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Massimo Introvigne

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Massimo Introvigne
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Born (1955-06-14) June 14, 1955 (age 69)
Websitemassimointrovigne.com Edit this at Wikidata

Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955, in Rome) is an Italian Roman Catholic[1] sociologist of religion[2] and intellectual property attorney.[3][4] He is a founder and the managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), a Turin-based organization which has been described as "the highest profile lobbying and information group for controversial religions".[5]

Life and work[edit]

Introvigne was born in Rome on June 14, 1955.[6][7] Introvigne earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Rome's Gregorian University in 1975, and in 1979 his Dr.Jur. from University of Turin.[8][3] He worked from the law firm Jacobacci e Associati as an intellectual property attorney, specialized in domain names.[4]

In 1972, he joined conservative Catholic group Alleanza Cattolica.[9][better source needed] From 2008 to 2016 he served as vice-president of the group.[10]

In 1988 he co-founded CESNUR and has since served as the group director.[11][12][13]

Beginning in 2012, Introvigne was listed as an "invited professor of sociology of religious movements" at the Salesian Pontifical University in Turin.[14][15]

In 2012, Introvigne was appointed chairperson of the newly-formed Observatory of Religious Liberty of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[16] Beginning in 2018, Introvigne was editor-in-chief of the daily magazine on religion and human rights in China, Bitter Winter, which is published by CESNUR.[17][18]

Introvigne is a proponent of the theory of religious economy developed by Rodney Stark.[19][20]

New religious movements[edit]

Swedish academic Per Faxneld, writing for Reading Religion, described Introvigne as "one of the major names in the study of new religions."[21] Sociologist Roberto Cipriani has called Introvigne "one of the Italian sociologists of religion most well-known abroad, and among the world's leading scholars of new religious movements".[22]

In 2001, sociologist Stephen A. Kent described Introvigne as a "persistent critic of any national attempts to identify or curtail so-called 'cults'",[5] arguing that,

"In the context, therefore, of the debate over Scientology in France and Germany, CESNUR is a think-tank and lobbying group, attempting to advance Scientology's legitimation goals by influencing European and American governmental policies toward it. It is not a neutral academic association, even less so because on its web page Introvigne intermingles ideological positions within solid research and information. On issues, however, that are key to the religious human rights debates — apostates, brainwashing, undue influence, compromised academic research, 'sect' membership and the potential for harm, critical information exchange on the Internet, etc. — he advocates doctrinaire positions that favour groups like Scientology."[5]

In the mid-1990s, Introvigne testified on behalf of Scientologists in a criminal trial in Lyon.[5] After Introvigne was critical of the publication of the 1995 report on cults by the French government, journalists described Introvigne as a "cult apologist", saying he was tied to the Catholic Alliance and Silvio Berlusconi's then ruling party.[23] Introvigne responded that his scholarly and political activities were not connected.[24]

Introvigne has written on the concept of brainwashing.[25] He[who?] published an Encyclopedia of Religion in Italy.[11]

Journalist and Scientology-critic Tony Ortega penned a series of 2018/19 articles criticizing The Journal of CESNUR as an unreliable "apologist journal".[26][27][28]

Popular culture and vampires[edit]

Introvigne is also director of CESPOC, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.[29]

He was the Italian director of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, which included the leading academic scholars in the field of the literary and historical study of vampire myth.[30][31] In 1997, J. Gordon Melton and Introvigne organized an event at the Westin Hotel in Los Angeles where 1,500 attendees came dressed as vampires for a "creative writing contest, Gothic rock music and theatrical performances".[30]


  • Le nuove Religioni, SugarCo (1989), ISBN 978-8871980904.
  • Il cappello del mago: i nuovi movimenti magici dallo spiritismo al satanismo, SugarCo (1990), ISBN 978-8871980218.
  • Il ritorno dello gnosticismo , SugarCo (1993), ISBN 88-7198-216-9.
  • Les Mormons, Brepols (December 30, 1996), ISBN 2-503-50063-3.
  • The Unification Church (Studies in Contemporary Religions, 2), Signature Books (September 1, 2000) ISBN 1-56085-145-7.
  • Rodney Stark and Massimo Introvigne, Dio è tornato. Indagine sulla rivincita delle religioni in Occidente, Piemme (2003), ISBN 978-8838465840.
  • Laurence R. Iannaccone and Massimo Introvigne, Il Mercato dei Martiri. L'industria del terrorismo suicida, Lindau (2004), ISBN 978-8871805146.
  • Satanism: A Social History, Brill (2016), ISBN 978-90-04-28828-7.
  • The Plymouth Brethren, Oxford University Press (2018), ISBN 9780190842420.
  • Il libro nero della persecuzione religiosa in Cina, SugarCo (2019), ISBN 978-88-7198-753-8.
  • Inside The Church of Almighty God: The Most Persecuted Religious Movement in China, Oxford University Press (2020), ISBN 978-0190089092

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Introvigne, Massimo (March 20, 2021). "The Ghent Jehovah's Witness Decision: Dangerous for All Religions". Bitter Winter. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Jason Horowitz, "A Clash of Worldviews as Pope Meets Putin", The New York Times, July 4, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "WIPO List of Neutrals, Biographical Data, Massimo Introvigne" (PDF). WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization. n.d. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Olivero, Dario (August 7, 2003). "Cliccavi su Jagermeister trovavi un portale porno". La Repubblica. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d Kent, Stephen A. (January 2001). "The French and German versus American debate over 'new religions', Scientology and human rights". Marburg Journal of Religion. 6 (1). University of Marburg: 15. doi:10.17192/mjr.2001.6.3742.
  6. ^ "Sì alla famiglia, Massimo Introvigne parla di un'istituzione in pericolo". Modena Today. Modena, Italy. February 10, 2015. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Massimo Introvigne: Fondamentalismo islamico: martiri o terroristi". Brundisium.net. Brindisi, Italy. November 30, 2005. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  8. ^ "Avvocati - Massimo Introvigne".
  9. ^ "Massimo Introvigne, Twenty Years of CESNUR". CESNUR. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  10. ^ See "Massimo Introvigne non è più il reggente nazionale vicario di Alleanza Cattolica," La fede quotidiana, 28 April 2016, "Massimo Introvigne non è più il reggente nazionale vicario di Alleanza Cattolica". April 28, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Stausberg, Michael (2009). "The study of religion(s) in Western Europe III: Further developments after World War II". Religion. 39 (3): 261–282. doi:10.1016/j.religion.2009.06.001. S2CID 144600043.
  12. ^ Arweck, Elizabeth (2006). Researching New Religious Movements: Responses and Redefinitions. London: Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-1138059887.
  13. ^ Garde, Serge (June 27, 2001). "Les liaisons dangereuses des universités lyonnaises" [The dangerous liaisons of Lyon universities]. L'Humanité (in French). Archived from the original on January 25, 2023. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
  14. ^ "Massimo Introvigne". torino.unisal.it. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Cocchi, Francesca (October 16, 2013). "Le sette religiose, viste da "dentro"". RSI Rete Uno. Lugano, Switzerland. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  16. ^ "Nasce a Roma l'Osservatorio della libertà religiosa - Vatican Insider". Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  17. ^ "Bitter Winter". Bitter Winter. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  18. ^ ""Bitter Winter", in Italia un nuovo quotidiano online su religione e diritti umani in Cina". La Stampa (in Italian). April 14, 2018.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Bruni, Frank (October 13, 2003). "Faith Fades where It Once Burned Strong". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Faxneld, Per (March 7, 2017). "Satanism: A Social History, Review". Reading Religion.
  22. ^ Cipriani, Roberto (2009). Nuovo manuale di sociologia della religione (in Italian) (2nd ed.). Rome: Borla. p. 470.
  23. ^ See for example Serge Faubert, "Le vrai visage des sectes", L'Evenement du jeudi, 4-10.11.1993, pp. 44-48; Bruno Fouchereau, "Les sectes, cheval de Troie des Etats-Unis en Europe," Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2001, 1. Susan Palmer, The New Heretics of France: Minority Religions, la Republique, and the Government-Sponsored "War on Sects", New York: Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 9780199735211.
  24. ^ See Massimo Introvigne, "CESNUR: a short history", In: Gallagher, Eugene V, (ed.), "Cult Wars" in Historical Perspective: New and Minority Religions. Routledge. pp. 23–31. ISBN 978-1-317-15666-6.
  25. ^ Thomas Gandow: Die APA-Lüge – ein Wissenschaftsskandal (german), Berliner Dialog 1–98, 1998, p. 27.
  26. ^ Ortega, Tony (June 19, 2019). "Ignore the apologists: Yes, L. Ron Hubbard lied about having an engineering degree". The Underground Bunker.
  27. ^ Ortega, Tony (April 11, 2018). "A new academic book takes apart Scientology and pop culture, and the apologists hate it". The Underground Bunker.
  28. ^ Owen, Chris (June 21, 2019). "Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, 'Provost Marshal': Another apologist claim debunked". The Underground Bunker.
  29. ^ "CESPOC - Center for Studies on Popular Culture - Centro Studi sulla Popular Culture". www.popularculture.it (in Italian). Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Bidwell, Carol (July 23, 1997). "Coffin Break To Vampires Everywhere, Fangs For The Memories". Los Angeles Daily News.
  31. ^ The Board of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, American Chapter.

External links[edit]