Anglo-Saxon Paganism

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Routledge, 1992 - Religion - 197 pages
1 Review
This book draws together the varied evidence for the pagan religion of the early Saxons and interprets this evidence. The comprehensive investigation which David Wilson presents has long been needed, since the subject thus far has only been treated in a limited way in articles and occasional chapters in books dealing generally with the period. David Wilson's approach is distinctive in that the evidence is in the main taken from this country, without using later Scandinavian material and back-projecting it into early England. Much of what has been gleaned about Saxon paganism comes from the funeral rites of the people, and their sometimes sinister overtones, and these are dealt with at some length, together with the sorts of evidence that tell us about gods and the places where they might have been worshipped, and the impact of the coming of Christianity. The book concentrates on factual evidence rather than on extreme and unsubstantiated theories, although interpretations must often be matters of conjecture or controversy, even more so as this was a non-literate society and consequently there are no contemporary writings to help. Anglo-Saxon Paganism should appeal to all students and teachers of the history, archaeology and religion of the Anglo-Saxon period. It addresses in a fresh way many of the problems associated with the Dark Age.

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