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Customer Review

27 of 46 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Possibly Good Book, 19 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy (Paperback)
Dr. Hutton writes from a very narrow academic perspective that has the effect of invalidating almost all other possible research done by any academic who isn't a British Historian.
This narrowness allows him to dismiss Nora Chadwick and almost any other researcher as irrelevant to any discussion of his topic.
He makes a number of broad assertions concerning religion and magical practices. The instance that comes to mind is his statement that no religious groups work nude. What about the Jains, the various Tantric orders, or the European Anabaptists?
His distinction between magic and religion is a product of the Anglican church, and is generally not accepted as valid within other academic disciplines.
By dismissing all folkloric research as irrelevant, as well as ignoring the entirety of comparitive mythic studies, he is able to ignore entire bodies of evidence.
While he is probably correct that many features of modern Europaganism are invented, he should be willing to follow the evidentiary threads more completely. How can one even begin to discuss the grail materials or Ross Nichols without a full discussion of Wagner's seminal article on the Grail, or Jesse Weston's place in this, or the importance of the Surrealists and Welsh poets of the 1930's?
Hutton is firmly within the anti-nativist camp of Celtic studies, without bothering to discuss the transparent agendas of its founders, or to consider the evidence or counters discussed by Patrick Ford and others to the notion that the Celts had no religion before Christianity.
Each generation re-invents its own mythologies and histories in accordance with the agendas of its proponents. This is as true of British historians as it is of Europagans.
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