Saturday, June 25, 2005

The STENCH of Fear

Old Man Patriarchy on His Last Legs Posted by Hello

Yesterday's post dealt with an Atlantic Monthly article, "The Scholars and the Goddess." I noted that this article was riddled with holes, including the spectacular claim that no "witch" murdered by the Inquisition was a practicing pagan.

Today I poked around perusing reviews of Ronald Hutton's 1999 The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft -- one of the books quoted in the Atlantic Monthly article.

One reviewer from Aukland, New Zealand, zeroed right in on this same "No-witch-was-pagan" boo-boo:

"[Hutton] goes so far as to conclude that not one single practitioner of any kind of pagan religion was persecuted in Europe during the time of the witch trials (1400-1700).... He even at one point gives a list of authors who supposedly agree with him that no condemned "witches" held pagan religious beliefs -- however if you actually read these authors, you will find that only one or two of them make any such claim, and in fact about half of them seem to take quite the opposite view, suggesting all kinds of connections with pre-Christian religion (and giving lots of evidence in support)."

Our New Zealand reviewer was stunned by the number of blunders in Hutton's book:

"This book was a very enjoyable read ... partly for the thrill of the hunt as I tracked down and nailed mistake after mistake.... In a work of this scope a few factual errors are to be expected, but the sheer number of these errors, and the immensity of some of his misrepresentations [are] staggering, especially from someone who claims to be unbiased .... I don't really understand how or why he would get it so wrong. Is it really just plain sloppiness, or does he have some sinister agenda? :)"

Methinks, my dear reviewer, you have hit the nail on the head with the word "agenda." And beneath that agenda I smell the fetid odor of Fear -- that the sway of patriarchy might be facing its final days.

To read this entire review, go HERE and then to the bottom of the page. The review is called "A scholarly tone hides a biased approach."

Thnx to auburndawn for the photo of fear

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