I recently began Karen Jolly’s Popular Religion in Late Anglo-Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context and found myself starting to make some changes to a previous post, Elfshot, medicine, and changing belief systems. I’m a novelist, I rewrite all the time. It’s a reflex. But it occurred to me (belatedly) that blog posts are not fiction. By the time I’d realised this, though, I’d saved the changes and now I can’t remember what I did, exactly. They were minor, though. (For example, I changed “Anglo-Saxons” to “early Anglo-Saxons” in one place, and later added a sentence differentiating Anglo-Saxon Christianity from Germanic polytheism. I also added a phrase and changed a sentence into a one-line paragraph, “Without the Church, too, we’d have different placebos and nocebos.”) However, it’s important to acknowledge them. I’ve just gone back and made a note to that effect on the post.
Once I’ve read Jolly all the way through, I may need to rewrite the post more substantially. I’m not sure. Sadly, I won’t be sure for a while. My inter-library loan ran out before I’d got more than a quarter of the way through the book and had to return it.
It seems to me, from the bit I did manage, that Jolly’s essential thesis is that the flow of ideas/conversion went two ways: not simply Roman Christian belief/culture (I’m eliding a whole thread of discussion here for the sake of brevity) altering Germanic Anglo-Saxon belief/culture, but Germanic belief/culture also influencing Christian belief/culture. This is a much more elegant way of saying part of what I was trying to say, and it would be interesting to reconsider my post in that light.
As I say, one day…