Thursday, April 13, 2006

The encylopedic mind of J. Gordon Melton

The Los Angeles Times interviews J. Gordon Melton, a major figure in the study of new religious movements.

It's often said of academics, but for J. Gordon Melton it's true: He really does have an encyclopedic mind.

After all, Melton is the author of the
Encyclopedia of American Religions, the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology and the Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena.

Then, for fun, there's
The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead.

"It's my little niche," Melton said.

Actually, it's a big niche.

Erudite and eternally curious, Melton, 64, is one of the nation's foremost authorities on religion (and vampires too, but more on that later). The research specialist with the department of religious studies at UC Santa Barbara has written 30 books and co-written or edited 17 more, all of which are expansive and eclectic, and weave a colorful and diverse history of the currents of spiritual worship and tensions around the world.

He is the reason that I was shipping cartons of old Pagan magazines to Santa Barbara.



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