A Historical and Ethnographic Study
Michael T. Cooper’s Contemporary Druidry: A Historical and Ethnographic Study is a profoundly sensitive account of a pagan identity from an evangelical Christian researcher. The work amounts to an interfaith breakthrough. Not only a sympathetic and enlightening understanding of Druidry itself, but Cooper also manages to open the possibilities of intellectual and empathetic exchange between a pagan position and a Christian one.
Comfortably grounded with a balance of sociological tools and understandings, Cooper’s remarkably human and informative narrative holds appeal to the insider as well as outsider, to the generally curious as well as those with specific interest.
Table of Contents
- Introducing Contemporary Druidry
- In Search of Contemporary Druids
- Ancientization and the Revival of Druidry
- Researching Contemporary Druidry
- The Meaning of Life
- Death, Well-being, and Misfortune
- Guidance and the Unknown
- Stonehenge, Druids, and King Arthur Uther Pendragon
- Pathways to Contemporary Druidry
- Stonehenge and the Mesolithic Pits
Whether you’ve come to this book out of curiosity, academic interest or whatever reason, you will be enlightened. This is an academic and intellectual work by a university professor, but do not expect it to be dry and merely fact filled. Far from it, you’ll be taken on an enchanting journey – an adventure no less – where you’ll meet some of the most colourful and magical figures in the modern Western world, people who may re-ignite long lost memories of Arthurian heroes and magical quests. Christians reading this work will, I know, be inspired. The author’s intention is not to convert them, neither is it to give them fuel to convert Pagans. Rather it is about lifting the curtain on a world not too far from their own, to see and witness a genuine spiritual tradition lived out and practised by those who walk their talk.
Rev. Mark Townsend, Author of The Path of the Blue Raven: From Religion to Re-enchantement (O Books)
What I learned in Dr. Cooper’s Contemporary Druidry is that Neopaganism is as much a result of Druidism as it is of Wicca; that the respective founders of each, Ross Nichols and Gerald Gardner, were good friends and worked together closely. Also that, along with nature and ancestors, Druidry is essentially deity oriented and contrasts accordingly with the depersonalized bi-theism of Wicca and the central non-theism of Dark Green Religion. Exploring the polysemic nature of holy places (e.g., Stonehenge), Cooper allows that such a focus is what people believe it to be, open to their imagination. He recognizes that religious identity is constituted by one’s distinctive intellectual, experiential and behavioral identities through which religious satisfaction is obtained when inherent or perceived deprivations are fulfilled; that – as in the case of Druidry – “identity is reinforced by the experiences that practitioners have as they attempt to connect with ancient ways.” In all, this intelligently and well-written study of the Celtic Druid faith is one to be highly recommended.
Dr. Michael York, Professor (retired) of Sociology of Religion, Bath Spa University College, Bath, United Kingdom and author of Pagan Theology(New York University Press)
Michael Cooper’s Contemporary Druidry provides an interesting and informative picture of Druid history, beliefs and practices. His access to many Druids, including some of their most important leaders, makes this book a necessary read in the growing literature on Druids. Cooper has served the Christian faith well in being an open, honest, and sensitive Christian scholar in his many years of engagement with those who follow the Druid path.
Dr. James A. Beverley, Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics, Tyndale Seminary, Toronto, Canada
About the Author
Dr. Cooper earned a PhD in Intercultural Studies with a focus on religious movements and a minor in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He currently serves as a missiologist for a missions agency where he focuses on missiological research and equipping missionaries for effective cultural engagement. He has thirty years of missions experience, including ten years as a pioneer church planter in Romania after the fall of communism and has equipped church planters and leaders in Africa, Europe, North America, South America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. He has written and contributed to more than 30 books and academic articles and has presented conference lectures at the London School of Economics, University of Bordeaux, Loyola University, Baylor University, and many others. His recent book, Ephesiology: The Study of the Ephesian Movement is a best seller at William Carey Publishing.
New Religious Movements and Western Spiritualities
Here’s a learning opportunity you will certainly enjoy. Filled with interviews with religious practitioners, you will learn directly from those who are on the inside of each of the new religions we study. This learning experience is designed for those who are interested in the religions in their neighborhoods.
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