Saturday, 26 February 2011
A Victorian Theology of Everything
The book isn't just about primitive pagan beliefs -- it's about every religion that ever existed. The author's theory is that in the dim recesses of prehistory there was One True Religion, which was (ahem) cock worship. Over time the True Faith became corrupted and transformed into the vast diversity of religions we find today (or in 1880, to be precise). The author finds traces of Phallicism in ancient Egypt, ancient Scandinavia and ancient Greece, among the Phoenicians, Druids and Native Americans, in modern day India, China and Japan... and even in the Judaeo-Christian tradition (which was more sacrosanct in the 19th Century than it is today). Any theological allusion to a tree, pole, pillar, obelisk, rod or staff is a Phallic Symbol, as are any references to bulls, rams, goats and serpents. Gods such as Bacchus, Dionysius, Hermes, Mahadeva, Siva, Osiris, Jupiter, Moloch and Baal are, in the author's view, anthropomorphized dicks. We are told (and I'm careful to put the following in quotes): "the great object of veneration in the Ark of the Covenant was doubtless a phallic emblem" and "the cross, or crucifix, has a sexual origin".
Although completely batty (like all eccentrics, he - or she - takes the germ of a good idea to ridiculous extremes) this is actually a nice book... it manages to discuss all of the world's religions in a positive light (even if a cranky one), without claiming that any of them are superior or inferior to the others!