Archive for July, 2011

Caution: Book In Progress, Slow Moving Writer Ahead

I am going to try an experiment: using this (new!) blog to write a book. I had already announced my intention to do this at my other blog at blogspot, but then I decided to make a fresh start for this project over here at wordpress.

The central idea of this book is to expand upon what Carlo Ginzburg has called “the core of truth” in Margaret Murray’s thesis.

This core of truth is simply stated: (1) the targets of the Burning Times were Pagans, and they were targeted as Pagans, and (2) the perpetrators of the Burning Times were Christians, and they acted as Christians.

In addition, this book will defend a third position: (3) The Burning Times were not an aberration because Christianity has a systemic problem with violent religious intolerance.

The working title of the book is Where’s There’s Smoke, with the subtitle: Witchcraft, Paganism, Christianity, and the Burning Times. Thus the title and subtitle of this new blog.

Here is a very broad outline of what I have in mind:

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

Part One:
The Prehistory of the Burning Times

  • Paganism B.C. (Before Christianization)
  • Christianity B.C. (Before Constantine)
  • Paganism versus Christianity (4th – 8th Centuries)
  • European Christendom: The Birth of a Persecuting Society
  • The Incomplete Christianization of Europe
  • The Renaissance: Prelude to the Firestorm

Part Two:
A Narrative History of the Burning Times, 1500-1700

Part Three:
Points of Contention: Definitions & Other Moving Targets

  • Witches, Hexen, Streghe, Sorcières, Brujas, etc.
  • Pagans, Heathens, Hellenes, Infidels, Kafirs, Unbelievers, etc.
  • Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Heretics, etc.
  • What Constitutes a “Witch Hunt”?
  • Inquisitors and Witch Hunters
  • The Burning Times By The Numbers
  • Jacob Grimm on Witches as Priestesses
  • Charles Godfrey Leland and “The Old Religion”
  • Margaret Murray and “The Society of Witches That Never Was”
  • Gerald Gardner: “There Have Been Witches In All Ages”
  • Contemporary scholarship that supports of the general notion of The Old Religion: An Annotated Bibliography

Honoring Our Pagan Ancestors

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