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INVENTING WITCHCRAFT: A Case Study In The Creation Of A New Religion Paperback – August 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thoth Publications (August 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870450582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870450584
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,191,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Aidan A. Kelly received his Ph.D. in theology from the
Graduate Theological Union in 1980, in a joint program
in advanced humanities with the University of
California, Berkeley. He has taught at the University
of San Francisco and other colleges, and served for
five years on the steering committee of the
prestigious Group on New Religious Movements of the
American Academy of Religion. He is well-known in
academic circles for his argument that all religions
begin as new religions. He is also a founder of the
New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, an
eclectic Wiccan tradition, and of the Covenant of the
Goddess, a national church for American Witches.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Cranow on December 16, 2013
Inside the pagan community and without there is an on going debate as to the origins of gardenerian Wicca. On one side of the debate you have authors like Heselton and Whitmore who believe that Wicca is an ancient pre-christian religion that centered on a Goddess and God. On the other side you have authors like Ronald Hutton and Aidan Kelly and Tanya Lurman will maintain that Wicca is a new religious movement. Aidan Kelly’s perspective is unique because he is in fact an insider who practices witch craft. Dr. Kelley invented his own tradition of witchcraft with some other students in Sand Francisco. He was one of the founding members of the New Reformed Order of the Golden Dawn.
Since he himself has founded his own, or at least helped found his own witchcraft tradition, he finds nothing wrong with what Gerald Gardner did. In fact it is a sign of healthy society that shows spark of creativity. At one point all religions were man made and at one point they were new religious movements. Many religious movements whither and die it is only those few that meet the needs of the people that end up surviving. Judaism, Islam and Christianity are examples and so is Wicca. The number of Wiccans and Pagans doubles up every two years.
Gerald Gardner made many false claims implying that Wicca was an ancient religion. Of course when new religious movements come about they will often claim they are the original or the corrected version that people are supposed to follow. All religions start this way. Most follower identify this and just live with the fact that historical reality and mythos are not necessarily the same.
Aidan Kelley put the written works thorugh a scholarly test to determine if there was any truth to Gerald Gardner’s claims.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By william newmoon on September 25, 2013
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Dr. Aidan A. Kelly has written a historical, religious, and evolutionary study of Gardnerian Witchcraft. In his writing he has assumed the reader has an extreme interest and knowledge of the subject and a library to match. He has confirmed conclusions and shared detailed insights into Gardner's personality and genius. He also gives credit. To Doreen Valiente, where credit is due. I am satisfied with his results, although some of his blunt assumptions want more work, but with passage of time and lack of data it's hard to tell how. This book belongs on the shelf of any serious student or sage of the craft, whether the sage or the student agree with Kelly's thesis or not.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TC on July 21, 2013
This books discusses in depth many of the things that people started noticing about Gerald Garder's claims, Wicca and Witchcraft, namely that it pretty much isnt what has been so romanticised, speculated about and promoted by so many new age writers.

Wishful thinking, lies, common sense and fact doesnt really go together, which is why this book is a breath of fresh air in this saturated area. The writer actually treats the subject/s with much sympathy and kindness as much worse things could have been said or conclusions drawn. Is Wicca a valid philosophy or religon?? In as far as people can believe what they want to - sure, why not? I think I might become a Jedi next week anyway.

Other books that add to this area are Ronald Hutton's 'Pagan Religon's' books as well as Doreen Valiente's 'Rebirth of Witchcraft' where Gerald is documented doing a number of sensationalist things as well as even making up some new craft laws (that arent very pro-feminist or equality minded to say the least) and the book title 'Madeline Montalban: The Magus of St Giles'.
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32 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Garnet on October 8, 2007
Its possible that the very existence of this book proves that Wicca has finally come into its own as a modern religious institution of sorts. In a backhanded way, at least. Otherwise, why would someone spend so much time and energy trying to debunk it and in such a lurid fashion as is normally only seen on infomercials on late night television or on the covers of various supermarket tabloids. Now, You Too can finally own a copy of the book that contains The Truth that the "conservative Gardnerian witches" tried to suppress! Complete with intimations of death threats no less...

Though, that isn't what happened at all. The first edition of this book came out and not only did it not sell out (copies were found shortly thereafter at half-price bookstores because it wasn't a best selling volume in the least) but the later edition that the author wished to follow up with--this book, essentially--got into trouble because he wanted to "out" witches and print their real names and addresses without their permission. A legal no-no.

I didn't agree with the conclusions in this book the first time around, and this edition doesn't come any closer to convincing me. Aside from making me think that maybe some people only have but one book in them and so have to keep rehashing it again and again.

A much better book if you are interested in the phenomena of trying to debunk the origins of modern Wicca would be "Triumph of the Moon" by Ronald Hutton. A lot of people don't agree with his conclusions either, but at least its a better written book and he has a little less of an ax to grind.
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