Center for Studies on New Religions
The Center for Studies on New Religions (il Centro Studi
sulle Nuove Religioni), generally known by the acronym for its
name in Italian, CESNUR, is the primary organization in continental
Europe focusing on the study of occult and New Age religion.
CESNUR was created in the mid-1980s by Italian lawyerscholar
Massimo Introvigne as an independent
international educational association of scholars interested in
new and alternative religions, occult and New Age religious
and spiritual groups being prominent among them. The association
held its first annual international conference in 1988,
the most recent being in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1999) and
Riga, Latvia (2000). While the CESNUR program covers the
whole field of new and alternative religious activity, its work fills
an important vacuum as the only international group expressing
concern about the Western esoteric tradition by promoting
information gathering and scholarly research on occult and
New Age groups.
An important aspect of the CESNUR program has been the
creation of a large research library now located at CESNUR’s
headquarters at Via Juvarra 20, 10122 Torino, Italy (to be
moved in the course of 2001 to Via Confienza 19, 10121 Torino,
Italy). It is the largest publicly accessible such library in Europe
and includes thousands of volumes treating ceremonial
magic, Wicca, Theosophy, Spiritualism, parapsychology, and
related topics. Introvigne has also created an expansive Internet
site at that includes selected research
papers from the CESNUR conferences, opinion papers on various
controversies, and special pages carrying ongoing updates
concerning such groups as the Church of Scientology and
AUM ShinrikyoAleph. The catalog of the CESNUR library is
fully accessible through the Internet site. Among the site’s
unique features is a Popular Culture page whose largest segment
covers news and issues related to vampires and vampirism.
CESNUR is headed by an international board of scholars.
It maintains a cordial relationship with the Institute for the
Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California, with
which it shares common research and educational goals. Introvigne
is the author of more than 25 books, primarily in Italian,
including Il Cappello del Mago (1990); Il ritorno dello gnosticismo
(1993); La sfida magica (1995); Il satanismo (1997); and New
Age & Next Age (2000). He is also the general editor of a series
of booklets on New Religious Movements that is currently appearing
in Italian, Spanish, and English, and has written numerous
articles for publication in English-language books and
scholarly journals.
CESNUR. June 11, 2000.
Introvigne, Massimo. Il Cappello del Mago. Milano SugarCo,
———. New Age & Next Age. Milano Opiemme, 2000.
———. Il ritorno dello gnosticismo. Milano SugarCo, 1993.
———. Il satanismo. Torino, Italy Editrice Elle DiCi, 1997.
———. La sfida magica. Milano Editrice Ancora, 1995.

Previous articleCartheuser, William (ca. 1930)
Next articleCatalepsy