Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Theology Library

Theology fascinates me, but good, well-reasoned pagan theology can be hard to come by. On the hopes that other folks find it interesting, I thought I would take an opportunity to recommend a few books that have contributed significantly to my own thoughts on the topic, and a fourth that I think is going to.

A World Full of Gods by John Michael Greer systematically argues for the coherency of polytheism as a credible alternative to monotheism. Greer artfully demonstrates some weaknesses in the popular arguments for the existence of only one god, and argues that the reality of many gods better fits what we observe about the world. This book was my introduction to Greer's work and I've been a fan ever since.

Jordan Paper's book is another excellent explanation and defense of polytheism as a live option for religion today. He draws from Native American and Eastern religions as well as the more familiar (to us ADF members anyway) Indo-European cultures.

This is one of a couple of books that undermine the Jewish and Christian insistence that their religious tradition is essentially monotheistic. In fact, the ancient Israelites were polytheists until fairly late in the Old Testament era. Penchansky illustrates his points with stories from the Bible and with writings for neighboring cultures that illuminate the deities mentioned in the Bible in new ways.

Another book on early Hebrew religion, Smith is more detailed but also less accessible than Penchansky's book above. However, for someone interested in the topic, it's highly readable and worth the time.

An inspiring intellectual argument for the reality of the Greek gods, drawing heavily on Greek philosophy and myth, but applicable to other pantheons as well. (That is, if the philosophers were correct about the nature of their gods and the relationship of their gods to the cosmos, it stands to reason that Odin and Mannanan and Krishna are of the same nature.)

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