The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles

The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles This Is The First Survey Of Religious Beliefs In The British Isles From The Stone Age To The Coming Of Christianity Hutton Draws Upon A Wealth Of New Data To Reveal Some Important Rethinking About Christianization And The Decline Of Paganism. Wish I d read this years ago It presents itself as a summary of the evidence of ancient British religion for the general reader, which accounts for the first half of each chronological chapter, and which H does extremely well the answer being, in each case, that there isn t much The fun starts, though, when H moves on to discuss the nonsense peddled by New Age and neo pagan authors on these subjects The Great Goddess, the survival of the witch cult, ley lines, all succinctly and politely Wish I d read this years ago It presents itself as a summary of the evidence of ancient British religion for the general reader, which accounts for the first half of each chronological chapter, and which H does extremely well the answer being, in each case, that there isn t much The fun starts, though, when H moves on to discuss the nonsense peddled by New Age and neo pagan authors on these subjects The Great Goddess, the survival of the witch cult, ley lines, all succinctly and politely debunked.H is, importantly, not unsympathetic to the New Agers He is careful to appreciate the attraction of these views to their modern audiences, to show where New Age authors have taken their cues from traditional academic scholarship, and to be honest about where they might have a point equally, he is has a proper sense
This is a sober yet detailed look at what little we really know about historical paganism which along the way highlights how neopaganism takes so much for granted Neopaganism covers a wide spectrum of beliefs from Black Magic to ecopaganism, from Wicca to fuzzy New Age thinking, and on examination can often seem to be founded on outdated scholarship and speculative antiquarianism, both ancient and modern Ronald Hutton is both a pagan and an academic and so is particularly well placed to apprec This is a sober yet detailed look at what little we really know about historical paganism which along the way highlights how neopaganism takes so much for granted Neopaganism covers a wide spectrum of beliefs from Black Magic to ecopaganism, from Wicca to fuzzy New Age thinking, and on examination
There tend to be two sorts of book on this subject those which are solidly focussed on the archaeological records, and rubbish the contemporary neo pagans if they even consider them at all or the works of the neo pagans, which construct wondrous edifices of the imagination with little or no basis in established fact.The genius of Hutton is that he is deeply sympathetic towards the imaginative quest of the neo pagans whilst at the same time taking us clearly back to the archaeological and his There tend to be two sorts o
I liked this well enough that I ve now purchased another of Hutton s books The edition I picked up was published in 1993, and be warned much of it reads like a catalog of archeological finds Many pages are littlethan dry lists of bones, grave goods, pottery bits, and talismans dug up from tombs, monuments, and ruins Don t ask me why I liked reading all that stuff, but I did I m an off the scale dork, I suppose And in any case the payoff is Hutton s analysis of the archeology and the I liked this well enough that I ve now purchased another of Hutton s books The edition I picked up was published in 1993, and be warned much of it reads like a catalog of archeological finds Many pages are littlethan dry lists of bones, grave goods, pottery bits, and talismans dug up from tombs, monuments, and ruins Don t ask me why I liked reading all that stuff, but I did I m an off the scale dork, I suppose And in any case the payoff is Hutton s analysis of the archeology and the scholarship that s accompanied it Also, as I think about it no
If you were hoping to learn about the ancient religions of Britain or evenhow they relate to modern Wicca or Neo paganism you will be dreadfully disappointed This is a meticulous and scholarly survey of the archaeological and later historical evidence for the religious beliefs and practices of Britain, and Professor Hutton s conclusion is that there is nothing we can really know about them The purposes and motives behind the bewildering array of megalithic structures are open only to pur If you were hoping to learn about the ancient religions of Britain or evenhow they relate to modern Wicca or Neo paganism you will be dreadfully disappointed This is a meticulous and scholarly survey of the archaeological and later historical evidence for the religious beliefs and practices of Britain, and Professor Hutton s conclusion is that there is nothing we can really know about them The purposes and motives behind the bewildering array of megalithic structures are open only to pure conjecture The later historical records of the Romano British world are almost as unhelpful and H clearly shows the danger of trying to construct a pan Celtic religion from the large number of names of divinities found scattered throughout Western Europe.As a non Christian, he
TL DR Three hundred plus pages of detailed summaries of cave drawings, burials, megaliths, Roman era writings, medieval poetry, and modern era scholarship, speculation and embellishment, all to the point we know next to nothing with any confidence Along the way our author celebrates the cultural legacy that the traces of pre Christian religion have fostered and lauds neopagans for their ingenious and beautiful reconstructions but pleads with everyone to just give up the pretense of historical TL DR Three hundred plus pages of detailed summaries of cave drawings, burials, megaliths, Roman era writings, medieval poetry, and modern era scholarship, speculation and embellishment, all to the point we know next to nothing with any confidence Along the way our author celebrates the cultural legacy that the traces of pre Christian religion have fostered and lauds neopagans for their ingenious and beautiful reconstructions but pleads with everyon
Remarkable amount of research has gone into this tome At times the book seems an almost random and endless list of unrelated items linked only by the authors suppositions that we cannot draw any meaningful connections between the varied aspects and artifacts of antiquity, which whilst perhaps literally true, I found to be a perspective that neglected the implied spirit of the ancient religion s and that s his point, that he finds nothing is specifically implied by the evidence and that all sub Remarkable amount of research has gone into this tome At times the book seems an almost random and endless list of unrelated items linked only by the authors suppositions that we cannot draw any meaningful connections between the varied aspects and artifacts of antiquity, which whilst perhaps literally true, I found to be a perspective that neglected the implied spirit of the ancient religion s and that s his point, that he finds nothing is specifically implied by the evidence and that all subsequent conjecture is only deduced from incontrovertible evidence At other times the author seemed to hold an almost ambivalent attitude against the new Pagan s uptake and
The book would probably have been better titled as something like The Archaeology Of The Pagan Religions , as the book is intensely driven by the physical evidence for various theories and conjectures If you re looking for a detailed telling of ancient pagan mythology they worshiped this god while wearing these clothes and chanting these words , you re not going to find that It does, however, do an excellent job of detailing what is known or at least what is supported about ancient re The book would probably have been better titled as something like The Archaeology Of The Pagan Religions , as the book is intensely driven by the physical evidence for various theories and conjectures If you re looking for a detailed telling of ancient pagan mythology they worshiped this god while wearing these clothes and chanting these words , you re not going to find that It does, however, do an excellent job of detailing what is known or at least what is supported about ancient religious beliefs based upon what has been found in the archaeologica
We are blessed in our time to have a plethora of scholarly specialists who are gifted enough writers to make the essentials of their fields accessible in popular form This is what Hutton makes an admirable effort to accomplish, but sadly he is not up to the task By my estimation, at least half of this book is dedicated to dry descriptions and speculations about burials Nevertheless, I found this book well worth reading, in part because to my surprise I found myself being fascinated by the var We are blessed in our time to have a plethora of scholarly specialists who are gifted enough writers to make the essentials of their fields accessible in popular form This is what Hutton makes an admirable effort to accomplish, but sadly he is not up to the task By my estimation, at least half of this book is dedicated to dry descriptions and speculations about burials Nevertheless, I found this book well worth reading, in part because to my surpr
Three stars because I recall that this was a well put together bit of scholarly work, and not some pastiche of nonsense to appease the masses On the other hand, I recall drudging through this, as it is dry and not terribly interestingly written.

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  • Paperback
  • 422 pages
  • The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles
  • Ronald Hutton
  • English
  • 05 December 2017
  • 0631189467