L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology: An annotated bibliographical survey of primary and selected secondary literature - 1999-07-01
No New Religious Movement has been a subject of more public interest and of more heated discussions in Germany during the last two decades than Scientology. I first became interested in this debate in the early Eighties, but only in 1996/1997 - after completing a similar project about Theosophy and Helena Blavatsky - I seriously started to search for available material on Hubbard and the movement he founded. Only then I became aware of the rather paradoxical situation in Germany, that there exists a large New Religious Movement (whose status as a religion nevertheless is doubted by some) which is being discussed on German TV almost every week, which forms a topic of forensic debate in many legal proceedings, and which is the one movement treated most extensively in the official report on New Religious Movements published by the German parliament (Endbericht der Enquete-Kommission des Deutschen Bundestages "Sogenannte Sekten und Psychogruppen", 1998) - but nevertheless has almost never been treated on an academic level of research.
One simple reason for this situation immediately became clear to me: no German public (or academic) library has a collection of the pertinent material deserving the name. Some of the critical books about Scientology (Kaufman's, Haack's, Thiede's) are easily available. There is also no dearth of books by former Scientologists that want to expose the movement. Some of these are quite valuable (as Atack's A Piece of Blue Sky). Others are not. Also they are extremely repetitive. When turning to the sources (that is, the writings of L. Ron Hubbard) I quickly discovered that they were hardly read by critics and sometimes not much more by sympathisers. Of the large output of Hubbard, the same 5 or 10 titles turned up again and again. A first step into research seemed to me to compile a bibliography of material available and to get a personal look at Hubbard as a writer. A minor outcome of this is my biographical article on Hubbard forthcoming in the supplements to Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (Verlag Traugott Bautz, Herzberg). This article contains as an appendix also a bibliography of which the following is an abridged, but also annotated version.