Naturalistic Traditions: Were the ancient Skeptics naturalistic?

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Thus far in this series, we’ve found the world’s first Naturalistic Pagans in the Greek Ionians, Atomists, and Epicureans, with potentially-naturalistic cousins in the Cynics and Stoics, and a generally conducive atmosphere among the Greek populace. Now we come to a tradition with strong naturalistic leanings: the ancient Skeptics. Examining this complex tradition reveals another potentially naturalistic tradition, and teaches us something important about the definition of naturalism. [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Cynics and Stoics naturalistic?

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“Live according to nature.” This was the motto of not one but two ancient Greek traditions: the Cynics and Stoics. Were these traditions naturalistic? After exploring their philosophies and concepts of nature, we’ll have a look at their religious practices to see if they can rightly be counted as ancient Naturalistic Pagans. [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were Epicurus and the atomists naturalistic?

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If the universe is nothing but atoms, as modern physics proclaims, what place can there be for gods? None, some might say. Surprisingly, this was not the conclusion of the earliest atomists. Ancient Greek naturalists, far from rejecting religion, sought ways to understand religion in naturalistic terms. In short, they became Naturalistic Pagans. [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Classical Greeks naturalistic?

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Last time, we discovered the world’s oldest Naturalistic Pagans* in the Ionian philosophers of ancient Greece. Yet, they comprised no more than a handful of intellectuals in a world full of theists. What was the effect of naturalism on the rest of Greece as it developed in the Classical period? Did it spread through the culture or remain isolated? [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were the Ionian philosophers naturalistic?

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There are those who believe Naturalistic Paganism is but a modern thing, a young sapling in the forest of Paganism. In this article, the truth about its age is discovered. [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Was archaic Greece naturalistic?

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This series on the history of ancient naturalism began with an overview that tipped my hand: I think naturalism emerged first in Classical Greece.* So, what was so special about the Greeks? Was their archaic culture (roughly 800 – 480 BCE) already inherently pregnant with the idea of naturalism? [Read more...]

Naturalistic Traditions: Were archaic Egypt and Mesopotamia naturalistic?

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Could there have been strands of naturalism running through archaic civilizations such as Egypt and Mesopotamia? As in the cases of hunter-gatherers and early agricultural peoples, tempting evidence suggests it is possible, though unlikely. At the same time, there is good reason to believe these civilizations paved the way for the development of naturalism in later eras. [Read more...]


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