Book Series Studies and Texts , vol. 151

Pagan Survivals, Superstitions and Popular Cultures

in Early Medieval Pastoral Literature

Bernadette Filotas

  • Pages: 438 p.
  • Size:155 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2005


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  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-151-5
  • Hardback
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Summary

Is medieval pastoral literature an accurate reflection of actual beliefs and practices in the early medieval West or simply of literary conventions inherited by clerical writers? How and to what extent did Christianity and traditional pre-Christian beliefs and practices come into conflict, influence each other, and merge in popular culture?

This comprehensive study examines early medieval popular culture as it appears in ecclesiastical and secular law, sermons, penitentials and other pastoral works - a selective, skewed, but still illuminating record of the beliefs and practices of ordinary Christians. Concentrating on the period from ca. 500 to ca. 1000, this study presents the evidence for folk religious beliefs and piety, attitudes to nature and death, festivals, magic, drinking and alimentary customs. As such it provides a precious glimpse of the mutual adaptation of Christianity and traditional cultures at an important period of cultural and religious transition.