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Yazichestvo
18 Mar 2013, 12:55
I encountered this claim first on Wikipedia, without a citation. I was skeptical but intrigued. Then I encountered the same claim in the book by James R. Lewis, Perspectives of New Age. The sources cited are surveys by Melton in 1979, and Adler, 1985.

Why should people with Jewish backgrounds be twice as likely as the general U.S. population to turn to Neopaganism? Given my mother's side of the family, I may be an example in this statistic. I have personal theories as to why exposure to Judaism may have guided me toward neopaganism.

Looking at things from the perspective of a minority religion may have opened my mind. Learning more about Judaism also made me less receptive to Christianity, which likely turned me away from mainstream religion. Then there's all the research suggesting that the Jews were originally polytheists. Or, it may just be that a lot of the most liberal religious people in the U.S. are Jewish. That's all just speculation based on personal experience. Do these factors play a role? Why do you think this trend exists?

Aeran
18 Mar 2013, 14:02
Maybe experiencing some kind of internal conflict between the dominant religion of their family and the dominant religion of their culture makes them wanna say 'fuck it' and just throw them both out and go in a whole other direction?


Also possible that Jews are just more likely to fit into what seems to be the primary demographic drawn to neopaganism (white? or at least non-asian/black, somewhat educated middle class types). Honestly, we don't have a real jewish population here, so it's hard for me to say for sure beyond what I know from TV. Maybe they just wanna be this chick:

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQlhhXHD5hzwmGYB9rwdAJFQRpkR_1yO 9Tj5FQSpNAKhvNXSKlBgg

WinterTraditions
18 Mar 2013, 14:07
Just look at the Kabbalah and how they view angels; very magickal and spiritual ideas. Now, I don't know much about the Kabbalah (and I just recently finished a unit on Judaism during Jesus' time) so I don't have anything really ground-breaking to share.

LizardMind
18 Mar 2013, 14:22
I just read the Kaballah. Many things stood out to me that are similar to pagan ideas. There is a book my student is reading that is very kaballistic in it's magick.

Aeran
18 Mar 2013, 14:29
And consider the massive influence kabbalah had on the Golden Dawn and the occult revival of the late 19th century, which in turn had a massive influence on the creation of Wicca by Gardner in the 40's.

Gleb
06 Nov 2013, 10:36
As far as I know, when Joshua started conquering Canaan, the Jewish God order him to destroy and kill all of the pagans in the territory.
I have a Jewish background. Though I am considered Israeli, I am Kemetic. My nationality doesn't prevent me from believing in one or another religion.

sirz345
08 Jan 2014, 19:27
Huh I never knew this before, I actually have a Jewish background I didn't think it could influence me that much.

Orecha
14 Jan 2014, 16:42
From personal experience, I think it has to do with the purging of spirituality and "superstition" from Judaism that occurred during the haskalla (the so-called "Jewish Enlightenment"). While in many ways Orthodox Judaism was created to fight this movement, it still comes off as a dry, dusty religion detached from any real sense of spirituality. Chasidism and kabbalah try to reinsert some of that lost spirituality, but the practitioners of either are a small minority and Talmudism always (re)asserts its dominance. It's true that there is a more spiritual focus among Sephardim, Mizrachim, and the like, but the vast majority of Jews in the US are Ashkenazi, and therefore affected the strongest by the results of the haskallah (which was an Ashkenazi movement).

So, basically, in order to find something remotely spiritual, many American Jews seek that outside of their own faith tradition, which they see as essentially dead. It's a shame too, since there is a deep spiritual system running through Israelite religions and Early Judaisms, though most American Jews don't have the religious education to know that (and others just don't care). This is also the reason why many American Jews become Buddhists and Hindus (or Bu-Jews and Hin-Jews, if you will) as well as pagans, or even why many convert to Christianity for that matter.

As a former Jew who has been through nearly every modern Jewish movement there is, I'm glad that I had the educational background to know that there is a deeper spiritual path if you can look back through time -- before Orthodox/Conservative/Reform, before the haskallah, before Maimonides, before the Talmud and the Mishnah, before the Hasmoneans and their reforms, before the Babylonian reformers, and before Kings Hezekiah and Josiah. You've got to go back a few thousand years, but it's there. While you see a great deal of Jews turned Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Eclectic Neopagans, Druids, Kemetics, and even Odinists today, I think that as education and public knowledge increase, there will be a drive among Jewish people (and Christians too) the world over to reclaim true Israelite religion in the modern world, either as Iron Age practices (like Orach Qad'moni) or Bronze Age Canaanite Polytheism (like Natib Qadesh​).

shebani
16 Jan 2014, 15:49
Hope so Orchecha. I know a few as well and we seem to be on this move and at various stages of moving toward it, a great thing I think.

Heka
17 Jan 2014, 19:42
Maybe they just wanna be this chick:

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQlhhXHD5hzwmGYB9rwdAJFQRpkR_1yO 9Tj5FQSpNAKhvNXSKlBgg

I wanna be this chick. Or with this chick. Whatever.

Aeran
17 Jan 2014, 20:17
I wanna be this chick. Or with this chick. Whatever.

Back off, Alyson is mine :mad:

Heka
17 Jan 2014, 20:40
Back off, Alyson is mine :mad:

Pah, whatev's. She'd pick me.

Aeran
17 Jan 2014, 20:59
Pah, whatev's. She'd pick me.

That's it, we're going to have to duel for her. Pistols or swords?

Heka
17 Jan 2014, 21:13
That's it, we're going to have to duel for her. Pistols or swords?

You're not touching this pretty face. I told you, she's going to pick. And she'll pick me. No doubt.

(swords) :P

Aeran
17 Jan 2014, 21:17
I'll see you at sunrise!

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=4zGmOkLCDCwK5M&tbnid=RmX5S-JX-q2m1M:&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffencing-future.com%2Fengine%2Fdoc_images%2Fduel.JPG&ei=SA7aUoiiFMWrkAWbpIFI&psig=AFQjCNGc1WVNUYitAAVJt3fbmBc3Kl3ufA&ust=1390108616371736

Heka
17 Jan 2014, 22:15
I'll see you at sunrise!

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&docid=4zGmOkLCDCwK5M&tbnid=RmX5S-JX-q2m1M:&ved=0CAUQjBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffencing-future.com%2Fengine%2Fdoc_images%2Fduel.JPG&ei=SA7aUoiiFMWrkAWbpIFI&psig=AFQjCNGc1WVNUYitAAVJt3fbmBc3Kl3ufA&ust=1390108616371736

(pics not working!)

Aeran
18 Jan 2014, 01:42
It's just two dudes having an oldschool duel, like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/FrzDuellImBoisDeBoulogneDurand1874.jpg

Starless
18 Jan 2014, 17:22
I don't know about former Jews, but almost all non-mainstream (mostly Pagan and Buddhist) people I know, including myself, come from a Christian background.

Gleb
18 Jan 2014, 23:13
It is complicated. People with Jewish backgrounds who turn to paganism don't automatically become Neopagans. I think it depends on every person's view and beliefs. As Orecha wrote - there are those who totally converted in different paths of paganism and there are those who probably keep some things from their Abrahamic beliefs.

Denarius
19 Jan 2014, 05:27
there are those who totally converted in different paths of paganism and there are those who probably keep some things from their Abrahamic beliefs.

Which still makes them neopagan. Unless you are talking about the reverse, which is incorporating pagan elements into their beliefs.

The point I am trying to make is, this is a grey idea no matter how you slice it. You have non-abrahamic paganism, abrahamic paganism, pagan abrahamism, and non-pagan abrahamism.

Judeo-pagan syncretism is a spectrum, and depending on how you view things anything that isn't strictly and completely non-pagan abrahamism could be interpreted as a form of paganism.

The hard and fast rule with grey areas is that you are what you identify as, unless you are wrong. Some people like to make grey where none exists, but that's an entire discussion in and of itself.

Gleb
19 Jan 2014, 05:35
Which still makes them neopagan. Unless you are talking about the reverse, which is incorporating pagan elements into their beliefs.

The point I am trying to make is, this is a grey idea no matter how you slice it. You have non-abrahamic paganism, abrahamic paganism, pagan abrahamism, and non-pagan abrahamism.

Judeo-pagan syncretism is a spectrum, and depending on how you view things anything that isn't strictly and completely non-pagan abrahamism could be interpreted as a form of paganism.

The hard and fast rule with grey areas is that you are what you identify as, unless you are wrong. Some people like to make grey where none exists, but that's an entire discussion in and of itself.

I worshiped Judaism many years ago. Now I am totally devoted to Kemetism. Does it make me Neopagan according to what you are saying?

Denarius
19 Jan 2014, 06:02
I worshiped Judaism many years ago. Now I am totally devoted to Kemetism. Does it make me Neopagan according to what you are saying?

Yes, because kemetism is a non-christian reconstructionist faith. It is therefore by definition neopagan. I don't see how anything I said has anything to do with that.

Orecha
19 Jan 2014, 17:05
Yes, because kemetism is a non-christian reconstructionist faith. It is therefore by definition neopagan. I don't see how anything I said has anything to do with that.
I think the issue may have to do with the term "Neopagan." Most people I know, both in the academic field of religion and among practitioners, tend to view Neopaganism as a particular form of modern paganism, generally sprouting from and influenced by Wicca. Kemetism, by and large, is a reconstructionist/revivalist movement and is, therefore, no more "Neopagan" (by this definition) than Sami religion.

Rowanwood
19 Jan 2014, 19:01
I think the issue may have to do with the term "Neopagan." Most people I know, both in the academic field of religion and among practitioners, tend to view Neopaganism as a particular form of modern paganism, generally sprouting from and influenced by Wicca. Kemetism, by and large, is a reconstructionist/revivalist movement and is, therefore, no more "Neopagan" (by this definition) than Sami religion.

But considering the word pagan means a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions and neo means new, wouldn't all revivalists technically be neopagan?

Just because there's a misinformed connotation of neopagan as meaning Wiccan, doesn't make it so.

Gleb
19 Jan 2014, 22:07
I can't see how it makes me Neopagan. Here's a defenition that I have found in the web:


Neo-Pagans are a community of faiths bringing ancient Pagan and magickal traditions to the modern age--including mostly Wicca but also Druidism, Asatru, Shamanism, neo-Native American, and more. Neo-Pagan is an umbrella term for various and diverse beliefs with many elements in common. Some Neo-Pagans find no incongruence practicing Neo-Paganism along with adherence to another faith, such as Christianity or Judaism.

from here- http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2001/06/What-Neo-Pagans-Believe.aspx.
It says that Neopagans practice various things along with an Abrahamic religion; though I don't worship Judaism anymore.
Though, I don't give such a big meaning to being neopagan. I follow the path I feel bonded with and it's all that matters to me :)

Denarius
19 Jan 2014, 22:36
Neo-Pagans are a community of faiths bringing ancient Pagan and magickal traditions to the modern age

Are you arguing that Kemetism is a new religion or that it's an abrahamic faith? Because I'd be very interested in how you came to either of those conclusions.

Kemetism is a pagan religion, by most definitions. It's polytheistic, historical, ethnic, and non-christian.

If the point you are making is that paganism is necessarily rather incidentally practiced alongside abrahamic faith... then you got a very wrong impression of it somewhere. Paganism and abrahamism are (debatably) not mutually exclusive, but one is not a requirement of the other.

Gleb
19 Jan 2014, 22:41
I am saying that I worship Kemetism only - without Abrahamic beliefs.
Though, I am not certain about the definition it gives to me as a religion follower.

Orecha
21 Jan 2014, 13:22
But considering the word pagan means a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions and neo means new, wouldn't all revivalists technically be neopagan?

Just because there's a misinformed connotation of neopagan as meaning Wiccan, doesn't make it so.
I never said that Neopagan=Wiccan, just that from an academic point of view, most Neopagan movements are formed from and/or influenced by Wicca, a religion that also is one of the earliest and most prolific Neopagan relgions (which developed in the 1940s and forms roughly 80% of the total of the Neopagan population as defined below).

From the standpoint of the academic study of religion, modern paganism (the correct term, or simply "paganism" or sometimes "contemporary paganism") divides up as follows:

Neopaganism (roughly 1 million practitioners)

Esoteric

Romantic (Druidry, Viking Revival, Völkisch movements, Adonism, etc.)
High Ceremonial (Hermeticism, Golden Dawn, Thelema, etc.)


Syncretic (and Eclectic)

Contemporary Witchcraft (Wicca, Hedgecraft, etc.)
New Age
Goddess Movement
"Eclectic Reconstructionism"



Ethnic Paganisms (roughly 941 million-1 billion practitioners, not counting Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, and Taoists, which are considered "World Religions")

Traditionalist

Pristine/Uncontacted/Isolated (like Sentinelese religion)
Contacted (most tribal religions of South America and Africa)
Diasporic (like Yoruba; also Traditional Diasporic Eclectic, like Vodou, Voodoo, and Santeria)
Modernized (like Shenism, Shinto, and Mazdaism)


Reconstructionist

Academic/Purist
Conjecturist
Revivalist




The primary difference between Neopaganism and ethnic paganisms in this definition is approach. Modern Neopaganism often sees the community as Paganism with a capital "P." Ethnic paganisms are just that: paganisms. They tend to not see themselves as connected to one another, except perhaps as unifying in their status as minority religions. Neopagan religions often have common themes and language that have spread throughout the community, such as "handfasting," duotheism, spellwork, Jungian archetypal deities, and Wiccan-derived holiday cycles (Wheel of the Year). Neopaganism also tends to take (though not always) a soft-theistic approach (poly- or otherwise). Ethnic paganisms, on the other hand, tend to not have any (or very little) common vocabulary with often very few common concepts, and they take a hard-theistic or non-theistic approach, with soft-theism not appearing in traditionalist ethnic paganisms.

While self identification is taken into account with classification, as are the works of pagan authors attempting to identify variances within modern paganism (such as Isaac Bonewits), the academic study of religion generally seeks to devise its own categories for religious classification, often separate from how a practitioner or community may classify themselves. So while there is a common enough usage of the term "Neo-Pagan Reconstructionist" within the pan-pagan community and the internet, the scientific classification is pushing toward a different direction based on religious taxonomy, origins, and ethnic roots, thereby viewing Neopaganism and pagan reconstructionism as two separate categories. Revivalists, for example, are not always the primarily white, western individuals that populate the Neopagan religions listed above, but are often individuals seeking to reclaim their own ethnic roots, stolen from them by missionary movements, such as with Mongolian tribal revivalism (nomadic peoples reclaiming their ancestral religion from Buddhism and Islam which destroyed it). Also, revivalism does not necessarily imply that the religion is completely dead either, just that it needs new life breathed into it in order to survive into the future, such as what is happening with Sami religion. Because reconstructionists are seeking to recreate or revive a historical ethnic tradition, scientifically, they are grouped with traditionalist ethnic pagans like those from Siberia, the Amazon, etc. Of course, there are some recognized grey areas and religions that do not always fit neatly in the system, but it is the current system all the same.

Anyway, all of this has gotten terribly off topic and has become an argument of semantics (and about a page on Alyson Hannigan)... Isn't the discussion about whether or not individuals of Jewish descent represent a disproportionate amount of the pan-pagan community for such a small ethnoreligious group?