Ascendant: Modern Essays on Polytheism and Theology

Edited by Michael Hardy

Price: $10.99 (paperback)/$4.99 (ebook) 
Publication Date: 27 January 2019
Place of Publication: Asheville, North Carolina
ISBN: 978-1794182844
Pages: 165 pp
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5 x 8

Theology, the discipline that analyzes, examines, and seeks to explain religious ideas, is a vibrant area of inquiry. Scholars and philosophers have produced countless works of theology over the past several thousand years.

In the West, however, virtually all theology concerns monotheistic faith systems. Polytheism escapes the notice of most scholars, and those who do address it rarely write books intended for a general, non-academic audience. Polytheology must become its own active discipline if modern Pagan practice is to deepen and grow. Monotheistic assumptions so pervade our culture that even those few people born into polytheist religions (or those who grew up with no religion at all) cannot help but be influenced by them.

Polytheology raises questions that cannot be adequately addressed by answers originally developed in a monotheistic context. Because polytheism is inherently open to variation, the goal of polytheology is not to arrive at a single truth so much as to elucidate the possibilities, to honor and embrace differences, to explore the nature of the Gods and their relationship to humanity. These philosophical ideas provide a greater understanding of the Cosmos, Gods and humanity, and topics such as morality, mortality, and myth.

This volume — with contributions from Edward P. Butler, Patrick Dunn, John Michael Greer, Brandon Hensley, Wayne Keysor, and Gwendolyn Reece — is, we hope, a useful addition to this young but growing field.

Ascendant will be available shortly in paperback format through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, while ebook editions are available immediately through kindle, nook, kobo, iTunes, playster, 24symbols, and scribd. It will soon be available through additional retailers, as well as Overdrive. All of the proceeds from Ascendant – as well as many of the other volumes in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina series – will be used to help promote the revival of the worship of the Greek and Egyptian Gods, with a portion of the proceeds given to a worthy charitable organization in their name.  So, not only will you be getting a wonderful book about sacred journeys – but your money will be going to do good work and help the revival of ancient polytheistic religions.

ATTENTION Librarians, Teachers and Retailers: Ascendant is also available at reduced cost for academic institutions, lending libraries (public and private) and retailers. Check our online store, or email with any questions.

We are rebuilding the Library of Alexandria one book at a time!


Dedication … 3

Introduction: Theology: What It Is, Why We Need It by Michael Hardy … 7  

From the Desk of the Editor-in-Chief by Rebecca Buchanan … 9

Why Theology? by Wayne Keysor … 13

Approaching Theology Through the Divine Individual by Brandon Hensley … 21

The One and the Many: An Essay on Pagan Neoplatonism by John Michael Greer … 41 

Two Models of Polytheism by Edward P. Butler … 63

You Can’t Offend the Gods by Patrick Dunn … 81

The Hellenic Gods and the Polis by Gwendolyn Reece … 89 

Of Lying Gods and True Religion by Wayne Keysor … 111

Moral Humans and the Immoral Gods: An Examination of the Problem of Divine Evil in Contemporary Paganism by Wayne Keysor … 125

Appendix A: Image Credits … 153

Appendix B: Recommended Reading … 155

Appendix C: Our Contributors … 157

Appendix D: About Bibliotheca Alexandrina — Current Titles — Forthcoming Titles … 161