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Christianity - hedonism - religion - European culture
Western culture is a very complex combination of two traditions the Judeo-Christian and the Greco-Roman. The overarching argument of all of my work is that paganism was never in fact defeated by Christianity but instead went underground to resurface at three key moments the Renaissance, Romanticism, and twentieth-century popular culture, whose sex and violence I interpret as pagan phenomena. --Camille Paglia ... [America Online chat 1995]
The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion (1890) - James George Frazer [Amazon.com]
The Golden Bough scandalized the public upon its first publication, because it included the Christian story of Jesus in its comparative study, thus inviting an agnostic reading of the Lamb of God as a relic of a pagan religion. Frazer removed his analysis of the Crucifixion to a speculative appendix for the third edition, and it was entirely missing from the single-volume abridged edition. The title of the book was taken from an incident in the Aeneid, illustrated in this painting The Golden Bough by the British artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851): Aeneas and the Sibyl present the golden bough to the gatekeeper of Hades to gain admission. --
Paganism is a very broad set of religious beliefs and practices which are characterized by polytheism and less commonly animism. Many pagan religions are based on nature, and these are also called nature-based religions. Paganism predates modern monotheism, although its origins are lost in prehistory. In one well-established sense, paganism is the belief in any non-monotheistic religion, and in this sense it is often used pejoratively by adherents to monotheistic religions (such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam) for adherents of non-monotheistic religions.
The term is sometimes used by Christians as a pejorative term to indicate a person who doesn't believe in Christianity. "Paganism" is also sometimes used to mean the lack of (an accepted monotheistic) religion, and therefore sometimes means essentially the same as atheism. "Paganism" frequently refers to the religions of classical antiquity, most notably Greek mythology or Roman religion, and can be used neutrally or admiringly by those who refer to those complexes of belief. However, until the rise of Romanticism and the general acceptance of freedom of religion in Western civilization, "paganism" was almost always used disparagingly of someone else's beliefs. It has more recently been used admiringly by those who find the monotheistic religions confining or colourless. Especially since Romanticism, there have been increasing numbers of people who agree with William Wordsworth, that: --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paganism 
- One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially a worshiper of a polytheistic religion.
- One who has no religion.
- A non-Christian.
- A hedonist.
- A Neo-Pagan.
[Middle English, from Late Latin pgnus, from Latin, country-dweller, civilian, from pgus, country, rural district. See pag- in Indo-European Roots.] -- The American HeritageŽ Dictionary
The Wicker Man (1974) - Robin Hardy
The Wicker Man (1974) - Robin Hardy
[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The Wicker Man is a cult 1973 British film directed by Robin Hardy, written by Anthony Shaffer and starring Edward Woodward (Sergeant Neil Howie), Christopher Lee (Lord Summerisle), Diane Cilento (Miss Rose), Ingrid Pitt (Librarian) and Britt Ekland (Willow). Cilento subsequently married Shaffer.
Paul Giovanni composed The Wicker Man soundtrack -- a recording sited as a major influence on pagan folk and psych folk artists like Current 93. In 2004 the magazine Total Film named The Wicker Man the 6th greatest British film of all time. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wicker_Man [Apr 2005]
The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1995) - Peter Gay
The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1995) - Peter Gay [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Nowadays, the Enlightenment is often judged harshly for its simplistic optimism. Peter Gay revisits the sources to show that the Enlightenment's increasing scientific method and belief in reason marked the beginning of the modern age.
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