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Book suggestions?

Post  Apollyon on Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:09 am

I gather from my reading of other posters that a number of you have been followers for a number of years. I myself would consider my faith in its infancy. Most of what I know, I have gleaned from the internet-what folks like us had to do for information and contact back when must have been a break pain.
While I have scoured the web, I have yet to purchase any hard copy works. I have little funds, and would hate to blow much needed money on a book only to find out the author has no bleeding clue what is going on. I have an old copy of old stones new temples...I thought about buying a book of Timothy's, but I have seen a couple dismal reviews, as well as one that claimed he regurgitated a handful of it...
I wish to become a better follower, as I know several things I do are in error, or are probably wrong.

Anyone know of a good book to get a lot out of, without regretting the price?
I don't want just another 'mythos' book or one that gives me dry speculations on how it used to be done (Im sorry, but some recon folks can put me to sleep), but one that delves into the worship and practice of worship in a practical manner....
Whatta ya'll say?
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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Erodius on Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:05 pm

Mikalson's Ancient Greek Religion is excellent. Burkert's similarly titled Greek Religion is also helpful, but is not, in my opinion, as good as Mikalson's; it's more long-winded and is not very interesting to read. I also recommend Scheid's Introduction to Roman Religion, as there is much overlap, and I think one should be familiar with both Greek and Roman religious systems.

Tim's books are generally not bad, but I have read all of them, and can say that there is virtually nothing in them that cannot be gained from a more scholarly text or from the primary sources themselves. And Tim's books do contain long appendices, (sometimes taking up nearly half the length of the book Shocked ) which are nothing more than copy-pastes of portions of primary texts which are available, generally, for free online anyway. They aren't awful, as I said, but I think there are much better uses of your money (especially considering you are low on funds), to be honest, than these or other contemporary publications.

If you only buy one book, definitely, make it Mikalson.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Callisto on Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:23 pm

I agree with Heron regarding Burkert and Mikalson, and would add Martin P. Nilsson's "Greek Popular Religion" to them.

I also agree with the assessment of Tim's books. There is some repetition between them (certainly btw A Beginner's Guide and Hellenismos Today), with sizable portions of the books consumed by primary texts that are readily found online and appendices. In Hellenismos Today he wastes far too much space writing comparisons between Hellenismos and Neo-pagan eclecticism (often erroneously referring to it as "Wicca" but IIRC he was a NeoWiccan before becoming Recon). A paragraph or so would have sufficed on the distinction between Reconstructionists and Neopagan religions in general and moved on. However, I can see it would be a good book to hand to a loved one who knows nothing about Hellenismos and how it differs from what's largely associated with Neopaganism.

Truthfully, none of the books on modern Hellenic polytheism are "must reads", this includes Drew Campbell and Sarah Kate Isrta Winter. (Btw, Campbell is near impossible to find now and usually quite expensive, and it seems only the first edition of Winter's is worth reading at all, and would also have to be searched for.) The value of any of them IMO is that they can be helpful to the individual who's having difficulty organizing himself, an idea of how to take info learned from primary and secondary sources and construct his home practices. Just keep in mind these books are ultimately the author's perspective, which should be used as a springboard/template to build upon and refine.


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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Apollyon on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:25 pm

I thank you both!
I will have to look into all of them!
(Feedback when I can)
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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Saesara on Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:48 pm

I'd second the "Greek Popular Religion" recommendation, and you can get it free-domain online. sacred-texts.com/cla/index.htm It is pretty dry-scholarly, though. All of Nillson's will be, in addition to anything by Burkert.
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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Lesbian Believer on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:47 pm

@Saesara: The link you posted seems to be quite interesting. I was looking for more Greek books and texts since I bought the "Homeric Hymns" in the local bookshop. I will read through the themes on the website when I have got more time. If anybody knows more useful internet links on mythology and Greek religion in general: Please post them.

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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Erodius on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:58 pm

The very best of the best af far as resource sites go has got to be http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/index.htm. Nearly every possible text from Classical Antiquity is available in their Classics section. Likewise, this site has free-access online versions of almost every major religious or philosophical system from across the world, from Christianity, to Shakespeare, to Zoroastrianism, to Taoism, to Swedenborg. If you want to read it, it's probably somewhere on sacred-texts.com.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Callisto on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:24 pm

There are many useful books available for free or inexpensive downloads. Here are a few:

Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison
Epilegomena to the Study of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison
The Religion of Ancient Greece by Jane Ellen Harrison
Ancient Art and Ritual by Jane Ellen Harrison

The Elements of Greek Worship by Solomon Charles Kaines Smith

The Home Life of the Ancient Greeks by Hugo Blümner

A History of Ancient Greek Literature by Gilbert Murray
Five Stages of Greek Religion by Gilbert Murray ** (not free, but is only $2.51)

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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  OfThespiae on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:31 pm

Callisto wrote:(Btw, Campbell is near impossible to find now and usually quite expensive, and it seems only the first edition of Winter's is worth reading at all, and would also have to be searched for.)

Joining Hellenion gains one access to a complete PDF version of Old Stones, New Temples. It has an unusual encryption, but it seems to read fine in Adobe Reader. Considering the book's scarcity and the quick increase in pricing every time a copy ends up on eBay, I think it's worth the $10, if one can spare it --it's not indispensable, and if you know what to watch for, Campbell's background in CM (Ceremonial Magick) is obvious here or there (considering the state of the Hellenic community at the time it was written, though, pretty much anybody who'd been "mainstream pagan" first would've found it hard to divorce CM from any traditional practise they otherwise converted to, later).

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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Callisto on Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:54 pm

Thanks, that's good to know! I don't think it's a necessary read but $10. (which IIRC was or is close to the original cover price way back when) is a reasonable enough price for anyone sufficiently interested.

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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  OfThespiae on Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:39 pm

Callisto wrote:Thanks, that's good to know! I don't think it's a necessary read but $10. (which IIRC was or is close to the original cover price way back when) is a reasonable enough price for anyone sufficiently interested.

Yeah, I forgot to finish my earlier thought cos I was on my way out, but yea, it's not necessary, it has its problems, but it still has decent info, for those who want to check it out.

As for recommendations, I personally *like* Burkert, but I was also that one kid in school who got through Shakespeare and Chaucer without the Cliff's Notes to assist. I'm probably not normal in this regard.

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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Erodius on Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:49 pm

Oh I adore Chaucer!

I like Burkert too, but I think for a general introduction, at least for the average person, Mikalson is more readable.

Also, in a purely practical sense, the generally-available paperback edition of Burkert (the edition I have) is printed in tiny Baskerville font on fluorescently-white paper that makes my eyes hurt reading it.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  OfThespiae on Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:19 pm

Ερωδιός wrote:Oh I adore Chaucer!

I like Burkert too, but I think for a general introduction, at least for the average person, Mikalson is more readable.

Also, in a purely practical sense, the generally-available paperback edition of Burkert (the edition I have) is printed in tiny Baskerville font on fluorescently-white paper that makes my eyes hurt reading it.

A friend gave me my own copy of Greek Religion a few years ago (they said I needed to free up the library's copy), and mine has a small font, buy it's printed on an off-white pulp. I guess that's an older edition? I know what you mean, about that super-bright paper --it's almost like it vibrates. If that's a concern for some people, the older edition has several used copies on Amazon, and half.com probably has some, too.


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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  Worshipper of Eros on Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:55 pm

Mikalson's Ancient Greek Religion is excellent.

I'm currently reading this book, via the recommendation, for the purpose of adding some flesh to the bare bones of what I know and for that purpose it is wonderful, I'm just under half way through and it is painting a good picture of what worship was like brush stroke by brush stroke.
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Re: Book suggestions?

Post  tayarlin on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:36 pm

If you have interest in either Hermes or Athena, I suggest Karl Kerenyi's books. They are fairly priced on Amazon. I found Winter's book also helpful for a new practitioner.

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