Ancora su The Druids (2007) di Ronald Hutton

(via The Wild Hunt)

Lo scorso 13 maggio il quotidiano britannico The Indipendent, con un articolo di Gary Lachman, ha segnalato l’ultimo volume di Ronald Hutton (di cui avevo già parlato qui):

[…] The Druids, like his earlier work, explores the notion of “invented tradition”; something, he writes, “that relies upon an original foundation myth that has subsequently been disproved but has made itself worthy of respect in its own right.” Both wicca and neo-paganism fall into this camp, their claims to ancient lineage being undermined while their significance as post-modern religions is celebrated in his brilliant Triumph of the Moon.

Predictably, Hutton finds himself defending his position on two fronts. Neo-pagans, clinging to the notion that their beliefs are part of an ancient nature religion, and radical feminists upholding the idea of a primeval matriarchal society (which Hutton finds “rather delightful”), scorn Hutton’s refreshingly cheerful acceptance that there seems little evidence for either of these. And his less unbuttoned colleagues shake their heads at his optimism about Druidry and other “alternative spiritualities” as valid contemporary religions. He has a very pragmatic, creative attitude, recognising that factual error can still produce beneficial results. We may not be able to “get it right”, about the Druids and other people of the past, but “we can look upon the past and how it works for us, and call upon it in order to make the future”.

L’articolo completo è leggibile qui.

Nuovo libro di Ronald Hutton: The Druids (2007)

Fra le sua varie pubblicazioni, Ronald Hutton, professore di storia alla Bristol University, ha dedicato volumi assai interessanti alla storia del calendario rituale nel Regno Unito (The Stations of the Sun. A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1996) e alla storia del paganesimo contemporaneo (il pioneristico The Triumph of the Moon. A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1999; si vedano anche i saggi in argomento nell’antologia Witches, Druids and King Arthur (London, UK: Hambledon and London, 2003)).

Lo scorso marzo ha pubblicato il primo volume dei due che intende dedicare ai druidi. Si tratta di

Hutton, Ronald (2007). The Druids. London: Hambledon Continuum.

che mi è arrivato ieri.

Ecco la seconda di copertina:

Ronald Hutton’s latest book is the first comprehensive study of what people have thought about the ancient Druids and why. Written in a racy and accessible style, it is essential reading for everyone interested in exploring our mysterious past.

Most books written on the Druids hitherto have been by archaeologists specialising in the Iron Age, who have occupied a great deal of space trying to find things to say about the ‘original’ ancient priesthood. Most have then devoted a final section of their books to people who have called themselves Druids since 1700 – until recently with contemptuous dismissal. Hutton’s contention is that the sources for the ancient Druids are so few and unreliable that almost nothing certain can be said about them. Instead, he reverses the traditional balance of interest to look at the many ways in which Druids have been imagined in Britain since 1500, and what this tells us about modern and early modern society. In the process, he achieves many new insights into the development of British national identities, established and ‘alternative’ religions, literary culture, fraternal organisation and protest movements. He also suggests new ways in which the discipline of archaeology can be perceived – which will delight some practitioners and enrage others.