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Christianity

The Origins of A Pagan Religion
Walter, Philippe, 1952- (Book - 2006 )
Christianity
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Baker & Taylor
A thought-provoking study reveals how Christian mythology of the Middle Ages was primarily of pagan inspiration, highlighting major holidays on the Christian calendar that are modeled on pagan traditions and pagan deities that were incorporated into each of the saints. Original.

Book News
Walter (medieval French literature, U. Stendhal, Grenoble) describes some elements of native European mythology that were incorporated into Christianity during the Middle Ages. Carnival, he says, was the essential core of pre-Christian European religion, and he traces its manifestation in eight holidays shared by the Christian and pagan calendars. Mythologie chrétienne: Fétes, rites et mythes du Moyen Âge was published by Éditions Imago, Paris, in 2003, and is translated by Jon E. Graham. Most of the works cited in the bibliography are in French. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Inner Traditions
Reveals how Christian mythology of the Middle Ages had more to do with paganism than the Bible

. Identifies pagan deities that were incorporated into each of the saints

. Shows how all the major holidays on the Christian calendar are modeled on long-standing pagan traditions

This extensive study of the Christian mythology that animated medieval Europe shows that this mythology is primarily of pagan inspiration and that very little of it comes from the Bible. The fact that Christianity grafted itself onto earlier pagan worship was no mystery to the Church Fathers, Philippe Walter explains. Pagan elements were incorporated into the Christian faith on the advice of Pope Gregory the Great, who told Saint Augustine of Canterbury that rather than tear down the pagan temples in Britain, he should instead add the pagan rituals into the mix of Christian practices, thus providing an easy transition to the new religion. It was simply a matter of convincing the populace to slightly redirect their focus to include Jesus.

In this highly documented work Walter shows which major calendar days of the Christian year are founded on pagan rituals and myths, including the high holidays of Easter and Christmas, a time when many pagans prepared for the coming of spirits who would leave gifts for those who honored their coming. Indeed, the identities of saints and pagan figures were so intermingled that some saints were even transformed into pagan incarnations. Mary Magdalene, for instance, became one of the ladies of the lake of Celtic legend. He also explores how the hagiographic accounts of the saints in the scriptures reveal the origin of these symbolic figures to be the deities worshiped in pagan Europe for centuries.

Walter shows that the Christian mythology that animated medieval Europe is primarily of pagan inspiration and that very little of it comes from the Bible. He also explores how the hagiographic accounts of the saints in the scriptures reveal that these symbolic figures are the same deities worshiped in pagan Europe for centuries.

Baker
& Taylor

Reveals how Christian mythology of the Middle Ages was primarily of pagan inspiration, highlighting major holidays on the Christian calendar that are modeled on pagan traditions and pagan deities that were incorporated into each of the saints.

Simon and Schuster
Reveals how Christian mythology of the Middle Ages had more to do with paganism than the Bible

• Identifies pagan deities that were incorporated into each of the saints

• Shows how all the major holidays on the Christian calendar are modeled on long-standing pagan traditions

This extensive study of the Christian mythology that animated medieval Europe shows that this mythology is primarily of pagan inspiration and that very little of it comes from the Bible. The fact that Christianity grafted itself onto earlier pagan worship was no mystery to the Church Fathers, Philippe Walter explains. Pagan elements were incorporated into the Christian faith on the advice of Pope Gregory the Great, who told Saint Augustine of Canterbury that rather than tear down the pagan temples in Britain, he should instead add the pagan rituals into the mix of Christian practices, thus providing an easy transition to the new religion. It was simply a matter of convincing the populace to slightly redirect their focus to include Jesus.

In this highly documented work Walter shows which major calendar days of the Christian year are founded on pagan rituals and myths, including the high holidays of Easter and Christmas, a time when many pagans prepared for the coming of spirits who would leave gifts for those who honored their coming. Indeed, the identities of saints and pagan figures were so intermingled that some saints were even transformed into pagan incarnations. Mary Magdalene, for instance, became one of the ladies of the lake of Celtic legend. He also explores how the hagiographic accounts of the saints in the scriptures reveal the origin of these symbolic figures to be the deities worshiped in pagan Europe for centuries.

Authors: Walter, Philippe, 1952-
Statement of Responsibility: Philippe Walter ; translated by Jon E. Graham
Title: Christianity
the origins of a pagan religion
Publisher: Rochester, Vt. : Inner Traditions, 2006
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Characteristics: 218 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 202-210) and index
Contents: Introduction
Carnival, the enigma of a name
November 1, Samhain
Christmas and the twelve days
February 1, Imbolc
The transitional period of Easter
May 1, Beltane
Saint John's Day
August 1, Lughnasa
Saint Michael on Mount Gargan
Conclusion
Subject Headings: Mythology History Fasts and feasts History Church history Middle Ages, 600-1500 Rites and ceremonies History
Topical Term: Mythology
Fasts and feasts
Church history
Rites and ceremonies
LCCN: 2006008095
ISBN: 1594770964
Research Call Number: JFE 06-11542
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