Slovanské Pohanství ve středověkých latinských pramenech, vybral, přeložil, úvodem a poznámkami opatřil Jiří Dynda, Praha: Scriptorium, 2017, 365 p. ISBN 978-80-88013-52-5

Marius Ščavinskas
2018 Lithuanian Historical Studies  
Ever since the institutionalisation of history as a discipline, pre-Christian European culture, the Christianisation process, and the transformation in the value systems it provoked in society, have fascinated researchers of Medieval culture. There is no doubt that issues of the relationship between paganism and Christianity, and paganism as an object of religious and mythological research, depend on the sources to hand, and on the existing historiographical material. As a result, paying
more » ... sult, paying attention to primary sources is a determining factor when constructing an image of paganism in historiography and in society. In the 18th and 19th centuries, for various reasons, the approach towards paganism depended more on the idea of how sources should be read, rather than their straightforward reading. This approach was due to the a priori belief that Medieval sources which described paganism, the Christianisation process, and the transformation of the value system in society, were not 'lying' per se, since the authors of these sources presented the known information 'correctly'. There is another side to this approach: European salon culture looked on paganism first of all as an ancient religion, presenting it as a part of Greek-Roman literature. Sixteenth to 18th-century 'closet' historiographers claimed that they could see paganism thriving, albeit in a different form, having been reincarnated as common piety, although in its content it was still quite close to the paganism of earlier times which flourished before the beginning of Christianisation. Nineteenth-century Romantics saw paganism as a primal religion 'unspoiled' by civilisation, which ended up being covered over by a thick layer of Christian culture. They imagined that, after brushing off the accumulated baggage, the 'primeval beauty' and the 'primeval truth' of paganism could be appreciated. This optimistic attitude towards the source determined optimistic attitudes towards paganism itself. Even though later sources that described paganism had the same critical criteria applied to them, the belief remained that these kinds of sources contained a pagan 'rationality'. Just how this 'rationality' was perceived by various people is a separate topic. In any case, it was understood that being familiar with sources was an inseparable part of analysing paganism. In fact, modern ethnographers (at least in Lithuania), claiming to analyse the 'spiritual' layers of the nation, and therefore the pre-Christian religion as well, have LITHUANIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES 22 2018
doi:10.30965/25386565-02201010 fatcat:bv65stm4kra33pjtxfz2pcname