Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Michael York’s audacious redrawing of traditional religious boundaries and scholarly categories reaffirms paganism's place both as legitimate spiritual expression and as a field of academic inquiry.”
-Chas S. Clifton,Colorado State University-Pueblo

“An ambitious book, one that argues and then demonstrates that paganism is an important religious perspective by tracing specific themes through a surprisingly wide variety of spiritual traditions. This is the first successful attempt to articulate a theology that is based on what paganism is, rather than on what it is not when compared to Judeo/Christian traditions. York's work is an important contribution to the study of religion in general, and foundational for the emerging field of Pagan Studies. It is the beginning of a whole new dialogue.”
-Wendy Griffin,editor of Daughters of the Goddess

“Folk religionists and those interested in placing 'pagan phenomena' in the context of worldwide religiousity will find York's book interesting.”
-Missiology: An International Review

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“I have little doubt that it will reinvigorate not only the debate over the definition of religion but, perhaps more significantly, the debate over where one religion starts and another ends.”
-Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
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“Scholarly, but wholly accessible.”
-Terry Gifford ,University of Leeds

Library Journal
York (The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-Pagan Movements) endeavors to demonstrate that paganism in its many varieties has an underlying unity. He argues that it is international, viable, distinct from other spiritual perspectives, and present in the many local folk cultuses. While York notes a number of common themes in the folk/indigenous religious traditions, and he is correct that world religions have emerged from or been influenced by the local religious cults of country people, his analysis does not stand up well. He argues that American Indian religions, Asian shamanism, Chinese folk religion, aspects of common Hindu ritual, and modern neo-paganism somehow reflect an underlying common worldview, yet he does not address their vast differences in perspective. He also fails to engage in a thorough academic study of pagan cultus, instead providing an analysis of his personal experiences in certain cultures to which he has traveled. The best introductions to modern paganism remain Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon and Starhawk's The Spiral Dance, both originally published in 1979 and recently reprinted. Comprehensive collections on religion or paganism may wish to acquire York's work, but it is not recommended for most academic and public libraries.-William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814797082
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 239
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael York is Principal Lecturer, Sophia Centre for the Study of Cultural Astronomy and Astrology, and Director of the Bath Archive for Contemporary Religious Affairs, Bath Spa University College, UK.

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Table of Contents

1 Paganism as religion 8
2 Paganism as behavior 66
3 Paganism as theology 157
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