Judaism vs. Paganism

Topics: Religion, Judaism, Witchcraft Pages: 5 (1714 words) Published: May 22, 2013
History has been known to show religion as a way for people to find a mental relief in hard times. Religion gives humans something to look forward to and to use as guidance for their day to day lives. Naturally, this means there will be many different types of religions to satisfy the diverse population from history through modern times. Two quite different religions, Judaism and Paganism have more similarities than one may think.

Paganism, sometimes known as Neo-Paganism or Wiccan, is said to have no official origins aside from an improvable man, Gerald Gardener’s collection of “historical” coven beliefs (Berger 7). Groups of Wiccans who practice their faith together, called covens, have been passing down their rituals, texts, and beliefs for hundreds of years (Berger 8). Some scholars believe that through the times of witch hunts and famine, many of these traditions were lost. Since Pagan has been such a hidden religion due to misconception and witch hunts, most historical tradition was oral (Bowker 1040). Through newfound texts and online interactions, some of these traditions have been resurrected and new ones still are being created from scratch and altered from the past.

The Pagan faith does not have a “set in stone” text, such as the Bible or the Tanakh. However, after the finding and exploration of America and once the witch hunts in Europe quieted, newer Pagans, or Neo-Pagans, chose to take a historically unique religion and expose it. They began to make “How-To” type books about the Wiccan faith, revealing a great deal of secrecy and nostalgic virtues behind the craft of a religion that lasted so long in Britain and other European countries. These books went viral, especially once the Internet was created. Today, many Neo-Pagans have websites and chat groups through which they communicate and learn new rituals (Berger 3-4).

Due to the secrecy of Paganism for so many years, the practice is very centralized to location and diverse covens. It is not a “temple-driven” faith, and can be practiced alone or in a coven. Thanks to the newly printed texts and the Internet, it is simple for one to do some research and decide to become a Wiccan.

On the flip side to this unique religion is Judaism, centralized in Israel. Similar to the Pagan faith, there is no single “founder,” or central leader, like a Pope. The faith survived through Christianity withholding their Bible written in Hebrew, which is the only religion to have died off and been resurrected. They have altered their language to assume modern-day tongue for items such as computers, cell phones, and televisions.

Jews pass along their faith through two main teaching texts. The first, called the Torah, is the Jewish scripture. It is found within the Jewish Bible and is used for the services in the synagogues. The second text is arguably the most important. The Tanakh, which is the Hebrew Bible, includes the Torah, Prophets, and Hagiographa. This sacred text is how the language was revived. It also includes the first few books of the Christian Bible (Fisher 273-274).

Though Paganism and Judaism do not seem very compatible, they surprisingly have some similarity. For instance, each religion had a horrific historic trauma. The witch hunts which fled European lands between 1400 and 1700 affected both legitimate Pagans and non-Pagans alike. There were an estimated 100,000 deaths within these instances. The accusers, which were anyone from the towns and villages including their religious leaders and government officials, blamed typically older, single women who were once called healers for possessing the devil inside of their bodies or souls (Kagan 440). In legitimate Pagans, single women who attended “sabbats,” or mass meetings for religious purposes, were said to be conspiring against the towns and contacting the devil. Sabbats are a true part of Wiccan, however not as the townspeople thought. Sabbats are actually the spiritual division of the year...
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