Afbeelding van de auteur.
31+ Werken 3,849 Leden 58 Besprekingen Favoriet van 14 leden

Besprekingen

1-25 van 58 worden getoond
It took me a long time to finish reading this book, not because I didn't find it interesting, but because it was a bulky book to handle and printed in what seemed to be smaller-than-usual print. On the whole, my impression is a book that left no stone unturned or no line of argument unconsidered - it covered the evidence from all angles and then presented a solid conclusion. Very enjoyable.
 
Gemarkeerd
mari_reads | May 10, 2024 |
This must be the most scholarly study of the witchcraft phenomenon that I have read, and I have read quite a few books about the 16th-17th century witch trials in Europe. The author traces the origins of belief in the witch as not only a worker of malevolent magic, but, uniquely in Europe, a putative adherent of a Satanic religion that paralleled the official Christian church. He shows also how a belief in magic and even in witches did not necessarily lead automatically to witch hunting and mass executions: a number of societies balanced their anxieties about witches against beliefs about the evil eye and/or spirit beings, including fairies, which were blamed more for misfortune than witches. These therefore acted to displace the fear and hostility which in other places was directed against people believed to be witches.

The author also looks at witch beliefs in non European societies, and traces the various threads of scholarship which formerly regarded all such beliefs as survivors of paganism, a belief now largely discredited especially in relation to the works of Margaret Murray. He analyses the works of such writers as Carlo Ginzburg (which I have not yet read so will bear in mind the insights here when I do) and explores just how plausible it is that the magic workers Ginzburg wrote about were an offshoot of Shamanism. And Shamanism itself is analysed and explored, including its influence on other cultures where witch hunting did become active, including Norse culture in Scandinavia.

Where the book falls down slightly for me is that the style is very academic and dryly written. I also found the sentence structure rather convoluted in places which obscured the meaning. But given the depth of scholarship shown, I am rating it at 4 stars.
 
Gemarkeerd
kitsune_reader | 11 andere besprekingen | Nov 23, 2023 |
There is no pagan remnants in the United Kingdom.
 
Gemarkeerd
adaorhell | 3 andere besprekingen | Oct 14, 2023 |
A very thought provoking read. As always when reading Hutton, what you thought you knew is challenged and the wider context for societies views about the image of the witch is put forward in its proper context.
 
Gemarkeerd
Cotswoldreader | 11 andere besprekingen | May 26, 2023 |
Was an interesting book, differently read more like a text book and wasn't an easy read. The book did cover lots of facts and I was glad i have been a practicing Wiccan for years before reading the book, this helped me to understand more what was being talked about and i also new of a lot of the people being mentioned. When the book was done i was left with a bit more of an understanding of the history of Wicca and a bunch of more books are my to read list.
 
Gemarkeerd
cbloky | 14 andere besprekingen | Apr 8, 2023 |
Queens of the Wild is a really engrossing exploration of popular modern misconceptions about medieval European religion and folklore. They frequently posit a binary contrast between a repressive, misogynist institutional church and a matriarchal, sex-positive paganism lurking just beneath the surface of every Christian-seeming peasant, together with century-spanning continuities of belief from ancient religions through to modern neo-paganism.

As Ronald Hutton lays out here, these misconceptions largely derive from 19th and early 20th assumptions and, to be honest, some plain shoddy scholarship. Hutton examines the medieval and early modern sources about four female figures—Mother Earth, the Fairy Queen, the Lady of the Night, and the Cailleach—and also the modern takes about them. He argues that rather than representing the remnants of a pre-Christian Mother Goddess religion, these figures are largely the creation of medieval Christian authors, and that many associated folk customs are largely 19th century in origin rather than from the Middle Ages.

A really great example of careful, meticulous scholarship. Absolutely recommended for anyone with an interest in these topics.½
 
Gemarkeerd
siriaeve | 3 andere besprekingen | Mar 30, 2023 |
Hutton has out-done himself with this definitive, meticulous, and respectful look into the 2,000 year history of the Druids. There's so much that history has misinterpreted, misunderstood, assumed and forgotten about them.

Turns out, the earliest reference to Druids isn't in Britain, but in Gaul, and described by Julius Caesar. However his writings are based completely on hearsay! Since then, Druids went from being regarded as "savages and menaces to being romantic and admirable, once the civilization that was doing the viewing had absorbed them." In France, Germany, Ireland and Wales. The English, in fact, were the last to incorporate them into their ancient history due to their association with the Irish.

The word "Druid" being related to "oak" remained an unsupported fact until the mid-20th c., now largely abandoned. If one has to choose a Druidic tree per se, it's likely to be the rowan. The white robes and their worship of naturally forming henges is also unfounded. Even the famous Lindow Man, when discovered in 1984, was immediately assumed to have been ritualistically killed by Druids. The history of the Druids is full of these kinds of scenarios, bending the evidence to fit the conclusion. By the late 18th c. into the 19th c. once Britain has taken hold, the full romantic Druid is born. There are Druidic poetry clubs, societies with initiation ceremonies and regalia, much like the Freemasons. But where there are free thinkers, there is revolution. Hutton explores this trend through poet Iolo Morganwg. In 1853, Britain even saw its first Noble Order of Female Druids!

Throughout, Hutton isn't trying to slight modern Druids, but instead explores the evolution and creation of something new and our ever growing affection for this mystical and ancient group.
 
Gemarkeerd
asukamaxwell | 2 andere besprekingen | Jan 3, 2023 |
It's an investigation into the prevailing argument for "pagan survival" and how this theory emerged. Through the mid-19th to mid-20th c. many scholars argued that a full blown pagan cult had persisted all through the Middle Ages. That common folk had remained mostly pagan until the Reformation. However, we learn that this is an unsupported, unfounded invention, finally put to a halt in the 1990s. At the center of it all was the Mother Goddess. It was argued that there was a worldwide common goddess, to the point where any female saint cult or ancient breasted figure was lumped into this theory. What's most disturbing is that this was applied to colonized areas and always from a western perspective.

Concerning paganism among commoners, they were Christian men and women, same as their accusers, who were tortured into saying whatever the judge wanted to hear. Sure, Hutton explains, traditional rituals survive but when operated in an entirely Christian context, it isn't pagan anymore. Even those like the night roamers or Satia or Holda were created in the late Middle Ages and by Christian leaders as a warning to their congregation. On the bright side, a study of pagan goddesses as literary figures has plenty to offer. The Fairie Queen, Proserpine, Morgana, Gwyn ap Nudd, Queen Mab, Titania, etc Most of these emerged during the era of Chivalry and therefore the later Romanticists. I could tell Hutton was especially enthusiastic on this subject.

I've read Hutton's The Witch this year already, so I knew where he stood. Please understand this isn't an attack on Wicca, that is completely unrelated. But it's a proper study of pagan goddesses and Hutton has been trying since the 90s to undue the damage of folklorists like Murray and Frazer.
2 stem
Gemarkeerd
asukamaxwell | 3 andere besprekingen | Sep 4, 2022 |
Finally as in I finally finished this book. A good academic overview of the concept of witch and the history of the witch over time. In some places I wish Hutton had been more thorough and in others a little less.
 
Gemarkeerd
pacbox | 11 andere besprekingen | Jul 9, 2022 |
A very thought provoking read. As always when reading Hutton, what you thought you knew is challenged and the wider context for societies views about the image of the witch is put forward in its proper context.
 
Gemarkeerd
Cotswoldreader | 11 andere besprekingen | Jun 22, 2022 |
An exploration into the 19th century European, primarily British, romance regarding presumed pagan continuity of various characters and stories: mother earth, the fairy queen, the lady of the night, the cailleach, and the like.

For each character the author explores what can actually be known from days past. Mother Earth is primarily a projection; not nearly as influential in antiquity as it would be in the 19th and especially 20th and 21st centuries. There's some continuity in terms of fairies, but otherwise most of the stories as believed to persist throughout the medieval era do not have that kind of evidence; either they existed beforehand or became more influential in later mythology.

The author does well to show that Christianity did pervade English and European thinking; certain elements of previous pagan beliefs were incorporated in various ways into that Christian perspective, but pagan views as such did not persist throughout the ages. It was mostly a fantasy of the 19th and 20th century romantics who imagined such things, and the view persists in many circles to this day.

**-galley received as part of early review program
1 stem
Gemarkeerd
deusvitae | 3 andere besprekingen | Jun 15, 2022 |
"The Witch: A History of Fear, From Ancient Times to the Present" is very true to its title. It is an anthropological, deeply thorough study of the practice of magic and witchcraft. Hutton explains how the study of witchcraft broadened to include cross-cultural comparisons, a re-evaluation of ancient texts, as well as shamanism, at least for comparison. We learn that witchcraft trials were not only a consequence of political machinations and social turmoil, but a thousands year old evolution. The Christian witch is a result of Mesopotamian demonology and the concept of astral magic, Persian dualism, Hebrew monotheism, and the Roman witch figure. Most interesting was the two sided effect of Rome conquering Egypt: the Romans introduced a fear if witches but Egyptian magic leaked out to the rest of the empire, solidifying their mystical reputation. But while the conceptual roots of witchcraft (Ch 5) is ancient, as a religion it is very new. We are NOT the "daughters of the witches you tried to burn." And while Hutton's book focuses on the West, Native and African traditional practices are included in the discussion, as well as the consequences of colonialism and forced conversion. In Pt 3, the Witch Hunts of 1530s to 1630s are examined and Hutton shows their expertise as a British folk historian.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. Hutton actively avoids generalizations or pin pointing precise causes. They approach it all with an academic, objective eye. It's not a quick read, but if you're serious about the subject, you can't get much better.
 
Gemarkeerd
asukamaxwell | 11 andere besprekingen | Mar 19, 2022 |
Long and somewhat tedious for casual reading, Ronald Hutton's Blood and Mistletoe is an intriguing history not of the ancient Celtic Druids (which, as Hutton points in the first chapter, we know very little of), but of how the ancient Druids have been perceived, imagined, and re-created by historians, archaeologists, scholars, clergymen, poets, forgers, rebels, and eccentrics in the centuries since ancient Celtic times. This is not a book about modern Druidry or paganism, but a history of modern Druidry's origins and a useful antidote to the pseudo-histories that are sometimes still repeated by some modern Druids and Druid orders. I was most impressed with how Hutton treated modern Druids and Druidry both seriously and respectfully, and with how he described how the way we perceive history can be shaped by the personalities of those who present it to us. I would recommend this book, but with the caveat that it is somewhat dry and academic in tone for the casual reader.½
1 stem
Gemarkeerd
Heather39 | 2 andere besprekingen | Mar 18, 2022 |
Hutton provides an excellent history of the origins of pagan witchcraft, focusing on the groundwork that led to the emergence of Wicca, and changes that occurred after its emergence. This academic work provides a fantastic overview to anyone interested in an anthropological study of this religion.
 
Gemarkeerd
AmericanAlexandria | 14 andere besprekingen | Jan 24, 2022 |
Boring for the most part.
About 66% into the audiobook the author poorly words statements implying that it was wrong to label Irish folks 'savages' like Native Americans. He doesn't say it was wrong to label NA as savages. He does acknowledge that the British stole their land though.
It bothered me tremendously and is why I gave this a low rating.
 
Gemarkeerd
LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
This extremely detailed non-fiction book is fascinating, but certainly not a light read. Allocate quite a bit of time to tackle this. It is very much like a textbook, and I think if it had been presented more like one, with images breaking up the text more, it might have been easier to read. The information is in-depth, but without being too wordy. The global context is particularly interesting.
 
Gemarkeerd
AngelaJMaher | 11 andere besprekingen | May 24, 2020 |
This is competently done and gives a very broad survey of witchcraft as imagined, prosecuted and possibly practiced It includes quite a lot of very grim material on the revival of witch-hunts in modern African nations, stressing that although there was some influence from evangelical Christianity, much of the hunting was done for political purposes, with native supporters of he former colonial regimes being targeted, The book then reverts to the ancient world, particularly Egypt, and follows through in roughly chronological order to the present again.
1 stem
Gemarkeerd
antiquary | 11 andere besprekingen | Mar 18, 2020 |
A rite of passage read, comprehensive history of witchcraft
 
Gemarkeerd
JaeWillow | 14 andere besprekingen | Mar 10, 2020 |
So thorough! So well researched! Such a loving but academic tone! This one was a joy to read.
 
Gemarkeerd
urnmo | 14 andere besprekingen | Jul 29, 2019 |
Twenty years ago, Ronald Hutton literally wrote the book on modern witchcraft (The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft), in which he was generous and open-minded about the value of Wiccan religions, while also making clear that their claims to represent the survival of an ancient heritage of European paganism were nonsense. Now he turns his attention to the more culturally persistent kind of ‘witch’ – the figure of a maleficent magic-user, wreaking havoc on his (or more usually her) community from within.

Most people who have written about this before have tended to concentrate on the European witch-trials, which in the early-modern period saw some 40,000–60,000 people legally put to death (though probably ‘in the lower half of that range,’ Hutton judges). His own strategy is much broader, both in time and space: he goes all the way back to Ancient Mesopotamia in search of the origins of the witch figure, and ranges around the world to consider witchcraft as it is still conceived of (and feared) in many traditional societies. The results of this are enlightening, with the events of early-modern Europe emerging as part of a distinct patchwork of global-historical beliefs rather than looking like an explosive anomaly. In his summary, Europe's distinction when it comes to witchcraft is slightly different:

Europeans alone turned witches into practitioners of an evil anti-religion, and Europeans alone represent a complex of people who have traditionally feared and hunted witches, and subsequently and spontaneously ceased officially to believe in them. In fact, both developments came relatively late in their history and are probably best viewed as part of a single process of modernization, driven by a spirit of scientific experimentation.

Hutton's approach is ruthlessly historiographical. Every line of inquiry is examined in the context of the scholars who proposed or investigated it. The advantage of this is that you feel like you're getting real oversight of the debate: with other books, when a given idea about paganism or witchcraft comes up, you might think vaguely: yes, I've heard of that, or I've seen someone argue against that somewhere. With Hutton things are infinitely clearer: you can now think, for example, Oh yes, that's an idea that was raised by American academics in the 50s but fell out of favour after research in Italy in the 1970s. The entire subject is flooded with light and acquires edges, handles.

The downside, though, is that it gives his prose a rather cool, distant tone: the impression one gets is not of someone digging into the context of witchcraft with relish, but rather of someone sifting dispassionately through the academic sources. It's kind of a shame, since my memory of reading some of his earlier books was that he seemed to really revel in the subject matter, while also taking it seriously. Indeed this is one of Hutton's hallmarks – he writes about subjects that some serious historians only mention in sneering tones, and manages to be completely even-handed (sometimes almost to a fault: in a section about magicians who claimed to liaise with elves and fairies, Hutton concedes that ‘to be perfectly just, one might admit the final possibility that some of the people concerned actually met non-human beings’!).

There was a lot in here that was new to me, since even the familiar material is being approached from strange new perspectives – the debt owed by Germanic folklore to Egyptian ceremonial magic, for instance, or the way the scientific method is still meshing with witchcraft (as it did during the European witch hunts) in present-day South Africa. I had also been unaware of the extent to which the witch is a Swiss creation – the first witch trials were held in the Valais and the mountains east of Lake Geneva, and the literary records of these events, circulated thanks to a major church council in Basel soon afterwards, did a lot to create the modern image of the witch and the Satanic sabbath.

Minor niggles about the style notwithstanding, then, this is a huge achievement, even if it can't easily be recommended for those looking for a pop-historical overview of witchcraft. But if you already have some familiarity with the field, or if you just like academic prose generally, then this is surely the most comprehensive and wide-ranging survey around – and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future (to the extent that futures can be foreseen, with or without some eye of newt).½
 
Gemarkeerd
Widsith | 11 andere besprekingen | May 9, 2019 |
Triumph of the Moon is an academic work and is therefore full of thoroughly researched and deeply interesting information - presented in a very dry and inaccessible way.½
 
Gemarkeerd
scarylullabies | 14 andere besprekingen | Apr 23, 2019 |
Having recently read Hutton's latest, _The Witch_, I reread this. I think it holds up well. More recent work clears up some of the ambiguity between witchcraft as proposed pagan precursor religion in Europe and witchcraft as widely spread idea of malignant magic users. I would recommend this work despite the controversy concerning it.
 
Gemarkeerd
ritaer | 14 andere besprekingen | Aug 15, 2018 |
Professor Hutton has produced a widely researched and closely argued book about a controversial topic. He starts with the assertion that many cultures, but not all, through history and around the world have had beliefs concerning members of their societies who are able to use supernatural powers to harm fellow humans, livestock and crops, influence the weather, cause death and disease. He chooses the English word 'witch' to label these people, while noting the other, more recent uses of the term. In some cultures these people are believed to act through innate powers, either controlled or involuntary.. In other cultures the witches derive their powers from supernatural entities commonly called demons. Other figures who use magic may act for the benefit of persons in their societies. These people he labels "service magicians" although they are sometimes called good or white witches. Hutton traces the ideas that beliefs about witches were remnants of pre-Christian religion, that the practices of witches derive from shamanism and that the persecution of witches was a uniquely Christian phenomenon. He presents evidence that these beliefs are incorrect. He does identify an area of northern Europe in which there is some overlap between the abilities attributed to witches and the activities of shamans. He also acknowledges that the belief in the classic satanic witch was a construct of the late Medieval and Early Modern period, influenced by increased exposure to ceremonial magic among elites and a blending of ideas about magic workers with the evil acts of cannibalism, sexual depravity and other anti-social acts routinely attributed to Jews and heretics. The chapters on the British Isles contain an analysis of the belief in fairies as teachers of magic; an examination of the relative lack of witch trials in Celtic areas such as HIghland Scotland, Ireland and Wales; and a study of the role of the animal familiar in English trials. This is not light reading. But it is a very interesting work and exposes the reader to the writings of European researchers who have not been translated and made available to the lay reader in America. 360 pages, extensive footnotes, bibliography and index. Small section of photographs. I highly recommend this work for anyone researching or teaching the topic.
 
Gemarkeerd
ritaer | 11 andere besprekingen | Jun 20, 2018 |
Book received from NetGalley.

I've had this book for awhile but something in me had to wait to read it until the "spooky" days of October. I have to admit I love Ronald Hutton, the television shows he's been in show just how quirky but knowledgeable he is. I've read a few other books of his and enjoyed them just as much. My only issue with the book is he seemed to have a set number of pages he wanted to write so he tried to shove quite a bit of information into these pages. I'm not sure how much a general history reader will get from this, and I definitely believe if you're just starting on your journey into this subject you shouldn't start with this book. You can tell he's an academic and that's who the book seems to be written for. Even with all that I loved it and even though I've read quite extensively on this subject I learned quite a few things. This is for the rest of the Pagans out there, this is a book I highly suggest you add to your library if you have one focused on The Craft.
 
Gemarkeerd
Diana_Long_Thomas | 11 andere besprekingen | Nov 12, 2017 |
What is a witch? Interestingly enough even a definition is hard to come across in this book. Hutton is an expert in many areas and this serves him well as he explores the differences between witchcraft, medicine and religion and the perception of witchcraft across the globe and the centuries. This book is fascinating and Hutton is a well-researched guide and link maker.
 
Gemarkeerd
pluckedhighbrow | 11 andere besprekingen | Oct 25, 2017 |
1-25 van 58 worden getoond