Persistence in Europe and Its Surround of the Pagan Cleric-Smith Tradition in the Christian Age
CitationKelly, Shaun B. 2016. Persistence in Europe and Its Surround of the Pagan Cleric-Smith Tradition in the Christian Age. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis study examines the continuation in European Christian society of magical-religious traditions previously associated with pagan gods of the forge. What was the importance of the forge god in the pantheons of worship? What were the roles of the blacksmith as a representative of these pagan gods in those diverse societies? How did the arrival of Christianity, both as a faith and in its role as a function of the Roman Empire in decline, redefine that status quo? What elements of the forge gods and their cleric-smith agents were integrated into Christianity? What beliefs and practices endured in the folklore and superstitions of European Middle Age society? How did such beliefs fall into decline in the Age of Industry? Contemporary sources including hagiographies, commentaries, and chronicles supplemented by modern analysis and research support a parallel continuance of the smith’s power. The first continuance is in the syncretism of pagan elements of the forge in the Saints of Catholicism, whose appointments as patrons of the smith and related crafts gave them the powers of the forge gods in sanctioned form. The second continuance is in a hodgepodge of curatives, protective charms, and divinatory rituals cobbled together from surviving fragmented pagan worship and cosmology, blended into folk beliefs and Catholic dogma by a largely illiterate and superstitious society. Both avenues of persistence would see a decline with that of the blacksmith’s trade in the nineteenth century.
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