Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic Hardcover – 1 May 2003
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Describes and explains the traditional knowledge, beliefs, and practices of the early English during the first millennium. The sources are from both Northern and Southern Europe - i.e. the Germanic and Mediterranean traditions. Includes_ The theory and practice of magic and superstition Their perception of the world and how it is ordered Divination (dreams, runes, lots), Charms, Amulets, Augury, Science and Knowledge Texts include: charms; rune poems; information about dreams, weather signs, unlucky days, the solar system, The Signs of the Fifteen Days before Doomsday. Texts are printed in their original language with Modern English translations.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is too much fluffy nonsense about how ancient people viewed magic and what their culture was like before the coming of Christianity. This book takes a proper look at the situation. It is an excellent book for those interested in Anglo Saxon or Germanic culture.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In particular, I felt that:
1: I felt that the analysis of the pagan religious context was overly simplistic and seemed to generally disregard a great deal that was known in the area of Germanic comparative mythology since well before the book was published. Leechcraft has some similar issues but far less severe. Griffiths seems to be sticking with ideas relating to nature vs ancestral deities which have been seen as overly simplistic since at least the middle of the 20th century.
2: The same sort of over-simplicity was found in the view of the afterlife in the chapter "The Dead World."
3: In places the author clings to the outdated and overly simplistic Frazer categories of sympathetic vs contagious magic rather than trying to reconstruct a fuller structural framework in which Anglo-Saxon magic would have fit.
I did feel that there was a fair bit of good information in the book about everyday life in the Anglo-Saxon world. However, I didn't feel that the book managed to accomplish what the author obviously set out to do.
In general, this book does contain a fair bit of interesting source material, but I found the analysis to be somewhat less useful. In general, I would recommend skipping this book and going with Leechcraft instead.
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