Exploring the beliefs of English people during the fifth to ninth centuries

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Anglo-Saxon Twilight
is currently sponsored by
Heart of Albion Press
 
publishers of Bill Griffiths'
User Friendly Dictionary of Old English
 


A brief overview of Twilight

The in-depth articles which make up this Anglo-Saxon Twilight website have a number of overlapping themes:
  • popularising current academic thinking;
  • drawing attention to the more profound weaknesses with older thinking;
  • identifying what can be sensibly said about deities and religion in fifth to ninth century England;
  • looking at the 'underlying' worldviews which underpin more consciously held beliefs;
  • looking at the continuity of such worldviews across the supposed divide between pre- and post-conversion religion.
Some of the ideas which support this continuity of worldviews include:
  • concepts of deities and kings which have their roots in much older ideas of sovereignty;
  • the importance of female tutelary spirits who protect the sovereign's land and clan;
  • the slow transition from 'gods who walk the Earth' (immanent pantheism) to 'God who lives in Heaven' (transcendent monotheism);
  • the notion of numina which persists in such words as læc, wod, and potentia;
  • images which seemingly appeared on pre-conversion 'idols' (the weohs and stapols) and also on Christian crosses and even gargoyles and other grotesques.
Yes, I know most of these terms and words will be as clear as mud to many readers. Bear with me – this is ony the briefest of overviews and I do explain such 'technical terminology' in the relevamt articles.

Because these ideas and themes run throughout almost all the articles, the greatest problem has been to try to break them up into fairly self-contained pages. So be prepared to see frequent links between articles, especially when any of these topics are touched upon. I have tried to present the in-depth articles in an order which makes greatest sense when read from beginning to end. But, inevitably, there are a few places where I 'get ahead of myself' (although providing the necessary links). But feel free to jump in where it seems most interesting – the links should, I hope, show where some of the really key ideas have been discussed.

 

copyright © Bob Trubshaw 2013

 


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