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Paganism: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Owen Davies
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191620017
Pages: 160
Year: 2011-05-26
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'Paganism' is an evocative word that, even today, conjures up deep-seated emotions and prejudices. Until recently, it was primarily a derogatory term used by Christians to describe the non-Christian cultures confronted and vanquished by their Churches. For some it evokes images of sacrifice and barbaric behaviour, while for others it symbolises a peace-loving, nature-worshipping spiritual relationship with the earth. This Very Short Introduction explores the meaning of paganism - through a chronological overview of the attitudes towards its practices and beliefs - from the ancient world through to the present day. Owen Davies largely looks at paganism through the eyes of the Christian world, and how, over the centuries, notions and representations of its nature were shaped by religious conflict, power struggles, colonialism, and scholarship. Despite the expansion of Christianity and Islam, Pagan cultures continue to exist around the world, whilst in the West new formations of paganism constitute one of the fastest-growing religions. Focussing on paganism in Europe, but exploring the nature of paganism globally, Davies looks at how Europeans discovered new cultures through colonial expansion, missionary work, and anthropological study. Contemporary social paganism can be a liberating and social force, and the idea of a global Pagan theology is now on the religious map. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Magic: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Owen Davies
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191623881
Pages: 152
Year: 2012-01-26
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Defining 'magic' is a maddening task. Over the last century numerous philosophers, anthropologists, historians, and theologians have attempted to pin down its essential meaning, sometimes analysing it in such complex and abstruse depth that it all but loses its sense altogether. For this reason, many people often shy away from providing a detailed definition, assuming it is generally understood as the human control of supernatural forces. 'Magic' continues to pervade the popular imagination and idiom. People feel comfortable with its contemporary multiple meanings, unaware of the controversy, conflict, and debate its definition has caused over two and a half millennia. In common usage today 'magic' is uttered in reference to the supernatural, superstition, illusion, trickery, religious miracles, fantasies, and as a simple superlative. The literary confection known as 'magical realism' has considerable appeal and many modern scientists have ironically incorporated the word into their vocabulary, with their 'magic acid', 'magic bullets' and 'magic angles'. Since the so-called European Enlightenment magic has often been seen as a marker of primitivism, of a benighted earlier stage of human development. Yet across the modern globalized world hundreds of millions continue to resort to magic - and also to fear it. Magic provides explanations and remedies for those living in extreme poverty and without access to alternatives. In the industrial West, with its state welfare systems, religious fundamentalists decry the continued moral threat posed by magic. Under the guise of neo-Paganism, its practice has become a religion in itself. Magic continues to be a truly global issue. This Very Short Introduction does not attempt to provide a concluding definition of magic: it is beyond simple definition. Instead it explores the many ways in which magic, as an idea and a practice, has been understood and employed over the millennia. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Malcolm Gaskill
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019923695X
Pages: 146
Year: 2010-03-25
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Examines the history and origins of witchcraft, from pre-history to the present day, considering why it still features so heavily in our culture
Druids: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191613789
Pages: 160
Year: 2010-05-27
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Who were the Druids? What do we know about them? Do they still exist today? The Druids first came into focus in Western Europe - Gaul, Britain, and Ireland - in the second century BC. They are a popular subject; they have been known and discussed for over 2,000 years and few figures flit so elusively through history. They are enigmatic and puzzling, partly because of the lack of knowledge about them has resulted in a wide spectrum of interpretations. Barry Cunliffe takes the reader through the evidence relating to the Druids, trying to decide what can be said and what can't be said about them. He examines why the nature of the druid caste changed quite dramatically over time, and how successive generations have interpreted the phenomenon in very different ways. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Paganism in the Roman Empire
Author: Ramsay MacMullen
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300029845
Pages: 241
Year: 1981
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MacMullen...has published several books in recent years which establish him, rightfully, as a leading social historian of the Roman Empire. The current volume exhibits many of the characteristics of its predecessors: the presentation of novel, revisionist points of view...; discrete set pieces of trenchant argument which do not necessarily conform to the boundaries of traditional history; and an impressive, authoritative, and up-to-date documentation, especially rich in primary sources...A stimulating and provocative discourse on Roman paganism as a phenomenon worthy of synthetic investigation in its own right and as the fundamental context for the rise of Christianity.-Richard Brilliant, History MacMullen's latest work represents many features of paganism in its social context more vividly and clearly than ever before.-Fergus Millar, American Historical Review The major cults...are examined from a social and cultural perspective and with the aid of many recently published specialized studies...Students of the Roman Empire...should read this book.-Robert J, Penella, Classical World A distinguished book with much exact observation...An indispensable mine of erudition on a grand theme. Henry Chadwick, Times Literary Supplement Ramsay MacMullen is Dunham Professor of History and Classics at Yale University and the author of Roman Government's Response to Crisis, A.D. 235-337 and Roman Social Relations, 50 B.C. to A.D. 284
Godless Paganism: Voices of Non-theistic Pagans
Author: John Halstead
Publisher: Lulu Press, Inc
ISBN: 1329988493
Pages:
Year: 2016-04-05
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Even in pagan antiquity, there were those who, while participating in the community’s religious life, did not believe in literal gods. In the centuries that followed the Christian domination of the West, the epithet “godless pagan” was leveled at a wide variety of people. In the 1960s, there emerged a community of people who sought to reclaim the name “pagan” from its history of opprobrium. These Neo-Pagans were interested in nature spirituality and polytheism, and identified with the misunderstood and persecuted pagans of antiquity. While many Pagans today believe in literal gods, there are a growing number of Pagans who are “godless.” Today, the diverse assemblage of spiritual paths known as Paganism includes atheist Pagans or Atheopagans, Humanistic and Naturalistic Pagans, Buddho-Pagans, animists, pantheists, Gaians, and other non-theistic Pagans. Here, their voices are gathered together to share what it means to be Pagan and godless.
Introduction to Pagan Studies
Author: Barbara Jane Davy
Publisher: Rowman Altamira
ISBN: 0759108196
Pages: 245
Year: 2007
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A text on the academic study of contemporary wicca and paganism throughout the world.
African Religions
Author: Jacob K. Olupona
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199790582
Pages: 152
Year: 2014
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What are African religions? African Religions: A Very Short Introduction answers this question by examining primarily indigenous religious traditions on the African continent. It focuses on the diversity of people, ethnic groups, languages, cultures, ethos, and worldviews, keeping in mind the continent's regional diversity. Using a multidisciplinary methodological approach, Olupona examines a wide range of African religious traditions on their own terms as well as in their pluralistic social, cultural, and political contexts. Cultural and postcolonial interpretive frameworks benefit the discussion. For example, the book moves beyond ethnographic descriptions and interpretations of core beliefs and practices to look at how African religion has engaged issues of socioeconomic development and power relations. Sources for this book include archaeological and historical references. Additionally, Olupona uses ethnographic materials based on fieldwork collected through interviewsand participant observation, along with archival materials, including missionary records, which describe African religious practices. Though the emphasis is on native faith traditions, these are not static traditions. African religions have responded to changes within their local communities and to fluxes caused by outside influences. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects - from Islam to Sociology,Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative - yet always balanced and complete - discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Religion in America: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Timothy Beal
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199729514
Pages: 144
Year: 2008-07-29
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It's hard to think of a single aspect of American culture, past or present, in which religion has not played a major role. The roles religion plays, moreover, become more bewilderingly complex and diverse every day. For all those who want--whether out of curiosity, necessity, or civic duty--a vivid picture and fuller understanding of the current reality of religion in America, this Very Short Introduction is the go-to book they need. Timothy Beal describes many aspects of religion in contemporary America that are typically ignored in other books on the subject, including religion in popular culture and counter-cultural groups; the growing phenomenon of "hybrid" religious identities, both individual and collective; the expanding numbers of new religious movements, or NRMs, in America; and interesting examples of "outsider religion," such as Paradise Gardens in Georgia and the People Love People House of God in Ohio. He also offers an engaging overview of the history of religion in America, from Native American traditions to the present day. Beal sees three major forces shaping the present and future of religion in America: first, unprecedented religious diversity, which will continue to grow in the decades to come; second, the information revolution and the emergence of a new network society; and third, the rise of consumer culture. Taken together, these forces offer the potential to create a new American pluralism that would enrich society in unimaginable ways, but they also threaten the great ideal of e pluribus unum. With visual aids that help readers navigate America's diverse religious landscape, this informative, thoughtful, and provocative book is a must-read in the emerging public conversation concerning religion in America. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
Seeking the Mystery
Author: Christine Hoff Kraemer
Publisher:
ISBN: 1939221188
Pages: 136
Year: 2012
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Contemporary Paganism focuses on practice, often neglecting theology. Yet belief and practice are intertwined. As the religious movement continues to grow, so does the need for intellectual frameworks for practice and ways of approaching the controversial question of belief. In this book, Christine Hoff Kraemer asks central questions about the varieties of Pagan belief: Why is multiplicity so important to contemporary Pagan understanding of deities? How do Pagans experience divinity in nature? In what way can the human body be a sacred site? And what are "virtue ethics" for Pagans? With an estimated 1.2 million Pagans in the United States and significant numbers elsewhere, Seeking the Mystery is important for Pagan self-understanding and also for non-Pagans who want to understand what their Pagan neighbors believe. This short introduction to Pagan theology--or better, theologies--is a valuable primer for students and practitioners alike.
The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft and Magic
Author: Owen Davies
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191034002
Pages: 416
Year: 2017-02-09
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This richly illustrated history provides a readable and fresh approach to the extensive and complex story of witchcraft and magic. Telling the story from the dawn of writing in the ancient world to the globally successful Harry Potter films, the authors explore a wide range of magical beliefs and practices, the rise of the witch trials, and the depiction of the Devil-worshipping witch. The book also focuses on the more recent history of witchcraft and magic, from the Enlightenment to the present, exploring the rise of modern magic, the anthropology of magic around the globe, and finally the cinematic portrayal of witches and magicians, from The Wizard of Oz to Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Christian Art
Author: Beth Williamson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019280328X
Pages: 132
Year: 2004-06-24
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This work decodes the key themes, signs and symbols found in Christian art - the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary. It also explores the theological and historical background of Christian imagery, from the devotional works of the medieval and Renaissance periods, to the 21st century.
Celtic Flame
Author: Aedh Rua
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 0595529704
Pages: 168
Year: 2008-10
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This book is a complete, practical guide to Irish Pagan traditions that will give you access to essential information about the Pagan Irish deities, spirits, worldview, values, and way of life. More important, it includes information on tools, rituals, and magick that will allow you to begin practicing right away! With Celtic Flame, you can begin practicing Irish Paganism, accessing the power of the Irish deities and spirits with rituals that work! Beyond this, it gives you the inside scoop on the Irish deities, who they are, what they want, and how to get them on your side. So, get this book and begin practicing a more meaningful and authentic Celtic path than you ever thought possible.
Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction
Author: Philip Sheldrake
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191642436
Pages: 152
Year: 2012-11-29
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It has been suggested that 'spirituality' has become a word that 'can define an era'. Why? Because paradoxically, alongside a decline in traditional religious affiliations, the growing interest in spirituality and the use of the word in a variety of contexts is a striking aspect of contemporary western cultures. Indeed, spirituality is sometimes contrasted attractively with religion, although this is problematic and implies that religion is essentially dogma, moralism, institutions, buildings, and hierarchies. The notion of spirituality expresses the fact that many people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Broadly, it refers to the deepest values and sense of meaning by which people seek to live. Sometimes these values are conventionally religious. Sometimes they are associated with what is understood as 'the sacred' in a broader sense - that is, of ultimate rather than merely instrumental importance. This Very Short Introduction, written by one of the most eminent scholars and writers on spirituality, explores the historical foundations of the thought and considers how it came to have the significance it is developing today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
A History of Pagan Europe
Author: Prudence Jones, Nigel Pennick
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136141723
Pages: 288
Year: 2013-10-11
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The first comprehensive study of its kind, this fully illustrated book establishes Paganism as a persistent force in European history with a profound influence on modern thinking. From the serpent goddesses of ancient Crete to modern nature-worship and the restoration of the indigenous religions of eastern Europe, this wide-ranging book offers a rewarding new perspective of European history. In this definitive study, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick draw together the fragmented sources of Europe's native religions and establish the coherence and continuity of the Pagan world vision. Exploring Paganism as it developed from the ancient world through the Celtic and Germanic periods, the authors finally appraise modern Paganism and its apparent causes as well as addressing feminist spirituality, the heritage movement, nature-worship and `deep' ecology This innovative and comprehensive history of European Paganism will provide a stimulating, reliable guide to this popular dimension of religious culture for the academic and the general reader alike.