes readers on a tour that includes visits with angels, Marian apparitions (including Guadeloupe, 1531; Lourdes, 1858; and Fatima, 1917), and religious figures such as Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammad, and Tao Tzu. Melton reports on dreams and near-death experiences; feng shui and labyrinths; statues that bleed, drink milk, weep, and move; snake handling, speaking in tongues, and stigmata; relics, including the spear of Longinus and the Shroud of Turin; and sacred locales such as Easter Island, the Glastonbury Tor, the Great Pyramid, Mecca, and Sedona.

From sacred mountains, shrines and places of pilgrimage to visions, out-of-body travel, and holy laughter, The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena offers a balanced presentation of otherworldly phenomena: each entry includes a description of the particular phenomenon and the religious claims being made for it as well as a discussion of what a scientist might have to say about it. Transcending the mundane, the entries take no sides and make no arguments: the journey is the experience and the experience is the journey.

About J. Gordon Melton, PhD

J. Gordon Melton, a nationally known author, lecturer, and scholar, is the Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Baylor University and serves as the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. Dr. Melton is best known for his work on religious cults, and he is considered America’s senior scholar in the field of new and unconventional religions, having studied them for more than 40 years. Simultaneously, he has emerged as a leading scholar of vampire and Dracula studies and previously served a tenure as the American president of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, an international association of vampire and Dracula scholars. He has authored multiple books in the field, two of which received the Lord Ruthven Award as the best nonfiction book in vampire studies. He currently resides in Waco, Texas, with his wife, Suzie.

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Quick Facts

  • ISBN: 9781578592098
  • PDF ISBN: 9781578592302
  • Kindle ISBN: 9781578592425
  • ePUB ISBN: 9781578592593
  • 392 pages
  • 100 photos and illustrations
  • 7.25" x 9.25" paperback
  • $39.95 ($32.95 Can.)

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