Eugene Gallagher

Adjunct Instructor

Address: 4 Glebe St
Office Hours: By Appointment
Phone: 843-953-0895

In His Own Words

I am an historian of religions who focuses on the study of new religious movements in the United States and on religions in the Greco-Roman world.  I have published widely in those areas and on teaching about religion in higher education.  Having taught at Connecticut College for 37 years, I retired in 2015 as the Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus.  Before that, I taught at La Salle University and at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.  I’m delighted to be living in the Charleston area and to have the chance to teach at the College of Charleston.  Right now, I’m working on two book projects.  One is a book designed for students who are taking their first college course in the study of religion.  The other is a comprehensive reference work on new religions. 


Ph.D.       1980  University of Chicago (History of Religions)
M.A.        1974  University of Chicago (History of Religions)
B.A.         1972  La Salle College (Religion, Literature)

Research Interests

  • History of Religions
  • New Religious Movements
  • Western Scriptures and Traditions
  • Religion in the U.S.
  • Ancient Mediterranean Religions

Courses Taught



New Religions: Emerging Faiths and Religious Cultures in the Modern World (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, forthcoming), with Lydia Willsky-Ciollo

The Religious Studies Skills Book (London and New York: Bloomsbury, forthcoming), with Joanne Maguire Robinson 

Reading and Writing Scripture in New Religious Movements:  New Bibles and New Revelations (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2014) 

The New Religious Movements Experience in America (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004)           

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), with James D. Tabor (Japanese translation, 1995)

Expectation and Experience: Explaining Religious Conversion (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1990), Ventures in Religion, Vol. 2. 

Divine Man or Magician?  Celsus and Origen on Jesus (Chico, CA:  Scholars Press, 1982), SBLDS 64

Books Edited:

“Cult Wars” in Historical Perspective (New York: Routledge, 2016) 

Visioning New and Minority Religions: Projecting the Future (New York: Routledge, 2017) 

Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in the United States, 5 volumes (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006), with W. Michael Ashcraft, co-editor 

Recent Articles: 

“From the Church of Satan to the Temple of Set: Revisionism in the Satanic Milieu” in Eileen Barker and Beth Singler, eds., Radical Change in Minority Religions (London: Routledge, forthcoming) 

“A Guaranteed Future for New Religions” in Gallagher, ed., Visioning New and Minority Religions: Projecting the Future, pp. 74-83. 

“New Religious Movements and Scripture” in James. R. Lewis, ed., Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, 2nd ed.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 370-379.  

“Scientology’s Sunday Service: Scripture in Action,” Numen: International Review for the History of Religions 63 (2016), pp.  95-112. 

“Teaching Religious Studies” in Michael Waggoner & Nathan C. Walker, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Religion and American Education (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming) 

Co-editor with Benjamin E. Zeller, thematic issue on “Teaching New Religious Movements,” Spotlight on Teaching (January 2015); available at  

“Sketching the Contours of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion” (with Patricia O’Connell Killen), Teaching Theology and Religion 16 (2013) pp. 107-124.