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The Lost Gods Of England * Brian Branston (1957)

The Lost Gods Of EnglandSo I decided to look for non-Scandinavian sources about the prechristian faith, since I want to learn more about the faith of the region that I live in. There appears to be quite some books about Anglo-Saxon heathenry and this book has a very promising title. The book is of 1957 and is not particularly good. There is quite a bit of information about place-names in England, quotes from Anglo-Saxon poetry, etc. but for the larger part, Branston took the Icelandic sources to find similarities in mostly Anglo-Saxon texts, such as (of course) Beowulf or the charms. This way he finds Woden, Thunor and Frigg, references to Balder, he speaks about the beginning of the world and the end, etc. The first part is nice information about what he had been able to find about “who were the English” and “old English heathenism”, but the larger part of the book thrives a bit too heavily Scandinavian sources. What is more, the author has some theories that he needs to force onto the reader. One such theory is that the “Allfather” was originally not Odin, but the skygod Tyr and he even manages to place Tyr in Odin’s place where an eye is offered in Mimir’s well in exchange for wisdom. Towards the ends he keeps rattling on about the original matriarchal religion of old, having nothing to do with “Balder into Christ”, the title of the chapter. Conclusion: The Lost Gods Of England is not a boring read and it has some of the information that I am looking for, but I hope to run into some better books.
Note: this book does not have to be expensive to buy second hand, but I noticed that some sellers ask outrageous prices for the later printings. If you want to get the book, look around a bit and compare prices before you buy it.
1957 Thames and Hudson, no isbn in my copy

5 thoughts on “The Lost Gods Of England * Brian Branston (1957)”

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