This book explains in detail the votaries of the ancient Astral worship divided into two distinct classes, the Esoterics, or Gnostics; and the Exoterics, or Agnostics; the former comprising those who knew that the Gods were mythical and the scriptures allegorical; and the latter, those who were taught that the Gods were real, and the scriptures historical; or, in other words, it was philosophy for the cultured few, and religion for the ignorant multitude. The initiates into the secrets of these two systems recognized them as the two Gospels; and Paul must have had reference to them in his Epistle to the Galatians ii., 2, where he distinguishes the Gospel which he preached on ordinary occasions from that Gospel which he preached “privately to them which were of reputation.”
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion is a philosophical work by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1779. Through dialogue, three philosophers named Demea, Philo, and Cleanthes debate the nature of God’s existence. Whether these names reference specific philosophers, ancient or otherwise, remains a topic of scholarly dispute. While all three agree that a god exists, they differ sharply in opinion on God’s nature or attributes and how, or if, humankind can come to know of a deity.
Hume started writing the Dialogues in 1750 but did not complete them until 1776, shortly before his death. Based partly on Cicero’s De Natura Deorum. The Dialogues got published posthumously in 1779, originally with neither the author’s nor the publisher’s name.
Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Native Religions of Mexico and Peru
It will be my task to-day to recount the Mexican mythology and religion, resting as it does on the foundation common to the peoples of Central America, but inspired by the sombre, utilitarian, matter-of-fact, yet vigorous and earnest, genius of the Aztecs. You remember that this name belongs to the warlike and commercial people that enjoyed, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, a military and political supremacy in the region that is now called Mexico, after the Aztec capital of that name.
Myths of the Norsemen
Over the centuries, Northern mythology has exerted much influence on Western customs, language, and literature. Its principal theme of the perpetual struggle of the beneficent forces of nature against the injurious, and its twin characteristics of dark tragedy and grim humor, tinge much European literature and music, most notably Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
In this volume, a noted scholar of myth and folklore has assembled a rich collection of Northern mythology as preserved in the Eddas and sagas of Iceland. These are perhaps the purest versions of the original myths, thanks to the island’s remoteness and lack of contact with outside influences. Both grand and tragical, the age-old tales tell of the creation of the world; the heroic deeds of such gods and heroes as Odin, Thor, and Siegfried; the machinations of the evil Loki; the fantastical adventures of giants, dwarfs, and elves; the twilight of the gods; and much else. Sixty-four marvelous, atmospheric illustrations add an additional dimension of charm.
Pagan and Christian Creeds
The author discusses the Pagan and the Christian creeds from a broad anthropological standpoint and in a spirit free from criticism and the limitations of dogmatism. He dilates at considerable length on the similarities shown by the several religions, especially the similarities between pagan religions and the Christian religion, and reaches the conclusion that such similarities can only be explained on the assumption that religions are of psychological origin. That is, mankind in response to similar needs and with similar mental machinery has evolved similar types of response.
Pagan and Christian Rome
There is so much yet to learn about the relative interconnection between pagan and early Christian beliefs, especially during their first manifestations in Ancient Rome. Theoretically, according to the Christian Bible, Christ did not set out to create a religion of his own, rather to reform the corruption that was spreading through certain sects of the Jewish faith. Chronologically, Christianity practiced in the earliest forms with a certain tide over of early Jewish and Roman roots, and a healthy dose of Northern influence from the Gauls and the Saxons as invading tribes brought new influences to Rome. This book is very interesting, despite its age, as the author backtracks to several moments in history where pagans and Christians co-existed in Rome, eventually taking and grafting pieces of each other to incorporate extra elements of worship still practiced.
Pagan and Christian Rome by Rodolfo Amedeo Lanciani is a thorough and informative account of the subject. The author has written about the Pagan shrines and temples, the christian churches, the Imperial Tombs and the Papal Tombs. The author has explained the history and details about the above in great detail, which is very enriching.
Pantheism, Its Story and Significance
Pantheism, being a term derived from two Greek words signifying “all” and “God,” suggests to a certain extent its own meaning. Thus, if Atheism be taken to mean a denial of the being of God, Pantheism is its extreme opposite; because Pantheism declares that there is nothing but God. This, however, needs explanation. For no Pantheist has ever held God is all. That everything is God, any more than a teacher of physiology, in enforcing on his students the unity of the human organism, would insist that every toe and finger is the man. But such a teacher, at least in But not Everything Is God.
Religion and Art in Ancient Greece
This book is worth reading and presents the growth of belief in the Gods of ancient Greece, along with the artistic depiction in each age. The particular fail within the text is a clear insinuation that idolatry brought in about the death of the GODS of ANCIENT GREECE. The Christian sect is the culprit for this destruction effort. Christianity failed to wipe out the religion of ancient Greece. It has survived through the art and expertise of many artists and authors. Hellenism is rousing from the essential facts of beauty and ideology which Christianity has never admired.
From the Preface: Greek religion may be studied under various aspects; and many recent contributions to this study have been mainly concerned either with the remote origin of many of its ceremonies in primitive ritual, or with the manner in which some of its obscurer manifestations met the deeper spiritual needs which did not find satisfaction in the official cults. Such discussions are of the highest interest to the anthropologist and to the psychologist; but they have the disadvantage of fixing our attention too exclusively on what, to the ordinary Greek, appeared accidental or even morbid, and of making us regard the Olympian pantheon, with its clearly realised figures of the gods, as a mere system imposed more or less from outside upon the old rites and beliefs of the people. In the province of art, at least, the Olympian gods are paramount; and thus we are led to appreciate and to understand their worship as it affected the religious ideals of the people and the services of the State. For we must remember that in the case of religion even more than in that of art, its essential character and its influence upon life and thought lie rather in its full perfection than in its origin.
Religions of Ancient China
The ancient Chinese are said to have three doctrines: Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, with Christianity and Islam arriving only in the 7th century A.D. Laozi, according to tradition, was the 6th century B.C. Chinese philosopher who wrote the Tao Te Ching of Taoism. Confucius (551-479) taught morality. His philosophy became important during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D.220). Herbert A Giles (1845-1935), a British Sinologist who modified the Roman version of Chinese characters, says although it is often counted as a religion of China, Confucianism is not a religion, but a system of social and political morality. The Indian emperor Ashoka sent Buddhist missionaries to China in the third century.
Rig Veda Americanus
In accordance with the general object of this series of volumes—which is to furnish materials for study rather than to offer completed studies—I have prepared for this number the text of the most ancient authentic record of American religious lore. From its antiquity and character, I have ventured to call this paltry collection the Rig Veda Americanus, after the similar cyclus of sacred hymns, which are the most venerable product of the Aryan mind.
The Antichrist is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1895. Although it was written in 1888, its controversial content made Franz Overbeck and Heinrich Köselitz delay its publication, along with Ecce Homo. The German title can be translated into English as either The Anti-Christ or The Anti-Christian, depending on how the German word Christ is translated.
Nietzsche claims in the preface to have written the book for a very limited readership. In order to understand the book, he asserts that the reader “must be honest in intellectual matters to the point of hardness to so much as endure my seriousness, my passion.” The reader should be above politics and nationalism. Also, the usefulness or harmfulness of truth should not be a concern. Characteristics such as “[s]trength which prefers questions for which no one today is sufficiently daring; courage for the forbidden” are also needed. He disregards all other readers:
Very well, then! Of that sort only are my readers, my true readers, my readers foreordained: of what account are the rest?—The rest are merely humanity.—One must make one’s self superior to humanity, in power, in loftiness of soul,—in contempt.
The Belief in Immorality and the Worship of the Dead
The publication of Prof. Frazer’s Gifford lectures has been awaited with interest by students of anthropology and religion. Their subject was one of the first to occupy the author’s attention; his paper on primitive burial customs placed the study of the belief in immortality and the worship of the dead in a new light. He has now given us the first instalment of a comprehensive survey of the whole institution. Psychical and ceremonial though it is, the doctrine and cult form an institution as deserving of the name as political government. The belief in some degree of immortality has been practically universal, and is still a “last infirmity of noble mind”; some form of “worship,” fear of the ghost or actual veneration of the deified ancestor, has accompanied the belief in the case of the majority of peoples. The author acutely points out, for the consideration of “historians and economists, as well as of moralists and theologians,” that the direct consequences of this moral institution have been grave and far-reaching, such as no mere sentiment could have produced, not only in primitive but in civilized history. It has, he says, “not merely colored the outlook of the individual upon the world; it has deeply affected the social and political relations of humanity in all ages; for the religious wars and persecutions, which distracted and devastated Europe for ages, were only the civilized equivalents of the battles and murders which the fear of ghosts has instigated amongst almost all races of savages of whom we possess a record. And when we consider further the gratuitous and wasteful destruction of property, as well as of life, which is involved in sacrifices to the dead, we must admit that with all its advantages the belief in immortality has entailed heavy economical losses upon the races—and they are practically all the races of the world—who have indulged in this expensive luxury.”
The Children of Odin
Here are the matchless tales of All-Father Odin, who crosses the Rainbow Bridge to walk among men in Midgard and sacrifices his right eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom; of Thor, whose mighty hammer defends Asgard; of Loki, whose mischievous cunning leads him to treachery against the gods; of giants, dragons, dwarfs and Valkyries; and of the terrible last battle that destroyed their world.
These ancient stories from Northern Europe, which make up one of the great myth cycles of Western civilization, spring to life in The Children of Odin. This classic volume, first published in 1920 and reissued in 1962, is now available for the first time in paperback, illustrated with the original line drawings by Willy Pogany, to inspire a new generation of readers.
The Edda, Volume 1
The Edda, Volume 1, is a popular book by Winifred Faraday. Edda (Old Norse, plural Eddur) is a term that applies to two written collections of Old Norse mythology known as The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda. Both were written during the 13th century in Iceland, they contain material from earlier traditional sources, reaching into the Viking Age.
The Edda, Volume 2
In the Old English poems allusion is made only to the second part of the story; there is no reference to the legend of the enchanted brides, which is distinct being identical with the common tale of the fairy wife who must return to animal shape through some breach of agreement by her mortal husband.
The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
This collection of reports of elfin creatures in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany ranks among the most scholarly works ever published on the subject. The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries begins with the author’s account of firsthand testimony from living sources, classified under individual countries and introduced by leading authorities on anthropology and folklore. The next section concerns the recorded traditions of Celtic literature and mythology, followed by an examination of a variety of theories and their religious aspects. The book concludes with a remarkably rational case for the reality of fairy life. Narrated with an engaging sense of wonder, this volume offers a valuable resource for students of anthropology and Celtic lore, as well as hours of delightful reading for fairy enthusiasts.
The Mide’wiwin or “Grand Medicine Society” of the Ojibwa
The Ojibwa is one of the largest tribes of the United States, and it is scattered over a considerable area, from the Province of Ontario, on the east, to the Red River of the North, on the west, and from Manitoba southward through the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. This tribe is, strictly, a timber people, and in its westward migration or dispersion has never passed beyond the limit of the timber growth which so remarkably divides the State of Minnesota into two parts possessing distinct physical features.
The Mountain Chant, A Navajo Ceremony
This, like other great rites of the Navajo, is of nine days’ duration. Some of these rites may take place in the summer; but the great majority of them, including this dsilyídje qaçàl, may be celebrated only in the winter, in the season when the thunder is silent and the rattlesnakes are hibernating. Were they to tell of their chief gods or relate their myths of the ancient days at any other time, death from lightning or snake-bite would, they believe, be their early fate?
The Pagan Tribes of Borneo
In writing this book we have aimed at presenting a clear picture of the pagan tribes of Borneo as they existed at the close of the nineteenth century. We have not attempted to embody in it the observations recorded by other writers, although we have profited by them and have been guided and aided by them in making our own observations. We have rather been content to put on record as much information as we have been able to get at first hand, both by direct observation of the people and of their possessions, customs, and manners, and by innumerable conversations with men and women of many tribes.
The Religion of Ancient Rome
In many societies, ancient and modern, religion has performed a major role in their development, and the Roman Empire was no different. From the beginning Roman religion was polytheistic. From an initial array of gods and spirits, Rome added to this collection to include both Greek gods as well as a number of foreign cults. As the empire expanded, the Romans refrained from imposing their own religious beliefs upon those they conquered; however, this inclusion must not be misinterpreted as tolerance – this can be seen with their early reaction to the Jewish and Christian population. Eventually, all of their gods would be washed away, gradually replaced by Christianity, and in the eyes of some, this change brought about the decline of the western empire.
The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
A precise exposition of the deities and spiritual traditions of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians by Theophilus G. Pinches. This is a summation of the names and chief associates of the Main Babylonian gods as perceived at the point of composing. They explain relations to the myths of later antique in brief. The writer indicated limited was perceived of their mythology yet, and this is a structure for coordinating subsequent explorations. It affects the progress of monotheistic belief and presence of yah upon at the conclusion. This work is an essential source of information for an examination of these doctrines.
From the Foreword:â€œThe religion of the Babylonians and Assyrians was the polytheistic faith professed by the peoples inhabiting the Tigris and Euphrates valleys from what may be regarded as the dawn of history until the Christian era began, or, at least, until the inhabitants were brought under the influence of Christianity. The chronological period covered may be roughly estimated at about 5000 years. The belief of the people, at the end of that time, being Babylonian heathenism leavened with Judaism, the country was probably ripe for the reception of the new faith. Christianity, however, by no means replaced the earlier polytheism, as is evidenced by the fact, that the worship of Nebo and the gods associated with him continued until the fourth century of the Christian era.”
The Religion of Numa
This book is both interesting, educational, and well written. This book talks about the beginning of Rome in the Old Kingdom with reference to the beginnings of a strongly agricultural base, and therefore provides the base to a great education on the times before Greece was such a major influence on Roman culture.
The Religion of the Ancient Celts
An all encompassing tome on all things Celtic. This book touches on the sagas, nature worship (animal & plant), festivals, Druids and magic, their ideas of death and the dead (not what you probably think), and rebirth. It covers not just the traditional view of the Celts, but the influence of other cultures of the time (French and German most notably affected their sagas). The transition of the eras from Pagan to Christianity transpired over more time than one would think as the Celtic culture was wide ranging and agricultural or rural in nature.
The Tao Teh King, or the Tao and its Characteristics
The Tao Teh King or The Tao and its Characteristics by Lao-Tse is written in classical Chinese during the 6th century B.C. and translated by James Legge. Lao-Tse (Laozi or Lao-Tzu) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. The term Lao Tzu itself means only “Ancient Master” and though his historicity remains in doubt, his work is revered and honored even today. He is best known as the reputed author of Tao Te Ching and the founder of Taoism. Taoism is the tradition of ethics, philosophy, politics and religious tradition of Ancient China in which the emphasis is on living in harmony with the principles of Tao or the “path.”
The Witch-cult in Western Europe
The Witch-Cult in Western Europe is a 1921 anthropological book by Margaret Murray, published at the height of success of The Golden Bough by anthropologist James George Frazer. For the book, certain university circles celebrated Margaret Murray as the expert on western witchcraft, though her theories were widely discredited. For the period 1929-1968, she wrote the “Witchcraft” article in the successive editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica.
From the Preface: The mass of existing material on this subject is so great that I have not attempted to make a survey of the whole of European ‘Witchcraft’, but have confined myself to an intensive study of the cult in Great Britain. In order, however, to obtain a clearer understanding of the ritual and beliefs I have had recourse to French and Flemish sources, as the cult appears to have been the same throughout Western Europe. The New England records are unfortunately not published in extenso; this is the more unfortunate as the extracts already given to the public occasionally throw light on some of the English practices. It is more difficult to trace the English practices than the Scotch or French, for in England the cult was already in a decadent condition when the records were made; therefore records in a purely English colony would probably contain much of interest.
Unwritten Literature of Hawaii
This book is for the greater part a collection of Hawaiian songs and poetic pieces that have done service from time immemorial as the stock supply of the hula. I have added the descriptive portions, not because the poetical parts could not stand by themselves, but to furnish the proper setting and to answer the questions of those who want to know. Now, the hula stood for very much to the ancient Hawaiian; it was to him in place of our concert-hall and lecture-room, our opera and theater, and thus became one of his chief means of social enjoyment.