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Pagan Theology

Paganism as a World Religion

Michael York

Publication Year: 2003

In Pagan Theology, Michael York situates Paganism—one of the fastest-growing spiritual orientations in the West—as a world religion. He provides an introduction to, and expansion of, the concept of Paganism and provides an overview of Paganism's theological perspective and practice. He demonstrates it to be a viable and distinguishable spiritual perspective found around the world today in such forms as Chinese folk religion, Shinto, tribal religions, and neo-Paganism in the West.

While adherents to many of these traditions do not use the word “pagan” to describe their beliefs or practices, York contends that there is an identifiable position possessing characteristics and understandings in common for which the label “pagan” is appropriate. After outlining these characteristics, he examines many of the world's major religions to explore religious behaviors in other religions which are not themselves pagan, but which have pagan elements. In the course of examining such behavior, York provides rich and lively descriptions of religions in action, including Buddhism and Hinduism.

Pagan Theology claims Paganism’s place as a world religion, situating it as a religion, a behavior, and a theology.

Published by: NYU Press

Contents

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pp. v-

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

Witches and neopagans are increasingly becoming fixtures on American campuses, especially the contemporary liberal university alleged to foster “destructive experimentation with personal identity.” The associate provost of Boston University, Peter Wood, for example, does not find neopagans particularly dangerous but simply confused, deluded, frivolous, and devoid of intellectual seriousness. “Little inanities that once would ...

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Pagan Theology Introduction

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pp. xi-7

I believe in the supernatural, but I cannot demonstrate its existence. It is, by definition, beyond the empirical dimension of factual truths. Thomas Aquinas coined the term to refer to what is thought to be privileged above the agency and laws of nature, but I prefer the term preternatural as encompassing whatever is other than the ordinary, explicable, and ...

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1. Paganism as Religion

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pp. 8-65

The difficulty in comprehending paganism as a world religion was made clear on the Nature Religions electronic discussion list after its participants failed to achieve official recognition in the American Academy of Religion. Part of the ensuing debate involved whether any future bid ought to be made again in the name of nature religion(s) or that of ...

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2. Paganism as Behavior

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pp. 66-156

The Hawaiian heiau, or indigenous pre-Christian temple, is usually a dry-stone rectangular structure. Its enclosing wall is low, and there is no roof. In essence, the surrounding wall is one of demarcation only. These are venerable enclosures, however, dating to precolonial times. Nevertheless, even today visitors find inside the heiau’s walls stones piled on top of one another, usually three high but perhaps as many as six, with ...

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3. Paganism as Theology

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pp. 157-168

In the development of a more complete and accurate understanding of what constitutes paganism, along with understanding paganism as religion and understanding paganism as cultic behavior, we must also understand paganism as a theological ideal type. But because of its peculiar nature when compared with other world religions, what is most appropriate to paganism is poly- and ad hoc ...

Notes

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pp. 169-205

References

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pp. 207-227

Index

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pp. 229-238

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About the Author

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pp. 239-

Michael York is principal lecturer for the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University College. He is director of the Bath Archive for Contemporary Religious Affairs, as well as codirector of the Academy for Cultural and Educational Studies ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780814797389
E-ISBN-10: 0814797385
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814797020
Print-ISBN-10: 0814797024

Page Count: 252
Publication Year: 2003