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5 Books About Transcending Barbarism That I Have to Return to the Library Today

Does the worship of many gods correlate with the need for many wives?

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

March 26, 2013 - 3:00 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions for great books to read about the history of the world before Judaism and Christianity?

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.

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Late to comment, I realize.

Just want to let you know that your handwritten / photographed posts are amazing structures. This use of technology, even a breakthrough in technology, is, at the same time, a throwback, and wonderful.

The technique has the power of metaphor as well as being a treat for the eyes.

In some ways, it is vaguely similar to using Pandora to listen to music of the 1940's.

I think it is great!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am a folklore and mythology enthusiast, and as such I have read some pagan/great goddess books, since there is some overlap. One thing I've learned is this : Any book written by someone with "Raven" in their name or pseudonym is gonna be crap.

I recommend the great Ronald Hutton for folklore/mythology , neo [pagan, and HONEST pagans. The way he tears the stupidest "arguments" and "evidence" of the unthinking regurgitators of Murray and Gardner , not to mention the even less intellectual "writers" for Llewelyn Press into little teeny weeny shreds is a thing of beauty to bring tears of joy into one's eyes. I particularly recommend his Triumph of the Moon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You might try "War Before Civilization" by Keeley. This book looks at archeological evidence as well studies of still existing stone age cultures to see just how common war was in pre-history. Turns out it was quite common though on a much smaller scale with comparatively heavier casualties. Pokes some big holes in the whole "noble savage" ideal.

Along the lines of "Porn Generation" you might try "How Nations Die," I don't recall the author. This book looks are the 10 signs a culture is dying. As I recall most nations have 3 or 4 of the symptoms near the end, but the US has all 10.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Make sure, Dave, that you beware of the bogus stuff about ancient "witch cults," "Earth Mother-Goddesses," and a continuing "ancient religion" with roots in prehistory, promoted by people such as Margaret Murray, Gerald Gardner and a person now known as Starhawk, who, among other 19th- and 20th-century persons, basically invented Wicca.

There was an in-depth, fascinating and instructive article about this in Atlantic Monthly, entitled "The Scholars and the Goddess." It also shows how the numbers of supposed victims of Christian witch-hunts was hugely exaggerated by anti-Christian neo-pagans. I think its well worth your while. Here's a link....

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/01/the-scholars-and-the-goddess/305910/?single_page=true
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for the tip. Yes, I've already come across books like that that are written from a goddess-worshiping perspective and try and present themselves as scholarship to argue on behalf of some kind of pre-Judeo-Christian utopia before the tyranny of patriarchy. What they don't say is that matriarchy is just as bad as patriarchy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...matriarchy is just as bad as patriarchy..."

That's for sure!

And also, Barry Cunliffe wrote some good, scholarly but readable books on ancient Europe and the Celts, which I believe include at least some discussion on pre-Christian religion, and also might point you to some other more in-depth works on ancient European religion.

J. P. Mallory wrote some very good, scholarly works on the ancient Indo-Europeans, with extensive footnotes as I recall.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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