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Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Contents: Solar Myths and Christian Festivals; The Symbolism of the Zodiac; Totem-Sacraments and Eucharists; Food and Vegetation Magic; Magicians, Kings and Gods; Rites of Expiation and Redemption; Pagan Initiations and the Second Birth; Myth of the Golden Age; The Saviour-God and the Virgin-Mother; Ritual Dancing; The Sex-Taboo; The Genesis of Christianity; The Meaning of ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1909)
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Alex Lee
Sep 17, 2015 Alex Lee rated it it was amazing
At first glance, Carpenter seems to be heavily de-valuing Christianity as he examines how Christian rituals have precedence within pagan rituals. But in reading this book you learn this is not what he is trying to do.

He is actually seeking to find the root of religion. Carpenter grounds religious understanding in the development of human consciousness... so in that sense, pagan or Christian makes no difference -- we are attempting to find our place in the world. How we do so through religion, is
Peter J.
May 12, 2015 Peter J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I saw holes and a few unsupported assumptions in his theory of spiritual evolution, I greatly enjoyed this work by Carpenter. The end, to be specific, where he discussed some concepts of rest and self from the Upanishads was staggeringly brilliant.
Mar 30, 2015 Alicen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a challenge for me to read and understand, but I learned so much. I usually was only able to a few pages at a time before my thoughts began to wonder. I'd also need to reread pieces to make sure I understood his arguments. I know very little on the subject, so it was all new to me. I did have to remind myself the book was written in the early 1900s, which explained the how it was written. It would be interesting to read more modern texts on some of his subjects. I'm sure some infor ...more
Aug 20, 2011 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was a great read for understanding how the different religions all borrowed from one another. The author gave great anecdotes from both the Pagan and Christian perspective that covered egyptian, Roman, and many other faiths that were both poly and monotheistic in nature. I would recommend this to anyone interested in religious studies. The last couple sections were a bit bland and I found myself pushing through it until I got done but the main text itself was good. This book took me abo ...more
Dec 28, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author did a very good job of comparing the rituals and symbols of ancient religions and how they relate to modern day Christianity. This was a well thought out, organized, and researched book. I thouroughly enjoyed reading it.
I almost wish this had been an audio book. I kept imagining myself in a lecture hall as I read. I really liked the book overall. It was written so long ago, I wonder what he would have thought about the changes since then.
Oct 04, 2011 Roger rated it it was amazing
An excellent and I think mostly overlooked book on the history of religion. Written with no apparent agenda, unlike some of the more modern voices of atheism. One of my favorites on the subject.
Dave Compton
Nov 20, 2012 Dave Compton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual
Outstanding book. This opened up my eyes to a better understanding of christianity and myths. Should be required reading.
Oct 25, 2011 Lynette rated it really liked it
Very good explanation. The style of writing bogged me down at times.
Aug 01, 2010 Sga marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Edition 1920 Harcourt Brace & Howe/The Plimpton Press
May 22, 2010 Terelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carpenter proposes that self-conciousness and fear led to the entire world pantheon of different faiths.

"Naturally as soon as Man began to think about himself--a frail phantom and waif in the midst of tremendous forces of whose nature and mode of operation he was entirely ignorant--he was BESET with terrors...the natural defence against this state of mind was the creation of an enormous number of taboos...hardened down into very stringent Customs and Laws...avoidance not only of acts which might
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Edward Carpenter was an English socialist poet, socialist philosopher, anthologist, and early gay activist.

A leading figure in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labour Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore, corresponding with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isado
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“But SACRIFICE does not mean 'death' at all. It means MAKING HOLY” 0 likes
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