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With Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions, Joyce and River Higginbotham have attempted the difficult task of translating their classroom teaching experience into book form.   In general, they do a good job.

Unfortunately, the authors state that Paganism is an umbrella term for many different "denominations" of Paganism. Paganism is indeed an umbrella term for many separate religions, many of which share little in common except being under the Pagan umbrella. To refer to them as denominations would be like calling Christianity and Islam "denominations" of Judaism because they are all monotheist religions

Despite this fatal problem for beginners, the Higginbothams' book is an interesting resource for those teaching classes on Paganism. Many of the exercises in this book are original and useful for getting people to think about the various ideas about deity, religion, and spirituality. For example, the "God Map" in the "A Pagan View of Deity" chapter would be a useful tool for showing the different views of deity that various religions, both Pagan and non-Pagan, have in a simplified and introductory way.

While I can’t completely recommend this book as an introduction to Paganism, I believe that those teaching classes on Paganism should take a look at this book for its many interesting teaching methods and exercises.  Moreover, I believe this book would be appropriate to give friends and colleagues who are honestly trying to find out what we believe.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Joyce and River Higginbotham
Llewellyn Publications, 2002
pp. 250, $14.95
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