This essay was originally published at The Agora: The Central Hub for the Patheos Pagan Channel. This is the first of a series entitled “Naturalistic Traditions” previously published at Agora.
Were there Naturalistic Pagans in the ancient world?
This is the central question of a series of essays called “Naturalistic Traditions” which I published at Agora exploring the historical roots of naturalistic ways among Pagans.
Many may assume that Naturalistic Pagans, who tend to be agnostics or atheists, are an exclusively modern phenomenon. The “Naturalistic Traditions” series questions that assumption, probing various historical Pagan traditions for something resembling naturalism.
The significance of this project goes beyond naturalism. Indeed, it calls into question the historical consciousness of Pagans in general. If there were naturalists among ancient Pagans, how might that change the way we see the myths and traditions on which Pagans of all styles of belief base their practices?