Pagan scholar Caroline Tully has just posted a rare interview with historian Ronald Hutton, author of “The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft”, in which he takes the time to answer a recent resurgence of criticism regarding his work from within the Pagan community.
“I have no interest in contesting the claims of modern Pagans to represent a secretly surviving tradition, as long as the practitioners do not attack me or offer any actual historical evidence for scrutiny. If they do neither, then they are effectively standing outside history and are not the concern of a historian. I regularly read articles by contemporary witches, expounding one system or another which they say has been passed down through their family or their initiatory tradition for centuries, and offering no evidence to support this claim. They are no concern of mine, and it is open to others to believe or disbelieve them as they will. Gerald Gardner’s Wicca was, however, based on specific historical evidence, above all the early modern trials, and academic framework of interpretation of it, which were very much the business of historians.”
I encourage anyone with any interest in Hutton’s work to head over and read the entire thing. There’s really too much to easily summarize, and quite a bit of insightful commentary concerning history and modern Paganism. In addition, Hutton generously lays out his plans for future books that may be of interest to modern Pagans, including works on witchcraft, and Britain’s pagan heritage. Thanks to Caroline Tully at Necropolis Now for making this happen.