Saturday, 28 July 2012

Review of "Goddess Unmasked" by Philip G. Davis

This book is Triumph of the Moon's evil twin.  It is a work in roughly the same genre - a well-researched academic inquiry into the historical and cultural roots of contemporary neopaganism.  The difference is that, while Triumph (published in 1999) was written from a broadly neutral perspective by an author who was sympathetic to neopagans, this book (published in 1998) is a hostile critique written by a conservative Christian.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Western esoteric tradition

A review article based on Western Esotericism by Kocku von Stuckrad and The Western Esoteric Traditions by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.

Western esotericism is a two millennium-old intellectual and religious tradition encompassing alternative philosophy and spirituality, astrology, numerology, alchemy and ritual magic.  After some years of neglect in intellectual circles, the tradition has in recent times reclaimed its rightful place as an object of academic study.  There are professorial chairs in the subject at the Sorbonne, Amsterdam and Exeter, and both of these books contain brief histories of the treatment of the subject in academia by previous scholars, including Frances Yates, Antoine Faivre, Wouter Hanegraaff and Gershom Scholem.

Paganism in English law

The historical background

As I have pointed out in an earlier post, modern English law is essentially secular in character.  Survivals of historical Christian culture such as the special legal status of the Church of England are best seen as just that - survivals, rather than defining features of the contemporary legal landscape.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The origins of neopaganism and Prof. Ronald Hutton

Neopaganism is a modern movement that is inspired by and/or seeks to reconstruct the ancient pagan religions of Europe and other parts of the world.