The European Pagan heritage is one which historians generally overlook. In A History of Pagan Europe, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick recount the fascinating story of Europeam Paganism, and contend that the Pagan worldview has continuity over time and space and retains its influence on European life today. This book not only provides the first comprehensive definition of paganism, but is also the first to shed light on well-documented events which are usually glossed over or ignored from a covert Christian perspective.
From the massive civilizations of Greece and Rome to the barely-documented tribal systems of the Picts, the Finns and others on the northern margins of the continent, European Paganism is marked by Polytheism, a veneration of nature, and recognition of female divinity. The ancient religions are often not well known, and the evidence for their continuation is often misunderstood or misrepresented as "accident" or "superstition." It is evidence for such continuity which this book investigates.
Recording this vital, yet half-hidden European tradition, A History of Pagan Europe provides journalists, theologians, social policy-makers and the general reader with an informed background to the resurgence of self-styled Pagan groups in the present day.
This ambitious work endeavors to demonstrate how the indigenous spiritual traditions of Europe were not wiped out by various invaders but in fact constitute a kind of hidden history of Europe. Jones (Voices of the Circle: The Heritage of Western Paganism, Aquarian Bks., 1990) and Pennick (The Celtic Oracle, Aquarian Bks., 1992) wish to show how the various invaders of Europe adapted aspects of the pagan religions already in existence to fit within the framework of their own. All over Europe are found sacred groves and shrines to deities that were not a part of current religion before its arrival in the area. The authors assert that the original pagan religions of Europe were polytheistic and had goddess and nature elements (without the Fall) that were often incompatible with the invading group's belief system. A ubiquitous and fascinating theme is the role of the goddess and women in each religion. The authors are occasionally guilty of generalizations when trying to cover too long a period. Nevertheless, this work will satisfy those interested in a background for New Age spirituality. The bibliography is extensive, but the notes are sparse. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Clay Williams, Bluefield State Coll. Lib., W. Va.