The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their

The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy ❴Reading❵ ➿ The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy Author Ronald Hutton – Buyprobolan50.co.uk 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 Chr This is the first survey of Religions of PDF ☆ 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.


10 thoughts on “The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy

  1. James James says:

    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 of the limitations of archaeology and of the extreme scarcity of the evidence His admirable fairness and balance, though, just makes the debunking all thefinal There was no single Goddess revered throughout Stone Age Europe, medieval churches were overwhelmingly not built over ancient pagan sites, and people who call themselves pagans in the 21st century are not maintaining traditions that date back thousands or even hundreds of years This book explains why not


  2. Chris Chris says:

    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 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 appreciate the nuances of both approaches, and this study should be required reading for all who lean towards being part of a revived religion


  3. Kirsten Mortensen Kirsten Mortensen says:

    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 now, the fact that he seems to have considered every single tomb, monument, ruin along with all the relevant written materials, both academic and lay, historical and contemporary contributes to the sense that he s extremely careful and judicious when it comes to the analysis It gives his analysis weight And much of his commentary consists of his conclusions about what we don t know, which was refreshing He refrains from speculation, but instead states frankly that the evidence is often so slight and lacking in cultural context that we have no idea what it means He s also amusing when he turns his attention to other peoples speculation or worse One example is the 19th Century forgeries of Edward Williams Williams invented a mystical Druidic tradition and attributed it to prehistoric Welsh pagans By the time of his death, Hutton writes, he had achieved the romantic s highest goal, of having his dream taken as reality by others Ah, that s so my goal, too An awful lot of what modern people think of as paganism, Hutton would argue, is also the dreams of romantics Poke around the interwebs and you ll find that some people are pretty unhappy with him about that He argues that there s no credible evidence that humans passed through a peaceful, harmonious, Goddess centered period, for example according to Hutton, scholarship that proposed this in the 19th and 20th centuries has since been soundly refuted That s earned him enemies He also sees no real evidence for other supposedly pagan notions that are taken seriously in some quarters today, such as ley lines For all that, he strikes me as hugely sympathetic to contemporary pagans He s honest about traditions that he thinks have no roots in pre historical culture, but he s respectful of them for what they are.Recommended for anyone interested in a clear eyed review of what academics up through the early 90s believed to be true of ancient pagan culture


  4. Monty Milne Monty Milne says:

    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 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 historic source material In the end, there is not much he can say beyond the fact that what we can know for sure is very little indeed a fact which he regrets But this does not lessen the enjoyment and fascination of the journey he takes us on


  5. Anna Anna says:

    It s a great book on the actual evidences we have of ancient British religions Says nothing of said religions Insert a summary of discusion wether or not we can reconstruct archaic beliefs of which we have almost no written accounts


  6. Harper Jean Harper Jean says:

    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 everyone to just give up the pretense of historical continuity If that description intrigues rather than infuriates, Hutton is your guy The rest of you may content yourselves with his remarkable closing paragraph What, then, after so many pages, can be said about the pagan religions of the ancient British Isles First, that we know very little about them An immense quality of recent work has served to show that most of what we had formerly believed that we knew is either wrong or unprovable In fact, the only groups about which we can speak with any confidence are those of the Roman Britain, some aspects of which remain a mystery and which may obscure, rather than reveal, the nature of the native cults Second, that part of a tremendous diversity derives from our discovery of a tremendous diversity of ritual practice and architecture, over both space and time, which may reflect an equal diversity of belief and which almost defies generalization The peoples of our remote past have emerged ascreative,dynamic,fascinating andbaffling Third, that the old religions of these islands perished a very long time ago, and absolutely They fell before Christianity both because of tricks of fortune and because they were not well equipped to resist the new faith, but they left an enormous and varied cultural legacy And partly because of ignorance of them and partly because of our different needs and circumstances, they are lost to us forever Wowza I am still going to read The Triumph of the Moon, though


  7. Titus L Titus L says:

    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 intermingling of the Old Religion s but he does this with such good humor and charming acknowledgement of their own beautiful or innovative if not actually historically true basis that it would be hard to object to his observations For myself I would underline that the very evidence referred to does specifically portray that ancient religious traditions in the British Isles did draw from earlier traditions and by necessity did incorporate, or become subsumed by newer traditions that arrived on these shores, that something of the former always informed the latter across the ages and that this practice is still or once again flourishing in the modern uptake and reinvention of the Pagan sacred miscellany..Certainly not a page turner unless you are an avid archaeologist, but still highly recommended as a wonderful source of the progression of evidence over the centuries and how this may have some bearing on the current Pagan Renaissance


  8. Alexa Petre Alexa Petre says:

    Really useful book for understandingabout ancient Celtic paganism, and especially, the difference between what is ancient and the new wave of modern paganism.


  9. Liam Guilar Liam Guilar says:

    A historian who I suspect wants to believe scrutinises the evidence for pagan religion before the coming of Christianity, and then looks at the long shadow it is supposed to have cast He s very good at pointing out the flaws in popular claims about both paganism and its survival, while not simply dismissing those claims out of hand.It s this balance of the book that makes it both useful and attractive Some of the material, like the information on Anglo Saxon burials, might need updating, but A historian who I suspect wants to believe scrutinises the evidence for pagan religion before the coming of Christianity, and then looks at the long shadow it is supposed to have cast He s very good at pointing out the flaws in popular claims about both paganism and its survival, while not simply dismissing those claims out of hand.It s this balance of the book that makes it both useful and attractive Some of the material, like the information on Anglo Saxon burials, might need updating, but the overall argument is unlikely to be challenged.If you are thinking of reading it and have access to a copy, read the introduction and the last paragraph of the book first Not only does the former set out what he tried to do, but the latter sums up what he did


  10. Lavender Moon Lavender Moon says:

    If you re a believer in goddess centered, matrilineal pre history societies, this book will disappoint you This is an academic work, so it can be dry at times Taking from archeological studies and old writings by the Romans, this volume discusses how our ancestors lived and practiced religion from the dawn of mankind almost through the Roman occupation What it doesn t do is reinforce any idea of a gentle, goddess focused society like you find in Mists of Avalon You will find the truth here If you re a believer in goddess centered, matrilineal pre history societies, this book will disappoint you This is an academic work, so it can be dry at times Taking from archeological studies and old writings by the Romans, this volume discusses how our ancestors lived and practiced religion from the dawn of mankind almost through the Roman occupation What it doesn t do is reinforce any idea of a gentle, goddess focused society like you find in Mists of Avalon You will find the truth here, and it s not always very pretty But if you are looking for a scholarly discussion of pre Christian peoples in Britain and it s isles, you will gain a lot from this book


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