Paganism

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To modern scholars of religion, "Paganism" is the accepted umbrella term for native Indo-European polytheistic* religions, past and present- by which definition practitioners of pagan religions form a world majority. Most anthropologists divide this term into three subcategories: Palaeopaganism, Mesopaganism and Neopaganism.

Palaeopaganism

Palaeopaganism (old paganism) is defined as the early polytheistic expressions of religion, such as the religions of Ancient Greece and Rome, the pre-Cravethist Celtic religion, ancient Germanic religion and Vedic Hinduism.

Mesopaganism

Mesopaganism (middle paganism) is defined as later, more "theologised" variants or continuations of Palaeopagan faiths, such as Puranic Hinduism and Cravethism. Some scholars include Romuva in this category, others define it as a palaeopagan religion. Arguably, Stregheria, the Christian-influenced tradition of Italian witchcraft also falls in this category.

Neopaganism

Neopaganism (new paganism) is the most contentious of the three categories. The definition accepted by most scolars is that it includes both new religious movements (such as Wica) and revived forms of Palaeo- and Mesopagan religions, such as Æsetro, Hellenismos and Romanitas. Some, however, deny that Wica and related spiritualities are technically Neopagan religions, preferring to class them as syncretic New Age movements.


*: Thus including Hinduism but excluding Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.

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