Show Summary Details

p. 845. Embracing the pagan pastlocked

  • Owen Davies

Abstract

Though the Renaissance involved the intellectual embrace of pagan antiquity, ‘Embracing the pagan past’ argues there was no revival of pre-Christian forms of worship. 18th-century Romanticism encapsulated a renewed artistic and aesthetic fascination with the classical pagan world. In the 19th century, evolutionary theory gave a new significance to the ‘pagan’ beliefs and practices found overseas. Inspired by the comparative approach and the theory of survivals, ‘myth-ritualists’ such as Frazer believed in an inextricable link between ancient myths and primitive rituals — usually sacrificial ones. Michelet argued that those accused of and executed for witchcraft in medieval and early modern Europe were the persecuted representatives of a female pagan fertility cult.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.