Schism (from the Greek 'to split') refers to a group that breaks away from ather, usually larger organisation and forms a new organisation. Though the term is typically confined to religious schisms, it can be extended to other kinds of breakaway groups. Because schisms emerge out of controversies, the term has negative contations. Though they are an important component of many analyses, schisms in general have t been subjected to systematic analysis. This volume provides the first book-length study of religious schisms as a general phemen. Some chapters examine specific case studies while others provide surveys of the history of schisms within larger religious traditions, such as Islam and Buddhism. Other chapters are more theoretically focused. Examples are drawn from a wide variety of different traditions and geographical areas, from early Mediterranean Christianity to modern Japanese New Religions, and from the Jehovah's Witnesses to Neo-Pagans.
James R. Lewis is lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. He is editor of a number of collected works including The Invention of Sacred Tradition (2007) with Olav Hammer and author of numerous books and articles including Legitimating New Religions (2003). Sarah M. Lewis is Lecturer in Religious Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Lampeter.