In 1786 Richard Payne Knight - collector, arbiter of taste, and gentleman scholar published "A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus" - the first book to propose that all mythology and religion (including Christianity) is derived from primitive fertility cults.
In such cults, he asserted, the male and female genitalia symbolise procreative power, and the primal life force is worshipped through this seemingly obscene imagery. "Priapus" caused scandal in the eighteenth century, but cast an influence that is still with us today - from psychoanalysis to contemporary paganism.
In this ltalk, Phil Hine examines the life of Richard Payne Knight. the key themes of "A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus" and its republication in the nineteenth century as both erotic and ethnographic text.
Phil Hine is an independent researcher and occult practitioner, he has been writing and lecturing on esoteric themes and practices for over thirty years.