Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | January 6, 2008

Are Modern Druids Antinomian?

“Antinomianism is the polar opposite of legalism, the notion that obedience to a code of religious law is necessary for salvation” (Wikipedia)

Modern followers of Druidry, certainly many members of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, are far more antinomian than legalistic in their outlook, and a study of this might be of interest to a postgraduate theology student. I think it would be correct to say that non-affiliated Pagans are also more inclined in that direction, whereas Wiccans would be less so, and would place more authority in tradition, the Wiccan Rede, and the HP & HPS. A psychological exploration of this might include looking at the dimension of inner-directedness vs. outer-directedness, with an antinomian approach being more likely to be espoused by the inner-directed.


Responses

  1. Yeah, there are a lot of good words there; here’s another: “soteriology”, the study of salvation. In fact, both legalism and aninomianism seem to be related to how you view salvation, whether it can be “achieved” through abiding by laws or whether it can’t be. Antinomianism seems to go further and say that moral laws are not binding at all.

    As to whether Druids can be labelled as antinomian, I guess it would depend on how you define a Druid. A Christian or a Jewish Druid might have opposing views on the subject. Or they may not. And a Wiccan Druid might confound even the mightiest theological brain!

  2. Yes Paul “soteriology” was a word I first discovered yesterday. This blog is a sort of ‘play-space’ for ideas… I spend so much time writing ‘seriously’ for publication it’s nice to have a slightly less formal arena where there can be interaction too.

    Developing the idea of ‘having your cake and eating it’: we tend to divide ideas, feelings and behaviours into opposites, and then feel we can espouse only one or the other but not both, whereas the way of embracing extremes (or opposites) seems a more sensible approach. So really in a spirituality I for one am seeking both a ‘legalistic’ approach (ie the sense of direction, ‘authority’ and provenance (connection to heritage and lineage) that fixed formulae, rituals, and so on can provide, and at the same time a sort of ‘antinomianism’ that is wild and free and wants to be bounded by no fixed rules or dogma. I hope that in OBOD we have sufficient of both strands, though when at camps the antinomian streak definitely predominates!

  3. But can one be doomed to salvation? And does this need obeying the rules and discharging the rules at the same time? Questions, questions, questions or are this really just disguised answers? I feel the sudden need of banging my head against the wall 🙂

  4. All we need really Hennie is a little bit of sunshine, some food, some water… like plants really!


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