chapter  10
16 Pages

Enchantment and emplacement

Paganism is a new religion that is evolving within the modernist West, drawing on older repertoires to engage with contemporary concerns. ese facts generate some basic questions in the prehistory of this chapter: are tradition, hierarchical authority, unied ideology, and community denitive of religion? Is it legitimate to claim membership of something that should be identied as a religion while knowingly inventing cosmologies and rituals, developing individual practices, and not committing to an agreed creed? In what ways do the disparate practices and interests of Pagans cohere into a recognizable unity? Given that Paganism undoubtedly began in the matrix of modernism, how has it become something other than another kind of Protestant modernism (i.e. something disenchanted and ideas-focused)? If questions like those underlie this chapter, what is it about Paganism that justies its use as a lens through which to approach the larger question of redening religion? Taking cues from and following clues in the work of colleagues, I will argue that Paganism is more deserving of the label “religion” than Christianity-asbelief-system is.