Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On the Non-Ineluctability of Christianization: Notes Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Pagan Resistance, Survival, and Revival

I. Overview: The Five Phases of Christianization
  1. "With increasing harshness and machinery of enforcement": The Christianization of the Roman oikoumene (312-476)
  2. Decline and Fall: The retreat of Christianity in the Dark Ages (476-718)
  3. The Formation of a Persecuting Society: The violent resurgence of Western Christendom (718-1492)
  4. The Whole World In Their Bloody Hands: Conquest, Genocide, Slavery, & the Burning Times (1492-1960)
  5. By Other Means: Post Colonial Christianization (1960-?)

II. Illuminating Case Studies

  1. Crypto-Pagans in Byzantium: Procopios, Lydos, Psellos, Italos, Juvenal, Plethon, Mistra
  2. Pagan resistance among the Longobards
  3. The highly non-monotonic Christianization of Britain
  4. The Cult of Vergil
  5. Profiles in Dissimulation: The Family of Love, Marranos, English Catholics, French Libertins, etc (see especially, Zagorin's Ways of Lying)
  6. Paganism in the Renaissance
  7. The religious dimension of the Early Modern European Witch-Hunts
  8. Did the Yaqui convert?
  9. Catholic Shamans among the Huichol and Nahua
  10. Angelique Kidjo on Vodun & Catholicism
  11. Secrets Gossip & Gods
  12. Rejecting coerced syncretism in Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria (Max Beauvoir: "No, contrarily to what even good scholars have stated, I don't believe there is any significant Christian-Vodou syncretism or Christian inclusions in the Vodou religion." Lazaro Cuesta: “It’s an error for the Catholic Church to consider us deviants. We simply have our own religion: the Yoruba religion.”)
  13. Mexican Folk Catholicism among mestizos
  14. The continuous history of Hermeticism, Alchemy, and Astrology (Campion, Maxwell-Stuart, also: Ghibellinism & Traditionalism)
  15. Traditional Religion in Sub-Saharan Africa
  16. Reincarnation as a marker of Pagan survival

III. Key Concepts and Theoretical Projects
  1. "Submerged Animism" a la Alan Richard Tippett
  2. Toward a generalized theory of crypto-religiosity a la Richard Popkin (How to look for Pagans)
  3. Christian Pagan Syncretism = Pagan Survival (and the varieties of religious syncretism in general: Secret Knowledge, Because We Can, "When you enter a village ...", Lady Gaga Prayer Candles, Kidjo on Voodoo, Ficinus. Paganus?, What they mean by "dialogue", Banding together in the Cretan fashion, "Playing the fish", "We had no choice")
  4. The false dichotomy of learned versus popular Paganism ("A different world"?)
  5. Sympathetic Magic: Eros, Pneuma, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Stoicism, Vergil, Ovid, Iamblichus, Proclus, Psellos, Plethon, Ficino, Pico, Agrippa, Bruno, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Erasmus Darwin, Herbert Spencer, Witches, Mages, etc. (Plato and the Threefold Law, Cosmic Sympathy, Eleusis and the Aeneid, Luck on Warburton on Vergil, Philosophy Science Divination & Astrology, Six Degrees of Charles Darwin, Eleusis and Evolution, Vergil and Modern Paganism, Hutton Vergil & Ovid)
  6. Soul Snatchers: Exposing the Christian conception of all-or-nothing conversion (aka, the "one drop rule" of Christian identity; see "Africa became Christian by submission")
  7. Reincarnation as a Pagan belief
  8. Why Harran matters, but not as much as you might think.
  9. The seamless continuity of Late Antique and Ancient Paganism
  10. The Theurgy-Wicca connection
  11. The Evil Twins: Christianity and Islam
  12. Communism: preparing the way for the gospel in India, China and Latin America
  13. Christianization versus liberty, equality, democracy and the rule of law
  14. Christianization is everywhere incomplete.
  15. Christianization is always reversible.
  16. "Paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity." (Primary versus secondary religions, Pagans don't need no stinking continuous traditions, monotheism vs. polytheism vis-a-vis tolerance, no "different" religions among ancient Pagans ...)


Nick Ritter said...

This looks like an outline for a book. Are we to expect one from you? You've certainly written most of it already.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

I honestly don't know what it will lead to. I was reading a fascinating essay by a Christian missiologist (Alan Richard Tippett) on "submerged animism" when a bunch of things all fell in place in my mind. One of the things that most struck me was that it is obvious to any thoughtful Christian that Christianization is a very complex, drawn out, and inevitably incomplete process. A great many Pagans, however, especially those who see Ronald Hutton as an authority, have stupidly accepted a naively triumphalist view of Christianization that sees the process as rapid, unproblematic, unidirectional, irreversible, and for most of the world's Christians (especially those of European descent), complete.

SiegfriedGoodfellow said...

I agree. This looks like the outline for a book. I thought the same exact thing. And Apuleius, now that it has come to you, sir, to honor your own work and those forces which are working through you to help revive paganism, you must put the book out! I know I will be waiting to purchase my copy (or copies of the multi-volume set)!

Gunnhildr9 said...

Dear Apuleius, I have to agree with Nick and Siegfried: this is a wonderful outline for a book and I think that you are the person to write it. Your blog articles have been inspirational to me and I have often gone on to do more research on the topics you write about. Thanks for all your efforts! Gunnhildr9