Violence and Religious Commitment

Violence and Religious Commitment

Implications of Jim Jones's People's Temple Movement

Book - 1982
Rate this:

Was the tragedy at Jonestown "an isolated case," or was it "an example of extremist cult behavior that emerges in times of great social upheaval?" The answer to this question, according to the contributors to this book, is important to all Americans as a basis for evaluating social and educational policy. Part I considers the general topic of sect violence, offering three positions. Chapter 1 contends that societal disruptions of the 1970's spawned distortions of alienation and devotion, resulting in "both extremely hostile and extremely selfless behavior. " Chapter 2 denies that the People's Temple resembled other new religious groups in significant ways, maintaining that the Jonestown massacre was a secular rather than a religious event. Chapter 3 takes an in-between position, holding that the People's Temple shared apocalyptic and communitarian views with other modern cults, but differed in respect to its leader's radicalism and paranoia.

Part II presents three conceptual models for analyzing the People's Temple. Part III deals with reactions to Jonestown and other cult behavior, especially overreactions. Part IV, Chapter 11, is a first-hand account by a disillusioned former member who was murdered, reportedly by a People's Temple "hit squad," in February 1980, just after completing this chapter.

Publisher: University Park : Pennsylvania State University Press, c1982
ISBN: 9780271002965
Call Number: 289.2 V812
Characteristics: xv, 207 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Levi, Ken 1946-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SFPL

To Top