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Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2007 (2006)

Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2In several regards this German publication is like the Tyr Journal. An anual publication with three issues available in the form of a 450 page well-printed book with essays of different authors about paganism and related subjects and book and music reviews at the end. Those are the similarities, because there are of course more differences. The nice thing about the Heidnisches Jahrbuch is that is deals with contemporary paganism and its problems. No investigations of archeological evidence and myths to contruct a theory, but writings about how pagans of today can fill in their faith and practises. However the Jahrbuch does not come from a certain organisation, the authors seem to agree on two points: paganism is polytheistic and paganism is democratic. I personally disagree with both which makes it ‘difficult’ to follow reasonings here and there. The first article About the reception of germanic neopaganism in Germany nowadays is a nice piece about how different media report about paganism. Of course they display a lot of ignorance and prejudice. A critical article follows about the fact that people say: “but the Eddas say…”, while Kurt Oertel displays how flawed our sources and their translations are. For the rest: textual investigations, modern runestones, Frau Percht and the Perchten-movements that are popular today, headhunters; a whole range of subjects pass. The interpretation is often very philosophical or scholarly. One subject that one of course cannot avoid when talking about contemporary paganism is the link with conservative politics. The last and longest article takes about 80 pages to distinguish “völkische esoterik” from “germanic heathenry”. Pages and pages are filled with the history of prenazi “völkish” groups, antisemitism, racism all to prove that the supposed ‘pagan’ ideas of people from the past and present with these ideas are in fact Christian with a pagan varnish and not the least bit based on a polytheistic religion.
Heidnisches Jahrbuch 2007 was a nice read. There should be more publications about contemporary paganism, so I support the initiative. I have not seen the other two volumes of this publication yet, so maybe it was just this issue, but all three Heidnisches Jahrbücher are well available (through for example), so if you can read German and are prepared to pay a relatively high price for a publication like this, these series could be something for you.
2009 verlag daniel junker, isbn 9783938432068

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