On the Criteria for Classifying Religious Organizations, Or how Wallis “Ascended” the Moonies

  • Danijel Sinani Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
Unification church, Roy Wallis, J. Gordon Melton, typology, criteria for classification


The paper considers the criteria for the classification of religious organizations utilized by Roy Wallis and Gordon Melton in their typologies. The Unification church, which can be found in categories established in accordance to different criteria in the work of the two aforementioned authors, is used as an example for consideration. These typologies have handled the changes in operation and organization of this religious movement differently. Aside from noting a specific kind of paradox with regard to the position of the Unification church in these typologies and posing a number of questions pertaining to the choice of “adequate” criteria for the classification of religious organizations, the paper presents a critical overview of Wallis’ and Melton’s typologies, as well as the Unification church itself.


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