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Living with Honour: A Pagan Ethics Paperback – 25 Apr 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: O Books (25 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184694094X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846940941
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.1 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 533,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This is an excellent pioneering work, erudite, courageous and imaginative, that provides a new kind of ethics, linked to a newly appeared complex of religions, which are founded on some very old human truths. --Professor Ronald Hutton, world expert on paganism and author of The Triumph of the Moon and many other titles.

This is a lively, sensible and careful attempt to make sense of some very confusing, and yet important, areas of modern thought. I particularly like the clear style and the attention that the author gives to parts of the historical background which are usually misunderstood. The book should interest a wide audience. --Mary Midgley, philosopher, author of Science as Salvation and many other works.

About the Author

Emma Restall Orr (aka Bobcat) is one of the most well-known Druids worldwide. She worked for the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, was Joint Chief of the British Druid Order, and in 2002 created the international Druid Network. In 2004, she founded Honouring the Ancient Dead, which advocates with heritage organisations around the issue of ancient and Pagan British human remains. She is a practicing priest and teacher, regularly lectures at universities and within the Pagan community, and works as a media spokesperson for Druidry.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My first thought on stepping into 'Living with Honour' was that so many contemporary members of pagan society are NOT going to like this book. It is indeed sorely needed, as it challenges the current trend for woolly thinking and blindly following 'tradition' (spiritual, political and social). It demands from the first that any readers WILL pay attention and relate the questions being asked to their own situations, in order that they may truly live with honour, plotting an honest and unique path through the tangles of modern life.

Without going into too much unnecessary academic detail, the book takes us on a journey through traditional modes of thinking, so ingrained that we don't even notice them but which are instantly familiar. The reader is inspired to ask themselves why they hold their beliefs, from everyday issues to deep fundamental philosophies of life. Pagan 'traditions' (old and new) are naturally a yardstick, but the need to question is paramount, to investigate in a manner that should be familiar from Bobcat's previous work, but which is easy to forget when stuck in a 'normal' 21st century environment.

It takes time to absorb - regular pauses are necessary during reading, to go away, consider, sometimes come to realizations, and then continue. So much is contained in these pages, that a second reading is already on the cards!

Emma's Paganism demands to be lived, with all of its pitfalls and promise. It is not light and easy, but can be dark, bloody and difficult - but then, so is life. While her previous works were guidebooks, this takes the next step, asking the hard questions that must be addressed if we are to live in a truly 'pagan' way, with everything that entails. As representatives of our beliefs, and so of our own selves, ancestors and land, we cannot live by blinding obeying as we are told. We make our ethics, and this book gives us the equipment with which to do so.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.
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Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book that tells you how to be a Pagan, which postures to strike and which attitudes to engender then look elsewhere. This book is a passionate discussion on the nature of what constitutes true ethical authenticity. Restall Orr achieves a remarkable balance in the book. Firstly it is probably the best work on Pagan Ethics around and as such should feature on the shelves of university and college libraries. Secondly, through well rehearsed analysis and intriguing discussion it subverts many of the well-informed notions and traditions that feed into the modern Western ethical experience. Thirdly the book manages to touch a personal nerve. If you think you're a fairly OK person leading a responsible and morally commendable life prepare to be challenged!

If you're looking for a work that sits broadly within the Western ethical religious and cultural milieu but which subverts the accepted and cuts away at cultural accretion this is the book you're looking for. Read it, delight in it and learn from it.
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Format: Paperback
The subject of ethics reaches deeply into our experience of being human. It is messy, gluey, inescapable and a fundamental fact of life. Its challenge is both simple and complicated: On what basis do we make our decisions?

Emma Restall Orr has broken new ground as the first author to dissect, examine and critically position natural Pagan ethics within its broader cultural and philosophical context. Scholarly and comprehensive in its depth of examination, the author adeptly navigates through the rich heritage of influential philosophers and thinkers whose work has sculpted and continues to shape our understanding of nature, reason, humanity and relationship. From Immanuel Kant to Arthur Schopenhauer, Peter Singer, and many more, each thinker provides a touchstone for exploring how a sensitive relationship with nature can form the basis of a Pagan ethics.

The book tackles some difficult questions and dilemmas: How does the nature-revering Pagan, grounded firmly in their philosophy, respond to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, or animal exploitation? How have we formed an understanding of consciousness, freedom, sanctity, responsibility, and how are these expressed in the way we live? Faced with global environmental crises, how can we craft our nature-based values into sustainable relationships that form an intelligent and effective response to the problems?

Restall Orr may come across as authoritative at times, and readers should prepare to have their assumptions challenged. This is not a comfortable book. It is intentionally provocative, deeply questioning, and essentially motivating. It expertly addresses a gaping hole in the Pagan literature, and as such, its significance should not be underestimated.
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The Author declares herself as prejudiced and having a non-philosophical background at the start of the book, a trick which provides her the chance use to use criticism(Philosophical Guidance?) rather rather than critical examination. The book suffers due to this and it is tortuously heavy going to cut to the books chase, and for this reason some may see it as a wasted opportunity.

This book is not a good introduction to ethics(Neo-pagan or otherwise), although I think it was intended as such, nor does it, due to its rambling prose, present a clear argument for virtue ethics and it would have been good to see how the authors version of virtue ethics actually worked to answer some ethical/moral puzzles('The trolley puzzle' for instance) rather than just offering rhetorical polemic after rhetorical polemic to the reader.

The one thing this book does have going for it is that there is probably no other book in its category of 'Neo-pagan Ethics', and for that I would recommend it to Neo-pagans who want to look a little bit closer at their own 'Neo-paganism'. For this reason alone I mark it up to 3 stars.
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