Five Kinds of “Witch” and Other Reflections on the Academic Study of Contemporary Paganism

Australian writer, blogger, and scholar Caroline Tully continues her interview with Professor Ronald Hutton on the history of witchcraft and related topics.

On the perceptions of conflict between scholars and practitioners:

When some Pagans now express hostility to academics, they are generally doing so in defence of ideas which were originally articulated by other academics. Most often, they are defending what was the general scholarly orthodoxy about historical witchcraft in the mid twentieth century, represented finally and most famously by Margaret Murray of the University of London. What bewilders and angers some members of the public most about professional scholarship now is not actually that it is entrenched and manufactures consent, but that it has overturned many of the received truths of previous decades. To challenge orthodoxy effectively is currently the fastest and most certain way to make an academic career, and the pace of argument and change can be bewildering for people on the outside who want stability and certainty, or at least to continue to believe what they were originally taught about something.

Read the rest.

The forthcoming issue of The Pomegranate will include Tully’s own article on this topic, and it should be available as a free download.

One thought on “Five Kinds of “Witch” and Other Reflections on the Academic Study of Contemporary Paganism

  1. Pitch313

    One of the challenges of being involved in a postmodern religious movement is to routinely apply postmodern outlooks and insights to the religious movement you are in, as it carries you along and provides you with spiritual rewards.

    For myself, I find that, trying to be postmodern about my Paganism, it helps to give more weight to practice and less weight to origins. And, st the same time, to learn more about the history of Paganism.

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