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37 review for The new polytheism;: Rebirth of the gods and goddesses

  1. 5 out of 5

    B.t. Newberg

    In this book David Miller attempts to show the essentially "polytheistic" nature of psychology, culture, and religion. He then proposes a re-visioning of our thinking and speaking in terms of myth and narrative rather than abstract, logical systematizing. Following in the "archetypal psychology" tradition of James Hillman, this work argues that the traditional psychotherapeutic goal of an integrated whole is monotheistic. We are better served by a psychology of the disparate and multiple. Miller In this book David Miller attempts to show the essentially "polytheistic" nature of psychology, culture, and religion. He then proposes a re-visioning of our thinking and speaking in terms of myth and narrative rather than abstract, logical systematizing. Following in the "archetypal psychology" tradition of James Hillman, this work argues that the traditional psychotherapeutic goal of an integrated whole is monotheistic. We are better served by a psychology of the disparate and multiple. Miller rehearses the traditional Romantic tropes of the "death of God" and the lifeless-ness of abstract thought. In place of God and logic he raises up narrative, image, and feeling. So far so good--he's god the chariot rolling. But Miller manages to drive it off a cliff. For every charge he makes against "monotheistic" thinking, he commits an instance of it himself, as if to accuse by example. The charge of imperialism he illustrates by claiming that we require the Greek gods and the Greek gods only in this new polytheism. His reason is "simply because, willy-nilly, we are Occidental men and women" (p. 97, italics Miller's). Obviously no Western person ever worshipped anything but the Greek gods! Another charge would be his assault on systematic thinking, which he illustrates by extending his polytheistic theology over "all religions" and "all cultures" (p. 89). For yet another charge, have a look at his call for theologians to treat the Greek religious consciousness with more sophistication and differentiation (p. 96). He illustrates the crime by taking his point of departure not from any polytheist, but from the Christian Reinhold Niebuhr. And he never does ground his work in any polytheist source, preferring to invoke god names in a style suggesting mere word association. He goes on and on with this marvelous hypocrisy. Finally, at the end of the book he nails up, in proper Martin Luther-style, a list of fifty-one theses for what the new polytheism will be. He does not fail to mention any ideal that might attract death-of-god enthusiasts, and gives no indication of how they may be fulfilled or reconciled with each other. Indeed, his antagonism against systems indicates they will not be reconciled. This is the kind of book that makes you want to say to its author: "There may be some truth hidden in what you are saying. But you yourself, sir, are a dork." Nor should it be surprising that a few gems lie hidden here. Fire a shotgun in the general direction of a target, and you are bound to hit something. So finally, before putting this tantrumming toddler of a book to bed, let's have a look at those few gems. Nevermind their context, for Miller would not have us thinking systematically about them! Here are a number of interesting excerpts, in no particular order and without explanation (much like his theses): "We do not behave the Gods; rather, their behaviors are our senses, our meanings." (p. 16) "We are the playground of a veritable theater full of Gods and Goddesses." (p. 73) "The Gods grab us, and we play out their stories." (p. 76) "By calling for an impersonal dimension in our psychology, Hillman reaches below or beyond the merely personal and discovers that the Gods and Goddesses are worlds of being and meaning in which my personal life participates." (p. 77) "Perhaps if we are patient enough, if we listen closely enough to the moods, emotions, unusual behaviors, dreams, and fantasies of ourselves and our societies, we may hear some songs that are very old, now coming once again from the severed head of Orpheus that floats in every sea just off every isle of Lesbos." (p. 99) David Miller's The New Polytheism was released in 1974 and reprinted in 1981 with a preface clarifying certain points. It created some initial excitement, and is still commented on in many current works of polytheistic interest such as John Michael Greer's A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism or Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. The book features a prefatory letter by Henry Corbin and an essay by James Hillman.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I spent many a night discussing into the wee hours this text with my colleague. Not to be missed!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brady

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natasha11

  5. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Plaisance

  6. 4 out of 5

    Günter Soydanbay

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leah

  8. 4 out of 5

    Arthur George

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Mirabello

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katarina

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Halstead

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth McKrish

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Williamscraig

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Scott

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Hunt

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joann

  18. 5 out of 5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Loliskulls

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gontran

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sem

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joi Reiki

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brienna Parsons

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Taylor

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karol Domański

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steve Ellerhoff

  27. 4 out of 5

    Felipe Chiaramonte

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  29. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fredrik Stahlfors

  31. 4 out of 5

    Horatio

  32. 4 out of 5

    Josh Craddock

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lucas Pastis

  34. 4 out of 5

    David

  35. 4 out of 5

    Joe Doxx

  36. 4 out of 5

    Ernesto Sandoval rodriguez

  37. 4 out of 5

    Hillary

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