Pagan Goddesses in the Early Germanic World

Eostre, Hreda and the Cult of Matrons

Studies in Early Medieval History

Philip A. Shaw

128 Blz., ISBN 978 0 7156 3797 5     
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011     

In this book Philip A. Shaw considers evidence for Germanic goddesses in England and on the Continent, arguing on the basis of linguistic and onomastic evidence that modern scholarship has tended to focus too heavily on the notion of divine functions of spheres of activity, such as fertility or warfare, rather than considering the extent to which goddesses are rooted in localities and social structures. Such local religious manifestations are, he suggests, more important to Germanic paganisms than is often supposed, and should caution us against assumptions of pan-Germanic traditional beliefs.
Pagan Goddesses is also a readable introduction to some ways in which linguistic evidence can be brought to bear on historical issues. Linguistic and onomastic evidence is not always well integrated into discussions of historical developments in the early Middle Ages. This book provides both an introduction to the models and methods employed thoughout, and a model for further research into the linguistic evidence for traditional beliefs among the Germanic speaking communities of early medieval Europe.

Philip A. Shaw is Lecturer in English Language and Old English, University of Leicester.

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