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Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored Paperback – July 8, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
The first chapter of the book gives a brief but dense overview of the historical traditions, and the second covers modern traditions.
Chapter three explains the heart of Hellenismos through the concept of kharis, or reciprocity. Winter quotes Burkert: "the bond between man and the sacred is consummated in the continuous exchange of gift for gift" (p. 43). Then she brings this to life in her own words: "Just like you might sometimes buy your spouse flowers for no reason, and that act creates a more loving and charitable bond between you both, so do we give to the gods, knowing they will also give to us when it is right" (p. 43). After this she brings kharis down to earth with practical advice on effective ritual and worship, including descriptions of libations, sacrifices, and first fruits offerings.
A controversial stance is taken in her discussion of animal sacrifice. She comes down in favor of it, as long as it is done appropriately. It is not much different from kosher slaughter in Judaism, she maintains. At the same time, she provides for contrary opinions and suggests vegetarian alternatives.Read more ›
Although this is a beginner level book, the religious concepts are so clear and insightful that people past the beginner stage will find value in this book. This is not a "how to perform a Hellenic ritual book", but a book that delves into the worshippers relationship to the Gods and how to strengthen that relationship. The sources used are listed in the back and that is an excellent place to look to for additional reading, should you wish to dig deeper.
The survey information alone, especially since it is contrasted with a survey the author did a few years ago, is worth the price of the book. I know I was surprised by some of the results!
The version of Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored reviewed here is the second edition (ISBN#978-1438231921). Written by Sarah Kate Istra Winter, this nonfiction text intends to give a broad sense of Hellenic Polytheism and how it is practiced in the modern world. To address the many different flavors of Hellenic Polytheism (from traditionalist to "reform"), Ms. Winter has chosen to write inclusively, including some topics that some may consider controversial.
Kharis's binding is good, and the font is very readable. Ms. Winter decided to use in-text parenthetical citations (I prefer footnotes), but their overall effect is not too cumbersome. The sources she cites are listed at the back of the text, and she makes sure to indicate which constitute core reading for the religion and which texts other modern Hellenic Polytheists have written. The editing job is very good.
Some individuals considering Hellenismos and Hellenic Polytheism are looking for guidance, and Kharis adequately addresses their needs. She gives a very thorough briefing on how relationships between mortals and the Theoi work, along with introducing the reader to other forces (the nymphs, daimons, okeanids, etc.). The reader will learn about the Agathos Daimon's importance and some core household religious practices. In addition, the writer goes through the core ritual structure of Hellenic Polytheism, something very important to a religion that values orthopraxy. One more controversial topic is the use of magic in Hellenic Polytheism. In the appendices, Ms. Winter includes the Athenian calendar and briefly describes each of the festivals.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Hellenimos or anyone simply wishing it Hellinize their life. Read morePublished on June 19, 2014 by Melitta Theodora Stafford
Received book very fast and in excellent condition. I just started reading this book today. I love the approach taken by the author in covering the many facets of Hellenismos... Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by Kindle Customer
The book wasn't what I expected. This is a basic overview without a lot of meat to it. It's an affordable place to start if you're interested in Hellenic polytheism, but it's not a... Read morePublished on May 7, 2012 by Star Foster
Kharis, whether as a starting point for an interested newbie or as an enhancement to a long term Hellenic Pagan, is a fantastic book. Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by Xaphriel
Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored (2nd ed.) is a short book but one that's well-written and packed with good stuff that I think applies widely to polytheistic paths, with great... Read morePublished on December 25, 2008 by Erynn Laurie
I was inspired to purchase this book after coming across a very heated online debate about whether this book was true and correct regarding the practice of Hellenismos. Read morePublished on December 3, 2008