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Pagan & Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning [Paperback]

Our Price $ 11.59  
Item Number 383136  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   324
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 4.7" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 1, 2005
Publisher   Cosimo Classics
ISBN  1596057424  
EAN  9781596057425  

Availability  91 units.
Availability accurate as of May 27, 2017 04:36.
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Item Description...
The main Christian doctrines and festivals, besides a great mass of affiliated legend and ceremonial, are really quite directed derived from, and related to, preceding Nature worships; and it has only been by a good deal of deliberate mystification and falsification that this derivation has been kept out of sight. -from "Solar Myths and Christian Festivals"

Socialist advocate, progressive educator, and amateur mystic, Edward Carpenter is perhaps best remembered today for his conflicted homosexuality, an attitude that infuses even this 1920 work of comparative mythology, which seeks to rehabilitate the sexual longings and sensual traditions of pagan mythologies and how they influenced Christian theology.

In this examination of the ancient roots of modern religion, Carpenter explores the concepts of ritual dancing, sex taboos, rites of initiation, magic associated with food and vegetation, and much more. Singing with secrets and mysteries, this is a timeless work of the numinous that will delight anyone who seeks a connection with the past and with the corporeal and carnal foundations of human spirituality.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [3773  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > History   [2761  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Standard Reading for Born Again Pagans  Feb 10, 2008
This text is a classic work on the creeds of both Paganism and Christianity.Eventhough,it was first published in 1915,it still rings true today.It provides the 'Mythos' and the 'Logos' concepts for the topic of religion.The first cults were fertility cults,with spiral phallic monoliths erected to the heavens.Some are still active today,in the countries of Africa and Asia .Next mankind moved on to cult-worship of Magick and the divine earth-spirits.The next and final stage is the formation of God-figures (anthropodeism) that descended from the heavens.These Gods and Godesses were human-shaped and not animal-horned in structure.Lastly,the monotheistic concept progressed and the belief of mankind created in the image of a single supreme God-figure developed.
The most interesting concept presented by Edward Carpenter is the 'Three stages of the Consciousness of Man'.The first stage being the 'Simple Conscious stage',where man's thoughts were instinctive and no different than the actions of a wild animal.The middle stage is the 'Self-Conscious stage',where modern man's actions are based on rational logic (logos),that rises above impulsive behavior.Where man developed language ,followed by laws,the passing of rules,and the ownership of property.Once the earlier two stages are secure then mankind can progress to the third stage,the 'Golden Stage of Enlightenment of Mankind".this lofty stage is false.Mankind is in a constant struggle between the first and second stage.Between the base 'Mythos' stage and the structured 'Logos' stage.The abandonment of the self-consciousness in favor of a global utopian pacificist world,has yet to be realised and perhaps impossible.Between ethnic warfare,religious beliefs,and scarcity of resources this final stage seems quite remote.Yet,it is these struggles that impell mankind forward towards that 'final stage' ironically.After all these years,the words of Edward Carpenter are still valid and quite prophetic indeed.
Should be required reading  May 19, 2007
After reading the first few chapters of this book online, I had to get an actual copy of the book, and I'm glad I did. Despite the age of the text, it still holds up great today. It reads well and the ideas come across rather easy. Ideas are presented w/ just enough examples and refrences (unlike Frazer's "Golden Bough" were it seems like there are fifteen examples of everything), however in acouple places I wish there were acouple more, but thanks to great footnotes and bibliogrophy it's not hard to do your own research (however, see the next paragraph about the footnotes).

The only problem I have with this book though is the format that it comes in. Footnotes appear before the next available paragraph and ends up getting in the way of the actual text, Certain words are capatalized rather then in italics, and a few mispellings (which I don't really believe is the fault of the author). There is copy of the book online (it's public domain and no longer subject to copyright laws) and it seems like the publisher just found an online version of the book and copy and pasted it, as there are a few things...that look more like HTML code then actual words. Also the chapter on astronomy should have acouple of graphics that are missing but are still alluded too in the text.

All in all, this is an amazing book on religion and the origins of christianity and is highly recommended to everyone. It has some very eye-opening ideas and well worth the time to read.
religion is allegory based on astrology  Jan 6, 2004
This book demonstrates how christianity and paganism are based on astrology and natural processes. It is truly astounding and is of the utmost significance to those wishing to debunk christian foolishness. Also check out "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy. For information on how the cross symbol was derived from astrology, see "Occultism Simplified or the Mystic Thesaurus" by Willis F. Whitehead. "Pagan and Christian Creeds" is greatly needed in the battle for truth in the face of christian literalism.
Fascinating reading uncovering some truths  Jun 4, 2002
I very much enjoyed reading this book, which, for its age, has held up rather well. I had always known that Early Christianity 'borrowed' from pagan religions some holidays and practices, but it was not until I read this book did I know the depth of theft. Almost like a plaigarism of faith intended to convert the masses (which it sadly succeeded in doing). The only part of the book I disliked was the final material, in which the author offers a new religion of sorts which is very metaphysical and a little dull. But the rest of the book is a keeper.
Fear and Self-Consciousness is the Root of All Religion  Apr 3, 2002
Carpenter proposes that self-conciousness and fear led to the entire world pantheon of different faiths.

"Naturally as soon as Man began to think about himself--a frail phantom and waif in the midst of tremendous forces of whose nature and mode of operation he was entirely ignorant--he was BESET with terrors...the natural defence against this state of mind was the creation of an enormous number of taboos...hardened down into very stringent Customs and Laws...avoidance not only of acts which might reasonably be considered dangerous, like touching a corpse, but also things much more remote and fanciful in their relation to danger, like merely...passing a lightning-struck tree; ... and acts which offered any special pleasure or temptation--like sex or marriage or the enjoyment of a meal.

"...Fear does not seem a very worthy motive, but in the beginning it curbed the violence of the purely animal passions, and introduced order and restraint among them. ...(F)rom the early beginnings (in the Stone Age) of self-consciousness in Man there has been a gradual development--from crass superstition, senseless and accidental, to rudimentary observation, and so to belief in Magic; thence to Animism and personification of nature-powers in more or less human form, as earth-divinities or sky-gods or embodiments of the tribe; and to placation of these powers by rites like Sacrifice and the Eucharist, which in their turn became the foundation of Morality...; observations of plants or of the weather or the stars, carried on by tribal medicine-men for purposes of witchcraft or prophecy, supplied some of the material of Science; and humanity emerged by faltering and hesitating steps on the borderland of these finer perceptions and reasonings which are supposed to be characteristic of Civilisation."

Carpenter goes on to compare Christian tenets with pagan practices around the world. You can see how fear of neverending winter, starvation, and death spurred belief in magic, ritual, animism, anthromomorphism, and today's conventional religions.

In his British imperialistic furor to spread civilization, Carpenter also predicts the emergence of a "Common Life" beyond self-consciousness, blasting the selfish motives of capitalism and actually hailing the practices of early Christian communities and the movements of the Communists in eastern Europe.

Granted, Carpenter's book was first published in 1920, just after WWI, before we could see Communism fall, and before Ayn Rand could inspire anyone to Constructivism. But Carpenter's view of religious history is useful. It certainly predates Campell's Hero of a Thousand Faces but has similar depth and scope.

I recommend this book along with:

* Joan O'Grady's "Early Christian Heresies" which examines the philosophies and turning points that molded Christian tenets during its birth and growth so that it could promise salvation to the masses. The scope includes Gnosticism, Marcionites, Montanists, Manichaeism, Donatists, Arianism, Nestorians, Pelagius, and more.
* Erik Davis' "Techgnosis: myth, magic + mysticism in the age of information" which proposes that forms of communication shape social and individual consciousness of reality. "It follows that when a culture's technical structure of communication mutates quickly and significantly, both social and individual 'reality' are in for a bit of a ride. ...The social imagination leaps into the breach, unleashing a torrent of speculation, at once cultural, metaphysical, technical, and financial."


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