CESNUR: The Center for Studies on New Religions

CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions (Via Confienza 19, 10121 Torino, Italy, phone 39-011-541950, fax 39-011-541905, E-mail: cesnur_to@virgilio.it), was established in 1988 by a group of religious scholars from leading universities in Europe and the Americas. Its managing director, professor Massimo Introvigne, has held teaching positions in the field of sociology and history of religion in a number of Italian universities. He is the author of twenty-three books and the editor of another ten in the field of religious sciences. CESNUR’s original aim was to offer a professional association to scholars specialized in religious minorities, new religious movements, contemporary esoteric, spiritual and gnostic schools, and the new religious consciousness in general. In the 1990s it became apparent that inaccurate information was being disseminated to the media and the public powers by activists associated with the international anti-cult movement. Some new religious movements also disseminated unreliable or partisan information. CESNUR became more pro-active and started supplying information on a regular basis, opening public centers and organising conferences and seminars for the general public in a variety of countries. Today CESNUR is a network of independent but related organizations of scholars in various countries, devoted to promote scholarly research in the field of new religious consciousness, to spread reliable and responsible information, and to expose the very real problems associated with some movements, while at the same time defending everywhere the principles of religious liberty. While established in 1988 by scholars who were mostly Roman Catholic, CESNUR has had from its very beginning boards of directors including scholars of a variety of religious persuasions. It is independent from any Church, denomination or religious movement. CESNUR International was recognized as a public non-profit entity in 1996 by the Italian authorities, who are the main current contributors to its projects. It is also financed by royalties on the books it publishes with different publishers, and by contributions of the members. As a public non-profit entity, accounts of its projects are filed with the Region of Piedmont, in Italy.

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