Book: Pagan Theology Paganism As A World Religion by Michael YorkIn 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.
Some books are meant to be read by all while others are scholarly texts that are written to augment our basis of knowledge. This book falls into the second category and Mr. York has done his homework. Pagan Theology is a thesis on the Pagan Religions, not a work that teaches us or presents us with entertainment or tradition.
Mr. York has gone into depth exploring the vast patchwork that is the Pagan Path. Mr. York argues the path as a valid religion and explores the theology and the modern practices. He then compares them to other religions to validate our presence as a religion.
Mr. York argues his point well and very thoroughly. I am impressed with his research. The book is a wonderful textbook for those who study comparative religions and would make a great addition to college classes on the subject.
But it is a textbook, not a casual read. Anyone who has gone through text books on theology would agree that they are not meant for a lazy afternoon. And this book is not for everyone. While it would be good for those who are looking at a Doctorate in Theology or a good reference book for their term paper on comparative religions, it would not interest the casual beginner. Mr. York is a good researcher and worked out the book well to present his point; but it can be dry in spots. That is a characteristic of any text book, I'm afraid. Good material, but sometimes long and tedious if the material is not what you are looking for.
This book should be recommended to teachers at the College level for addition to their curriculum or as a study aid for comparative religion studies or theological research on general pagan studies. It should also be recommended to clergy who would find it of value in their own studies of comparative religions.
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