Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion is a taxonomical study of various world religions which argues for a new definition of the word "paganism". It was written by the British religious studies scholar Michael York of Bath Spa University and first published by New York University Press in 2003.
In Pagan Theology, York presents his controversial theory that the term "paganism", originally a pejorative term to refer to non-Christian religions, should instead be used by scholars to refer specifically to those religious movements who share the common characteristics of polytheism, animism and life-affirming beliefs. Under this category of "paganism", York therefore includes the extinct historical faiths of pre-Christian Europe, living indigenous religions, several modern religions like Shinto and Hinduism, and the new religious movements of contemporary Paganism. Furthermore, York argues that this "paganism" was the "root religion" of humanity, from which later monotheistic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam developed.
Academic reviews of York's book were mixed, with reviewers making note of the ambitious nature of Pagan Theology, but some believing that it failed to present an entirely convincing argument. As a result of this, not all of them agreed with York's proposed categories, citing various reasons why they believed that it should not be employed. In the wider field of Pagan studies it has been criticised, most notably by Michael F. Strmiska, who argued that it contributed to the cultural oppression of indigenous peoples.
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original title: Pagan Theology
date of publication: 2003
main subject: religious studies
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