Souls & Spirit-deities in Anglo-Saxon England

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Souls, Spirits, Deities

Bob Trubshaw

Quote:Suffice to say for the moment that an understanding of the ideas I am presenting here requires stepping back from the assumption that paganism and Christianity are opposed, and also stepping back from the blurring of souls with spirits, and the clear separation of deity from either. Therefore a more accurate title for this work would be Souls and Spirit-deities in Anglo-Saxon England.However, as much of the evidence has far wider cultural horizons (which maybe of interest to those who do not share my underlying concern with Dark Age beliefs) I have opted for the title used.

Quote:This study of souls, spirits and deities is a detailed look at topics explored more superficially in Singing Up the Country(Trubshaw 2011). I have aimed to make this work self-contained without excessive duplication of ideas in the previous book. In principle this is an easy distinction as Singing Up the Country is mostly concerned with Neolithic culture of about five millennia ago,whereas this study looks back a ‘mere’ ten to fifteen centuries.My overall aim is to understand the Anglo-Saxon worldview of souls and spirit-deities. To do so I have used a great number of ethnographical parallels. The end result is to strip away more recent ‘assumptions’ about the worldview of Anglo-Saxon Christianity and, instead, to see an all-but-seamless continuity between pre-Christian and post-conversion beliefs in both souls and spirit-deities.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell

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