- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (30 April 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415254140
- ISBN-13: 978-0415254144
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.1 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,184,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Wicca and the Christian Heritage Paperback – 30 Apr 2007
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'This is an exciting, interesting and original book, with a unique perspective on both modern witchcraft and modern Christianity.' - Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol, UK
What is Wicca? Is it witchcraft, Paganism, occultism, esotericism, magic, spirituality, mysticism, nature religion, secrecy, gnosis, the exotic or 'other'? Wicca has been defined by and explored within all these contexts over the past thirty years by anthropologists, sociologists and historians, but there has been a tendency to sublimate and negate the role of Christianity in Wicca's historical and contemporary contexts. Joanne Pearson 'prowls the borderlands of Christianity' to uncover the untold history of Wicca. Exploring the problematic nature of the Wiccan claim of marginality, it contains a groundbreaking analysis of themes in Christian traditions that are inherent in the development of contemporary Wicca. These focus on the accusations which have been levelled against Catholisicm, heterodoxy and witchcraft throughout history: ritual, deviant sexuality and magic.See all Product description
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However, quickly (in an academic sort of way) the text becomes imbued with the intrigue and mystery of the 'episcopanes vagantes' or wandering Bishops, as in a ripping-yarn-like-account they set about creating offshoots and unauthorized new lines of religious movements and churches.
The ensuing revealed history is fascinating as it presents the developments of their heterodox churches with increasingly less attachment to either the Protestant or the Catholic churches, the former regarding the latter as practitioners in witchery via their priest-craft of mass and transubstantiation etc, the Anglican church's endeavors to assert an apostasy direct from ancient Jerusalem via Joseph of Arimathea's mission to Glastonbury thus sidestepping the subsequent Papal Creed and Catholic church of Rome in favor of a more natural form of Christianity....
The author then examines in some detail the definition of Ritual and its meanings within the old Catholic tradition, the new Anglican church (with its claim to older traditions than the Catholic), the Catholic v Protestant dichotomy between Ritual as The Spiritual Experience which transforms lives v Protestant prioritization of Understanding as the primary factor of a spiritual life.
Against this background, the new Wiccan claims to be ''The'' 'Old' Religon, their founders Christian associations, that for example Crowley was brought up among Brethren, that Gardeners involvement with Spiritualist churches, the interest in The Golden Dawn and the Rosicrucians, as well as claimed descent from the even older ones of Egyptian mystery religions, sets the pathway to consider Wicca in terms of its defining aspects of ritual and practice.
Ritual is revealingly portrayed across the diversity of traditions in addition to a thoughtful, non salacious handling of the aspect of sexual control, rebellion and practice across the diverse traditions.
Specifically the comparison of the Catholic medieval condemnation of witchcraft (comprised of unorthodox and elderly single women, herbalists, Jewish and other culturally excluded people and groups) the later comparison by Protestants of Catholics themselves with this same group based on their magical rituals, and the subsequent development of Wiccans and others who practice various forms of ritual, along with the lines of inception by which the latter have come to create their new/old traditions is fascinating.
Strongly Recommended for any who wish to 'Understand' the origins of the new/old traditions of Wicca and Paganism, but not essential for those who prioritize experiential spirituality over cognitive reconciliation.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The subject matter has much room for exploration, but this book fell pretty flat in doing it justice.