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Author Topic: Your religion, or your magic?  (Read 27395 times)
Cauldron Council
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Religion: Catholic
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« Reply #33: October 06, 2008, 02:13:37 pm »

I missed the incense thing initially.  Out of curiosity, do you know how far back the Catholic use of incense dates?  I ask because I'm betting the answer is somewhere in the neighborhood of "a whole hell of a lot longer than neo-Paganism", which makes it awfully difficult to claim that Catholicism is "imitating" neo-Paganism IMHO.  I'm not sure you (generic you here) can really imitate something that didn't come around until after your practice was already well-established.

F'rever. It's mentioned repeatedly in the OT in temple rituals of various sorts. It's also well-attested in various other Ancient Near Eastern religions (Greeks, Assyrians, etc.) and well-attested to fight the stink when it was hot. It's mentioned a couple of times in the New Testament, which suggests it was in at least occasional use, doubtless borrowed from the Jewish traditions, in early Christianity. It starts appearing in official liturgies and ordos in the 400s. (Which is about as early as official liturgies and ordos start appearing.)

But incense is one of those things, like candles, live plants, circles, and colors, that are used symbolically, liturgically, or for other reasons in MOST world religions. It was also a far more common "household" item in the past than it is now; for us, its associations seem primarily religious (the way many of us think of candles as well), but for ancient near easterners, it would have been a fairly routine object to have around and to put to various uses. Not that everyone would have necessarily owned it -- could be expensive -- but everyone would have been familiar with it as a profane object as well as its sacred uses. I sort-of picture future religions arguing over who used lightbulbs first in religion, when we were all just USING THE MOST CULTURALLY COMMON FORM OF LIGHT. Tongue

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