What is the ‘Nature’ in Natural Religion? Rethinking Paganism in the Eighteenth Century

February 10, 2018

The development of paganology in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries sparks a shift from condemning heathens to theorizing primitive religiosity. Tracing this shift in the monumental compendium Religious Ceremonies and Customs of All the Peoples of the World (1723-1743), natural religion emerges as more than just intuitive knowledge of the deity as it signals the totality of relations among natures–divine, human, and nonhuman. This new conception of pagan nature queries the relations between materiality and immateriality, which has acute implications for the theory and practice of eighteenth-century aesthetics.

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Posted: February 05, 2018