Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. Urban

Media coverage related to the Church of Scientology.

Moderator: Moderator Media

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. Urban

Post by Sponge » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:39 pm

Scientology: Christmas Comes Early with TWO New Books on Hubbard's Wacky Cabal
by Tony Ortega, Village Voice 6th June 2011
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... gy_chr.php
(for the thread on the Janet Reithman book go here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=32938 )

The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion by Hugh B. Urban
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/069114608X
http://amzn.com/069114608X

Edit: Excerpts now on googlebooks: http://books.google.com/books?id=8lgHta ... frontcover
Product details
  • Hardcover:296 pages
  • Publisher:Princeton University Press (21 Aug 2011)
  • LanguageEnglish
  • ISBN-10:069114608X
  • ISBN-13:978-0691146089
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 15 x 1.5 cm

Product Description

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.

From the Inside Flap

"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, 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, author of Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal

brownjedi
Posts: 4968
Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 11:19 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by brownjedi » Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:16 pm

Urban is at Ohio State and has published a few things on scientology, including articles on fair game, Sex magik, and Lron's fascination with the occult.

He is an alum of GW....

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:30 pm

Tony Ortega has a closer look at Hugh B. Urban's book....

Scientology's Anti-Commie, Space Opera Beginnings, and Other Nuggets From New Academic Book
Village Voice 8th June 2011
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... gys_an.php

Comments open, as always.


also...
A previous academic paper from 2004 by Hugh B. Urban
Paper Title: "Fair Game: Secrecy, Security and the Church of Scientology in Cold War America"
http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/fair-game- ... ld-war.htm

User avatar
ChefXenu
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:32 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by ChefXenu » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:40 am

Hugh was one of my favorite professors when I was studying comparative religions at OSU. He's a brilliant guy, and he has had some experience with the CoS over the years. I can't wait to get my (already pre-ordered) copy :)
REB Slaughter (USN-RET)(SP V)
614-321-XENU http://www.chefxenu.net
4th (or 5th) Marcabian Invader Force Mess Saucer 1138

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:12 pm

Thanks Chef. I also noticed that you get a mention.

I heard about this book when it was first mentioned in a Chicago Tribune article on the legal challenge to their local protesting ordinance on churches (Urban was approached by the Tribune for comment and they pluggged his book). So, being curious, I looked into Urban's biography and bibliography and it was clear that this wasn't going to be another one of those pathetic apologetics style books such as those form Gordon Melton or J.R.Lewis etc.

User avatar
ChefXenu
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:32 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by ChefXenu » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:58 pm

lol, yeah, Hugh is definitely not on the CoS's list of beloved academics :P
REB Slaughter (USN-RET)(SP V)
614-321-XENU http://www.chefxenu.net
4th (or 5th) Marcabian Invader Force Mess Saucer 1138

User avatar
caroline
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:29 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by caroline » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:23 pm

I found Hugh Urban's Magia Sexualis helpful for his insights about Aleister Crowley.

Image

Chapter 4 online at Hubbard and the Babalon Working.
INTELLIGENCE SPECIALIST TRAINING ROUTINE – TR L
Purpose: To train the student to give a false statement with good TR-1. To train the student to outflow false data effectively.
Commands: Part l “Tell me a lie”.

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:56 pm

You can read generous excerpts from Hugh B. Urban's book on googlebooks, here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=8lgHta ... frontcover

User avatar
ChefXenu
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:32 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by ChefXenu » Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:53 pm

My copy came in the mail this afternoon! Woohoo!!!
REB Slaughter (USN-RET)(SP V)
614-321-XENU http://www.chefxenu.net
4th (or 5th) Marcabian Invader Force Mess Saucer 1138

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:06 am

Very much looking forward to your review, Chef.
Compared to Janet Reitman's book (although it is unfair to compare two very different beasts) I think this book stands to be of more interest to us here even though Reitmans's book stands to become the best seller in the class of books critical of the cult.

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:45 am

Others now seem to be getting their copies in advance of the August 21 release date.
moarxenu, posting on WWP, wrote:I just got my copy from Amazon about an hour ago. The book is superb and essential.

I first read the conclusion and then the major section on Anonymous. In the conclusion there is a sophisticated and multi-dimensional handling of the issue of whether Scientology is a religion, a cult, a business etc.

And he really understands what Anonymous and Project Chanology are about. I am going to stay up however late tonight is needed to devour the book in its entirety.

+10 internetz to you, Prof. Urban!!!
http://forums.whyweprotest.net/threads/ ... ion.92302/

User avatar
ChefXenu
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:32 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by ChefXenu » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:28 am

I just finished reading Hugh Urban's The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion, and loved it. Hugh has done truly phenomenal jobs both in placing Scientology in the historical context in which it arose and in handling the sensitive question of whether or not it is a religion (which is a problematic term for the academic even in the best of circumstances). As I expected, this makes it a perfect companion volume to Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology, which I believe does a good job of placing Scientology in the context of the lives of those who have experienced it.

Critics and (especially) Scientologists alike may find points in Hugh's book with which to take issue. Nearly all readers will likely be happy with his thorough documentation in the footnotes and bibliography. This book has reminded me of why I loved being a Religious Studies major, and I expect in years to come it will be required reading in comparative religion classes offered by many universities. By no means, however, does one need to be a university student to understand or enjoy this work, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subjects of Scientology, secrecy, religions, the cold war, etc....
REB Slaughter (USN-RET)(SP V)
614-321-XENU http://www.chefxenu.net
4th (or 5th) Marcabian Invader Force Mess Saucer 1138

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:13 pm

Book Review
Secrets, scandals, and the rise of Scientology
Controversy amid quest for religious status
Boston Globe 31st August 2011
by Glenn C. Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin professor of American studies at Cornell University
http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles ... _religion/

The “whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman, and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next trillions of years,’’ L. Ron Hubbard declared, “depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology. This is deadly serious activity.’’

Hubbard, Scientology’s founder and a writer of science fiction, meant what he said. The Church of Scientology, an immensely successful enterprise with Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its celebrity converts, has gone to great lengths to protect its secrets. The church has been, and remains, controversial, not least over the basic question of whether it is a religion or, as its critics charge, “a swindling business and a brainwashing cult.’’

In “The Church of Scientology,’’ Hugh B. Urban, a professor of religious studies at Ohio State University, provides 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, including espionage against government agencies, attacks on critics, abuse of members, and attempts to alter entries in Wikipedia.

[...continues in article link...]

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:21 pm

The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion by Hugh B Urban – review
This cautious dissection of L Ron Hubbard's ever-growing cult gives a fascinating insight into its workings
The Guardian (UK). 2nd Sept 2011
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/se ... ban-review
In its vetting of new members, the Church of Scientology once demanded not only the confession of misdemeanours in the current lifetime, but interrogated "the individual's subversive activities along the great time track going through myriad past lives". Among the questions asked were: "Have you ever enslaved a population?"; "Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?"; "Have you ever eaten a human body?"; "Have you ever zapped anyone?" It's easy to see why Hari Kunzru – in his Pynchonesque novel Gods Without Men – is the latest in a procession of authors to use the bizarre world of 20th-century cults as a setting for fiction. Rather more difficult is performing the kind of academic and anthropological inquiry into Scientology that Hugh Urban attempts in The Church of Scientology.

Urban's book is self-consciously scholarly and dry, weighed down by its wealth of footnotes and repeated references to Bourdieu, Simmel and Lévi-Strauss. Maintaining such learned disdain in the face of some seriously juicy material is clearly something of a strain. Urban draws readers' attention to the fact that his work "could probably serve as the basis for a spy novel or a thriller film" or that "the history of Scientology's quest for tax-exempt status is surely worthy of a book or even a detective novel of its own". He gives the impression that, having set out to write this scrupulously recondite account, he wishes for nothing more than to redraft it as a new Da Vinci Code.

Another problem for Urban is Scientology's ruthless pursuit of its detractors. In 1976, under the codename Operation Freakout, Scientologists allegedly carried out an orchestrated attack on a critical journalist, Paulette Cooper, aimed at getting her "incarcerated in a mental institution or jail". Since then, Scientology has gone after its enemies aggressively, using its vast wealth and army of lawyers to suppress the stories of disaffected former members and investigative journalists. Urban's portrayal of the workings of the cult is insistently measured, following what he terms – in a phrase as ugly as it is clumsy – a "hermeneutics of respect and a hermeneutics of suspicion". There are repeated references to "unexplored rabbit-holes" of narrative, blocked up for fear of antagonising Scientology's paranoid information police. This nervousness means that Urban's book has a strangely neutered feel, often passing off to other authors the job of interpreting the seamier sides of the religion.

The anxiety also has a formal effect, with Urban's style, already reeking of the lecture hall, muddied by hedging and equivocation. Nothing is firmly stated; everything is "arguable", "possible", "perhaps". The book sweats from fear of litigation.

These grumblings aside, The Church of Scientology is a fascinating book. Indeed, it may be the case that the arid prose and timid approach are the price we have to pay for the deep and often brilliant anthropological dissection that Urban carries out. Where more populist authors might find it difficult, for instance, to take seriously a religion that makes its most devoted followers sign a "billion-year contract", Urban is po-faced throughout. As a result, he is granted exceptional access to Scientologists and their detractors, and builds from the often barmy material a compelling picture of the birth of a new religion. For this is the book's central thesis: that by analysing how new religions emerge and flourish, we may better understand those whose origins are lost in the haze of time.

[...continues in article link...]

User avatar
Sponge
Posts: 14692
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:23 am
Location: U.K.

Re: Book: C of S : A history of a New Religion. by Hugh B. U

Post by Sponge » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:32 pm

Hugh Urban: An Interview With the Professor Who Took on Scientology
by Tony Ortega, Village Voice 14th Sept 2011
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninsca ... n_an_i.php
In June, we reviewed a remarkable new book about Scientology. A review copy of Hugh Urban's The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion, put out by the Princeton University Press, had arrived at our desk almost the same day as Janet Reitman's highly anticipated book about the church, Inside Scientology.

We were impressed by the way Urban, in only 216 pages, not only laid out a robust history of Scientology in a highly readable narrative, but also did what others really hadn't before: put L. Ron Hubbard's creation in the cultural and political context of its time -- Scientology is a Cold War product, and absorbed all of that era's paranoia and desire for secrecy.

Urban's book was also impressive for its depth of research -- here in one volume were citations of many of the most significant court decisions that have rocked Scientology over the decades, as well as concise rundowns of many other church controversies. The book makes for a great companion to Reitman's journalistic approach: both books have come out at about the same time, and both with common goals of looking at a controversial subject from an objective, scholarly point of view.

I really only had one question after I was finished with the book: who the heck is Hugh B. Urban?

​With his book now in stores, I called up Professor Urban to talk to him about his background and his goals now that he's put out such an impressive volume.

The Ohio State University professor tells me that he's the son of a psychologist, and comes from a religious Episcopal family, which may help explain why he's been interested in particular in the way secrecy is used in religion.

[...continues in article link...]
Very interesting article, including Urban's plans for the future regarding scientology research.
Do read.

Post Reply

Return to “Media Reports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest