A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans, by J.B. Russell & Brooks Alexander (Second Edn.), Thames & Hudson, 2007. J.B.

Russell is Prof. of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara; and this present edition comprises a 1980 text that allegedly served as one of Ronald Hutton's primary consenting sources while writing his foundational polemics—now considered relatively obsolete by the nature of historical quantifications, due to current revelations (these subsequent texts are largely in the process of being superseded): The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy1 (Blackwell, 1996) and The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (Oxford University Press, 1999). For what it's worth, Ronald Hutton set the stage (an act intimately fraught with peril when it seemingly sets the standard) and introduced Paganism as an academically respectful religion, thus removing it from the shelves of "New Age nonsense" at your local bookstore. However, many that are opposed to Wicca (specifically) and Paganism (in general) have deliberately pointed to Hutton's texts, empirically, as they sneer, "See, I told you so—it's a made-up, fake, religion!" Be that as it may, and despite Hutton's personal reservation to the contrary, his early work has set new standards of rigor in the present debate concerning the origins of contemporary Paganism and its likely antiquated genesis—even forcing us to raise our standards of evidence, and searching out those scholars which vastly disagree from across the pan-academic stage (particularly from Continental Europe). As a historiography I found this text to be brilliantly even-handed and generally objective; by stark contrast, Hutton's polemics should be tendered as extremist and atypical in presentation because he often does not fairly adjudicate the current scholastic data on the subject with which his work is concerned.2 As an example, consider that while Ronald Hutton entirely rejects any notion of the Celtic Cult of the Head as discerned by Prof. Anne Ross, Prof. Miranda Green, on the other hand, takes a middle-of-the-road approach, acknowledging it as a distinct plausibility rather than wholly rejecting it due to some perceived lack of evidence; “evidence” that the majority of Iron Age specialists tend to accept as rather convincing. In this new publication—almost 30 years since its initial inception—Prof. Russell offers two new chapters concerned with contemporary Paganism written with his present collaborator (and evangelical Christian) Brooks Alexander,3 as well as a new Introduction and concluding-chapter. However, much has also been omitted from the present edition,
1

The Suppressed Histories Archive. Dashú, Max (1998). “A Review of Ronald Hutton‟s The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles” (Last Accessed: 14 March, 2007). Web. This is an important critical analysis of Hutton‟s early work that acknowledges numerous factual discrepancies and other troubling anomalies. 2 This is all the more concerning when one takes into account that Prof. JB Russell can remain generally honest and objective despite the fact that he is an avowed evangelical Christian, while Prof. Ronald Hutton was raised Pagan by his mother and was subsequently initiated into the Gardnerian Priesthood sometime prior to the mid-1990s (in private correspondence he acknowledged that this contemporary Pagan Tradition exemplified a faith that he was already familiar with under his mother‟s tutelage); yet Prof. Hutton presents an extremist and atypical view of the data and current research to his impressionable readership. 3 Author of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream: Uncovering its Alarming Impact on You and Your Family (Harvest House Publishers, 2004), and Founder of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project: http://www.scpinc.org/ckbody.php (Last Accessed: 12 March, 2008), a website propounding anti-Pagan Christian propaganda.

furthermore. "I love you. has found some relatively substantive evidence whereby the apparently ethnographic account disclosed in the Aradia material is analogous to a local Italian. Prof. after the fact. this is a tactic that has diffused through the ranks of academia. cynical) scholarship. albeit there is also much to enjoy and mull-over in one's gray matter. such as folk-songs or mythology). However. . Maddelena—I find this grossly unsatisfactory. When I first cracked the spine of this text I immediately noticed some astonishing anomalies that troubled me. it is believed that they claim a larger Indo-European shamanic antecedent. from one generation to the next. this bears a rather disingenuous tone. Moreover. and a fascinating copy of the “oath of secrecy” and vows propounded by the First Church of Wicca in the late 1970s. shamanic. However. he pejoratively regards his methodology by denoting it as "research" within quotation marks replete with sarcasm. it might prove worth your while to locate a second-hand copy at any number of used book stores either on-line. although no less misleading errors are peppered throughout this text. because their primary bias—their training—tells them something quite the opposite! 6 It is also interesting to note that eminent micro-Historian. along with many littleknown photographs of “Old” Gerald B. Russell occasionally behaves throughout each controversial treatise of this recent edition almost like a verbally or emotionally abusive loved one who tenderly says. Furthermore. and subsequent anomalies. So. as well as her educational background. Scholars label this orature (orally preserved data. when writing of Charles Leland's investigation into an Italian witch-cult (Aradia. So. or in your local area. Russell also implies that much of the Aradia MS.such as certain photographs (albeit seemingly “sensational”) that testify to the doctrine of British Traditional Witchcraft. for this to make any cognitive sense Maddelena would have had to have been a literary prodigy. and talent. Carlo Ginzburg. we note that much of the Aradia material is presented in verse. just below the thin veneer of their documentable sources. which is entirely unlikely given her provincial and impoverished stature. perhaps this. that speak of an older tradition that simply does not fit the imaginings of an entire generation of skeptical (indeed. as well. these documents are possessed of a substance. Gardner and seemingly macabre British folkspells involving thorns and a sheep‟s heart. in the same breath he states that Leland's methods were the scholastic norm of his day.6 Some other minor. or The Gospel of the Witches [1899]). including a caption for a late fifteenth-century woodcut depicting perceived 4 5 Sadly." For example. presented to Leland may have been written by his informant. why criticize him so harshly and gratuitously at the onset? Like my initial analogy. 5 However. and have found that it is far more capable of retaining information accurately (spanning hundreds of years) than traditionally written documentation to the consternation of General Historians. the latter is staunchly over-shadowed by his seeming lapse in discernment. “The Witches‟ Religion” has also been omitted. if this data fascinates you. fertility witch-cult known as the Benandanti (“do-gooders”). and his apparent "ignorance" of recent evidence.4 It is important to note that Charles Godfrey Leland was able to gain access into groups and cultures that his peers could not—a fact. that is frequently overlooked when he is maligned as the victim of duplicitous local inhabitants (a stance more than generally adopted by the present authors). Even an entire chapter quite eloquently titled. which we know is a mnemonic device employed by cultures throughout antiquity as a means of preserving lore and local tradition. ought to be forgiven as mere obsolete data that was never amended from the first edition of the present work.

Werewolves and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral-Doubles in the Middle Ages. all over Europe.root.8 7 A belief in werewolves is a common folk-belief of pagan antiquity throughout Europe and the British Isles. that Paganism survived throughout the Mediterranean long exceeding the sixth-century. and many of the Baltic deities enjoyed continued worship until the early 1920s!). Consult: Werewolves. There is no evidence for the of the long-term persistence of paganism as a formal system of religion vanished from Mediterranean Europe after the sixth century. that proves. the incontrovertible work of Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick."witches" shape-shifting in an effort to transvex towards a Sabbat gathering. even after Christianity was meaningfully adopted. and from the north-eastern portions after the fourteenth. Hellenism in Late Antiquity (The University of Michigan Press. unequivocally. 2. by Prof. during this period officially recognized Paganism frequently overthrew and banished Christianity and missionaries from their home-countries. Albeit the presentation Ronald Hutton relates below as a counter-point is also debatable (and proves to be mere opinion. ed. from the western and northern parts of the continent after the eleventh. and 3. more worrying. Hutton does not seem to allow for this). which refers to the transmogrification of an individual into a wolf. it's extremist and simplistic to a fault. he apparently conflates the generic term of "shape-shifting" with the specific denotation. which makes this passage far worse than the most biased American puff-journalism. “Paganism and Greek Culture”. W. while “there is no evidence” for something that he does not personally agree with. "lycanthropy". However. which subsumes that something that Prof. Witches and Wandering Spirits. Bowersock—even citing his important text. Katheryn A. due to suggestions from other scholars: the Saami nomads of Scandinavia are evidently still extent. Among the Saami nomads of Scandinavia. 2003: 137). it may have lingered into the seventeenth" (Witches. This polemic is severely questionable—although. let alone a fact (implying that we must accept him at his word). for example. 1990). 2002) and Witches. 2003). Bowersock‟s premiere chapter. rather than an actual “argument”. while Pagan rulers succeeding the throne according to the Historical Record—but. it has been advanced that antiquated paganism survived throughout large swaths of Europe easily as late as the eighteenth-century (though the twentiethcentury is not entirely off the radar. at which point it can hardly be suggested that Paganism was even on the wane! . 8 This is a misleading polemic on several grounds: 1. Druids and King Arthur.) This statement represents a personal opinion. Hutton is aware of the work of G. by Prof. it serves to advance a case contrary to Russell's preferred position: "During the late twentieth century it gradually became apparent that.) While Prof. within this most recent text—he willfully ignores Prof. A History of Pagan Europe]. for we note dozens of scholars that present the history of paganism far differently: the pagans actually fought hard for their endemic religions against the Christians to an exceptionally late date. Popular Paganism thrived among the peasants [see. Edwards (Truman State University Press. by the twelfthcentury. Claude Lecouteux (Inner Traditions.7 While. the conversion of the rulers of a medieval state to Christianity was followed within a relatively short time by the formal acceptance of the new religion by their subjects. the entire Continent of Europe had been irrevocably converted to Christianity. hence the lycan. which was usually only very superficial and politically motivated in order to achieve an alliance with the powerful Roman Catholic Church. Hutton does agree with “gradually became apparent”. he subsequently relates that throughout Europe. and “officially” took hold.) Despite his personal allegations (for which he has shifted the burden of proof and offered not one shred of substantive data for his cause) it has been proven by numerous Historians that Paganism survived long after the ruling élite “officially” adopted Christianity.

Hence. consult his book. and even Doreen Valiente (more on her research. It has even come to my attention that some scholars—because they tend to ignore a lot of evidence—actually make a habit of mischaracterizing other arguments and scholars. 2004). Drawing Down the Moon 10 (Penguin Books. I can only conclude that Russell's and Brook's recent edition has apparently been justified to one side of a polemic that it is presently being re-evaluated (indeed. Some victims of “straw man” . I was astonished at this same discrepant lack throughout Margot Adler's recent up-date of her highly acclaimed occult classic. Leo Ruickbie‟s Witchcraft Out of the Shadows: A Complete History (Robert Hale. and scholar in her own right. it is in a process of collapse). much recent research. Ronald Hutton‟s The Triumph of the Moon: cf. this title does not show the same insight and current for-thought (in this regard) as his previous texts. Hutton‟s mitigation of her analysis of witchcraft-history!11 As a result. she should have been blatantly aware of these recent paradigm-shifting revelations. because the matter has been (so they claim). 12 As an example. The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianit y (Cornell University Press. neither did she attempt to defend her work from Prof. not to mention a perfect example of what is known as “special pleading” when a scholar does not often follow those same quantifiable rules of academic protocol that they impose onto others! Indeed. they've made up their collective mind! This arises from blatant cynicism. is only given a token nod within the actual Bibliography. it is probably evidence as to how academia has become ruthlessly politicized within the past several decades. 1977) for an example of far more superior historical insights and more balanced conclusions. As a Gardnerian High Priestess. after all.12 Moreover.13 9 I have noted similar discrepancies in academic work since the publication of Prof. 2006). scholars that make these blatant statements need to be publicly censured for it. research! Where's the foundational work of Phillip Hesselton. and groundbreaking. which can be tempered (two entirely different quantifiable animals). This is simply a cop-out. "just because it's popular and endorsed" or "scholastic suicide" to reach a differing opinion without factually arguing for one's case! All too often I see scholars relying not on the evidence. despite remaining un-cited throughout the body of the text. momentarily) or Donald Frew's counter-thesis. “settled”. with fondness. until I had mentioned it to her. rather than given a green light.As a new edition to an antedated text from 1980 it is simply behind the times—at least behind the last decade of subsequent. as well as Ronald Hutton's latest treatise that was briefly quoted above (he seems to employ The Triumph of the Moon as a relative "cut-off date" if one is to judge from his bibliographed citations9)? Be that as it may. 13 These mendacious academic élites can't be bothered with the data that questions their opinion. The Pagan Religions. these days) need to be taught how to use critical thinking skills to spot clearly unsubstantiated claims when they obstinately appear! While. as though those writings and scholars really state something contrary to what's actually in print (this is called a “straw man argument” in which an author or thesis is mischaracterized for the express purpose of being attacked). but the opinions of other scholars. 10 I clearly remember reading this book. rather than mere “skepticism”. during High School after hours at our community Library! 11 Coda: I managed to contact Adler and I was able to confirm that she is entirely unaware of Hutton‟s polemical text. contemporary Pagans (and general lay-readers) that turn to polemics written by General Historians (for polemics are all that seem to exist. Similarly.

Dr. Emma Wilby (Britain). I fear. Rudolf. New York: Oxford University Press. Missing also is the ground-breaking work of Professors Carlo Ginzburg (Italy). I find that Hutton has not fairly adjudicated the relevant findings from the present academic world. As a result. Asphodel Pauline. Trans. thus proving her existence! These current revelations in consideration. 16 Hence. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Gail Kligman (Romania). While. consider the following: Dr. M. “A Review of: The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy”. This is opinion only—eminent Sumerologist. Rudolf Simek has found unequivocal evidence for this sustained ritual and belief within the Germanic pagan data that appears to advocate the presence of a larger European-wide phenomenon where the Earth (as female) is fertilized by the Sky (the rain identified as his semen). rather. Christian Rätsch (Germany).L. M. Katheryn A. Claudia Müller-Ebeling (Germany). Giuseppe Bonomo (Italy). Carlo Ginzburg. and Margaret Alice Murray. Doreen Valiente (my personal hero) published an account (in Janet & Stewart Farrar's The Witches' Way. Angela Hall. Phillipe Walter (France). Éva Pócs (Hungary). 39 (Summer 1992). Carmen Blacker (Britain). Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer.Another ailment that needs to be remedied is teaching individuals how to spot personal opinion when it is advanced as established fact (Ronald Hutton happens to illustrate this remarkably in his book The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles14). 2007. Claude Lecauteux (France) and an army of other note-worthy scholars with works translated into English. Gustav Henningsen (Sweden). detailed what a homogenous Indo-European religious motif the hierós gámos ultimately proves to be. "Old Dorothy" is merely portrayed as a leading figure in Gardner's personal assertions (here presented as mythical). Bengt Ankarloo (Sweden). Russell has made no attempt to rescind his earlier declamation. Samuel Noah Kramer comes to an entirely diametric and well-founded conclusion in his own book. Gábor Klaniczay (Hungary). 14 Long. Incensed by this unfounded accusation. Edwards (USA). Wolf Dieter-Storl (Germany). Indo-European Poetry and Myth. this was enacted physically by local tribesmen in religious rituals. Russell admonishes the existence of "Old" Dorothy Clutterback as a figment of Gerald Gardner's fertile imagination.15 Even Tacitus implies that the ancient Germans performed the hierós gámos ritual at the time of his writing. West. arguments include (but are not limited to): Professors Marija Gimbutas. L. particularly in the rites of Freyr (“Lord”). This is ultimately misleading. David Lederer (Ireland). Prof. Hutton states in his The Triumph of the Moon that nowhere throughout antiquity was any goddess worshipped as the source of geographical and human fecundity via the hierós gámos. or "sacred marriage" rite. Emeritus Fellow (All Souls College. as a “sacred marriage” between the sky-god and the earth-goddess. 1984) in which she located the marriageand death-certificate of "Old Dorothy". 15 Simek. Wood and Water. 16 West. with no mention pertaining to her factual existence. In the initial edition of this text from 1980. As an example of this tactic. I must find that Hutton‟s position can only be maintained if one were ignorant of both the necessary hagiographic data and primary source-material. Oxford). The Sumerians (University of Chicago Press. Moreover. . 1984. Web. Tekla Dömötor (Hungary). Prof. This is a relatively grave example of sweeping over-generalizations that simply proves to be unfounded when the appropriate data is examined in any detail. Prof. 1963).

perhaps even as a desire for "academic subjugation" (a monopoly. one might reasonably argue that such a blatant absence as these presently discussed "values" in the equation of medieval witchcraftstudies is a form of "thought reformation" on behalf of the academic "ruling élite". Anything less. This failure. Éva Pócs. Carlo Ginzburg is generally mitigated by British academia for his own contributions. 21 According to Prof. Russell and the late Norman Cohn. albeit some of her assertions certainly were incorrect (eg. Cohn‟s presumptuous hypothesis attempts to shift the burden of proof.The latter. turned out to be inseparable from local shamanic traditions.org (Last Accessed: 14 March. but I certainly don't like feeling as though I‟m being lied to. because Norman Cohn (a polemicist Hutton uncritically endorses to this day) has rejected all such conclusions as resulting from the psychedelic 1960s in America and abroad. or relative ignorance.B. Civilization and Literature at the world-famous academic institution. freedom loses its foundations and man is exposed to the violence of passion and to manipulation. Prof. as will be seen (consult the article in footnote 21). please navigate the following well thought-out website. "is untenable". if you will. both open and hidden”. Academia throughout Continental Europe has reached the general consensus that at the heart of medieval witchcraft-belief is endemic "shamanistic" antecedents to one extent or another that definitely support certain variants of the Murray thesis—a thesis that needs updating because she lacked a shamanic language with which to refine her arguments. 18 Pope John Paul II (1991). of Medieval Society. 21 where these historians blatantly mischaracterized his astounding work! Be that as it may. Cohn posits.17 However. Centesimus Annus. I Benandanti (1966). a great many witchcraft-trial documents would not have been translated into the English language for the explicit use of scholars world-wide! Pope John Paul II eloquently reminds us that. . an allegation with which he attacked anthropologist. 19 I don't know about you. Unfortunately. Pócs. that such a thesis is determinant upon this modern data to such an extent that scholars would not have been inclined to reach this conclusion if such a cultural epoch as the psychedelic „60s had never occurred. and those reported traditions. but it must be remembered that Prof. is Prof. Michael Harner. Ginzburg in the English preface to his important study. Jeanne d'Arc). France). as well as some equally important counter-arguments. drew upon a sample of more than 2. http://www.000 witch-trials (by far the largest study to date) and found that medieval witchcraftbelief.20 Furthermore. for what it's worth. 2007).18 As a result. for they tend to regard this subject-matter as their respective “turf”)!19 If you would like to read some important questions concerned with modern Pagan research. It was throughout a subsequent polemic by both J. “in a world without truth. generation after generation. in the words of Emma Wilby.egregores. for example. appears during Russell's historiographic account of the four most prominent "interpretations of European witchcraft [that] are current". by scholars and imposed onto the next generation of researchers if they hope to acquire a 17 It quite probable that Hutton is glibly dismissive of such a thesis. It should be understood that this will be perpetuated. rather unsuccessfully. had it not been for her. The Sorbonne (Paris. I can only describe the constant absence of these major contending-theories from Continental Europe throughout general works by leading American and British scholars on the subject of witchcraft-history as "a conspiracy of silence". a minority of British general-historians have gone to rather severe lengths to mitigate the enduring contributions of Prof. as though the ends somehow justify the means! 20 Pagan History. But Russell follows in the footsteps of Ronald Hutton throughout this present edition by failing to acknowledge this unequivocal body of European scholarship.

such an unyielding position levied against Murray's work is bunk. another quibble is that Russell generally endorses. Early Origins of the Witch Persecutions. for more wellgrounded authorities have shown a disdain towards these extremist positions. Ronald Hutton. The Cauldron [2002-3]. Druids. “Max Dashú: The Matrix Societies. in his Witches. Max Dashú is a Harvardeducated freelance scholar who attained a full scholarship to this Ivy League University where she studied history. Historian. for what it's worth. a great many Pagans are so cynical and unyielding that they sit atop their laurels as they blatantly refuse to so much as question Cohn‟s treatment of Murray. or to even pass their courses and get published! Ivy League Universities are not even excused from such unscrupulous behavior: as late as the 1970s one could actually be rebuked for questioning the status quo. The problem arises when this attitude hardens: then doubting becomes a certainty in itself. how soon we forget the contributions of our predecessors. Druids. „eh?) As a result. to this day! 24 Farrel-Roberts. It is wise to be cautious. 14-20. Web. linguistics. and Worldwide Goddess Veneration”. was extremist and unprofessional in his mendacious pedantry (albeit I use the latter term loosely. Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Chrstians in Medieval Christendom (University of Chicago Press. and we forget the importance of doubting our doubt. clearly as passionate as he. and King Arthur. Harper SanFrancisco: pp. because he played fast and loose with precepts of academic protocol). in fact. pure and simple. 25 In my personal experience. doubt is a virtue. there were individuals persecuted for witchcraft in Orthodox areas of continental Europe. . Willow (2000). regardless of one‟s substantive evidence—they would have been failed. citing Russian and German scholars (Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts. pp. In his polemic. should 22 La Monte. 202 n. Cohn‟s text is continuously hailed as “a classic in the subject” (consult Ronald Hutton‟s Witches. Cohn. 1974). Hence. “Margaret Murray and the Distinguished Professor Hutton”. But. 2007]. and were told not to question matters that were deemed "settled". [Last Accessed: 14 March. 2004-5]. etc.24). continues to hail it as “a classic” on the subject. and King Arthur [Hambledon & London. is this an accurate appraisal of his polemic? The late Prof. Janine." (Ah. it is becoming more and more unreliable. the ruthless work of Norman Cohn. as time passes. Cohn‟s often cited (obsolete) text is usually referred to as that which has "closed the door" on the debate surrounding the Murray thesis. it‟s obsolete by today‟s standards! As an example. and distances himself from those that claim it has collapsed entirely with all its plausible variants (a stance for which he was actually rebuked by Norman Cohn at one point). virtuous to allow for different points of view. despite Cohn‟s conclusions to the contrary. But. the Suppressed Histories Archive. who has been thoroughly debunked. Russell (at least in this present text) wisely shows more sensitivity towards the Murray thesis than is usually allowed in academic circles. she subsequently left after experiencing the oppressive and tyrannical academic atmosphere that would not allow any conflicting theories and evidence to break the cognitive surface nor appear within personal research projects if one valued their grades! 23 Prof. let alone perform any actual footwork and compare his allegations with her actual writings.degree. issue #19.22 This politicization is something worth dear consideration by every reader of academia and subsequent research! However. and anthropology. without qualification. Goddessing: An International Journal of Goddess Expression [Winter/Spring. Anne Llewelyn Barstow (1 994) reported that.23 But. 2003] for this endorsement). it has been proven 24 that Cohn presented demonstrably false statements about Margaret Murray by simply comparing his allegations alongside what she actually wrote25 (one would reasonably assume that a scholar. "Academically. it is worth bearing in mind what historian Peter Kingsley once (wisely) said.

his work constitutes a classic example of “special pleading” and a “straw man argument” (as if the ends somehow justify the means). otherwise—that's why! When this is taken into account with his earlier mischaracterization of Carlo Ginzburg (a model tragically followed by a slew of American and British scholars. 1981]. Hutton describes it). she seemed to bow and scrape at every mention of Prof. despite the fact that Adler's presentation of Cohn's main thesis and characterizations went well over three pages in length. 27 This is tendered as an unacceptable polemic where one invents a counter-argument by misrepresenting other scholars or ideals for the express purpose of attacking an alternative thesis. Indeed. Web. he probably viewed it as his duty to prove its claims an impossibility. However. 2000]. He complains that Murray had the audacity to write anything on the subject of witchcraft-history "because she was nearly sixty". 1921] and The God of the Witches [Oxford University Press. because he couldn‟t be bothered with the facts that question his personal arguments. it would become (he may have hoped) impotent and not pose any psycho-sociological harm to relevant Western culture. which he believed to be the result of irrational Nazi fears (for which there is ample suggestion). While he dismisses entirely uncoerced testimony of several women who freely admitted that they traveled to the Sabbat (generations before the Inquisition was anywhere near its apex) of being senile old women. alongside numerous contending theorems centered upon the "Great Witch Hunt". In so doing. Given Hutton's rather petty dismissal.have been aware of the differential source-material documented in The Witch-Cult in Western Europe [Oxford University Press. 26 Please consult Prof. “Paganism and Polemic: The Debate Over the Origins of Modern Pagan Witchcraft” in Folklore [April. without which. thesis.27 As an aside. it is worth noting that Ronald Hutton ruthlessly chastised Margot Adler's account of Norman Cohn in his Pagan Religions. 2007]. of Jewish heritage). Ronald Hutton‟s ad hominem vitriol. 2004). at the time of writing his “classic study” (as Prof. or otherwise incontrovertible evidence. one must wonder why Alder did not defend her position against Hutton when the new (and present) edition of Drawing Down the Moon was released in 2006? Rather. [Last Accessed: 14 March. this is how it appeared to me when I read the second edition). Hutton throughout this relative up-date (of course. dismissing her appraisal as "fleeting" and "quite inadequate". including Ronald Hutton in his Triumph of the Moon and an article published through the British journal. Why? Because one might not believe them. the evidence in question usually gets swept beneath the proverbial "rug". rather than seeking to knock down his own “straw man” argument!). This relatively harsh criticism probably arises from Cohn's post-WWII sympathy towards the Holocaust victims and its survivors (being. however. himself. and Cohn simply saw it as another form of "the irrational" (a concept he viewed as protoNazi) or a superstitious cult (to which he was deeply opposed as a Rationalist). Please consult footnote #11. Folklore)26 a pattern of behavior begins to emerge that must not go unrecognized! Cohn also portrays blatant ageist and sexist tactics—discriminatory as they are—as a means through which he may entirely disregard a scholar. No matter how one slices it. he apparently takes a page directly from The Canon Episcopi that fully denounced such accounts as delusional. His conclusions scholars love to talk-up. Witchcraft Today (Citadel. Gardnerianism was greatly expanding and making headlines—Murray even wrote the Introduction to Gerald Gardner's moving testament. .

rejects such assertions as rubbish for which there is no "evidence" (a firm thesis he would like us to believe). it has recently been brought to my attention by an Alexandrian High Priest from New Zealand (upon checking Hutton's sources). but the publisher will not tender it “out of print” until we (Pagans) cease purchasing it! However.many scholars reject on principle all conjecture except their own" (emphasis mine). respectable at the time in which The Triumph of the Moon was first published. but as a point of fact. One brief example consists of a chief discrepancy when Prof. such as Pan.However. a far more forceful argument can be proposed when Indo-European Studies are analogously brought to bear on the extensive folk-traditions that still color the Isles and Continental Europe (consult: ML West‟s formidable study Indo-European Poetry and Myth [Oxford University Press. be).. it's a shame that most modern readers do not know what Prof. compared with Keith Thomas‟ primary consenting source. and his earlier monograph The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianit y [Cornell University Press. One may freely read my New Zealand coeval‟s text on-line. Furthermore. he acknowledged that he didn't know enough about the subject before he wrote his infamous book and has been yearning to rewrite it for several years.. not as in the pejorative sense. that ". but it must be taken into consideration that there is a relative corpus of academia that does —and should— disagree with his (often "narrowly-informed") assumptions. or academically. that Ronald has been mendaciously mischaracterizing scholars throughout his presentation of The Triumph of the Moon—it turns out that many of those scholars (at least those published in languages in which my New Zealand informant is fluent) that Hutton claims agree with him (particularly in that there was never any whiff of Pagan survivalism).28 So. otherwise. Keith Thomas‟ Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Belief in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England (Oxford University Press. Ronald Hutton. 1977]) fervently acknowledges that the medieval iconography of the Devil directly stems from known images of Pagan gods. If one has only read Hutton's texts on any given subject. while Russell (in the present work. Hutton. in fact. of course he would present a seemingly iron-clad argument. 2007]). refuses to acknowledge the existence of any evidence pertaining to the worship of the gods of the planets during the Middle Ages [ cf. 1971)]. Russell diverges from Hutton on some relatively key issues. and directly present evidence to the contrary. The Trials of the Moon. or otherwise no academic literature on the topic has been sufficiently published (though he does not seem to cite Russell as an immediate antithesis to his sweeping generalization when it doesn't seem to suit his preferred agenda). one must wonder. Pagan survivals throughout Europe and the British Isles regardless of its superficial Christianization. . it is important to point out that Prof. why he has not been censured for this. Be that as it may. Ronald's views are to be regarded as extreme and atypical when compared to the wider breadth of scholarship written on the subject of Paganism and witchcraft. Long's analysis of his text The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles (consult footnote #14). I personally found A History of Witchcraft to be an inadequate up-date. 28 The vast majority of them conclude that there was. in reality. of course. In a response Hutton wrote to Asphodel P. As a new edition (even lavishly illustrated with re-prints and brilliant photographs!). on the other hand (in Triumph of the Moon). or at least why scholars familiar with these cited works have not flooded peer-reviewed Journals and stated that he has not been honest with his readers? Perhaps it was because Paganism was simply not (yet) considered intellectually. For example. Moreover. Morton Smith knew (how liberating it would. I say "narrowly-informed". staunchly disagree with him (or are not nearly so extremist as he).

based upon the European data it may have arisen. there is a double standard enshrined within academia with which I am phenomenally uncomfortable (for obvious reasons)! Be that as it may. regarding them as little-more than a mere “correspondence” in a spell! Not only would many Witches (including myself) tender it blatantly offensive. I must be content to express the leanings of another academic consensus of surpassing weight. from early shamanic fertility battles! This term comes to us from the Vulgar Latin noun *sortiarius. it was lacking in current revelations and leading research— essentially it was a drastically missed opportunity to present an up-dated historiography concerned with the present revelations regarding the history of Gardnerianism and medieval witchcraft-beliefs. as I plow my way through this text. The latter he brilliantly differentiates from the former by denoting this figure (in anthropological terms) as a “Sorcerer” or “Sorceress”! 30 I just hope that such individuals do not attempt to invoke—or “boss around”—the gods when performing their seemingly atheist-centered magic. one day. in part. fate. and from the Latin noun sors. but until then. I continue to find more to love and recommend within it. for that matter. this book still remains a text every Witch ought to posses on his or her personal library shelf (even if you have come to your own conclusions based upon recent evidence and research).D. or fortune”. simply because it was written by someone with a Ph. who lack the courage to see the forest for the trees in their zealous denial): "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. such as his fascinating presentation regarding the etymology of the word "witch"—it bears distinct magico-religious denotations. However." Sadly. seem to intuitively respond as though it actually reads "The History" (assuming the definitive article).. which means “one who influences fate or fortune”.. “lot. and to reiterate. as well as Pagans! Or the truly ubiquitous nature of the diabolical witch-figure belief throughout antiquity—scholars can apparently reach no firm conclusions about how to best quantify these reoccurring leitmotivs. despite the alternative pleas of certain scholars. somehow. if one were to invoke Aphrodite in such a spell as a mere “correspondence” (even if they don’t believe in Her)." lay-readers and Pagans alike. this book may ultimately prove to be a valuable stepping-stone in the current debate between differential Traditions of Witches. tomes abound with love spells gone awry. regardless that a respective text wisely denotes itself as "A History. especially between those Witches that tend to bemoan.—a grievous mistake! I hope. . She might ensure that the offending “Witch” would never get laid again! 29 30 Though. Russell‟s functional distinction between the religious and nonreligious Witch (or magical practitioner). It was established in its modern form by the early fourteenth-century. 29 Unfortunately. Indeed. this text brings to mind a well-known quote by Upton Sinclair (as do all glib "professional" Historians. but I wouldn‟t wish to be in their shoes for anything in this world! For example. Moreover. “not all Witches are Pagan”! They may find it quite liberating to note Prof. to see it remedied.albeit even-handed.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful