Jehovah’s Witnesses: A New Introduction

Bloomsbury Academic. Jan. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9781350190894. pap. $29.95. REL
Chryssides, a religious studies scholar and author of the magisterial Jehovah’s Witnesses: Continuity and Change, here provides the informed general reader a thorough, impartial introduction to one of the most controversial religious movements of our time. The author has vast experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses, having been engaged in fieldwork with them for over 30 years. His book focuses on the lived aspect of the religion and covers the life course of a Witness from birth to death, and Chryssides describes Jehovah’s Witness rites with great sensitivity. Chryssides’s work is justified by the long-unfulfilled need for a dispassionate book about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most of the existing literature on Jehovah’s Witnesses has been polemical, written either by the denomination’s adherents and apologists or by its opponents. Chryssides’s book doesn’t avoid contentious JW issues, such as internal dissent or persecution, but because the author might be thought of as a friendly observer, his overview will appeal to a wide audience that seeks understanding rather than controversy.
VERDICT With accessible writing, this is a much-needed examination of a pivotal religious movement.
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