(urth) Thecla's "Identity"

Ross Arlen Tieken ross.a.tieken at gmail.com
Thu Apr 11 07:33:28 PDT 2013

AH. Well. Although that book is fascinating, let's just say it's not  
very... respected.
It argues that all of these crazy beliefs and weirdness stem from  
economic/social phenomenon. He uses the witch trials as an example,  
but the witch trials he presents are so utterly unhistorical it's  
hilarious (I have kept the book on my shelf for that very reason).

Harris' perspective is what we fight against in the Rice Religious  
Studies department. Weird stuff in history--is actually just weird  

And you're welcome! Seriously, you guys are a more friendly scholarly  
community than I've ever experienced in the actual academy.


On Apr 11, 2013, at 6:54 AM, Lee Berman wrote:

>> Ross Arlen Tieken: Magical practices, belief in dwarves and  
>> fairies, and strange rituals that
>> have nothing to do with Christianity lasted until very late, and  
>> were only really stamped out
>> by the enterprising nature of mercantilism and Protestantism that  
>> really exorcised anything Pagan.
> Thanks for that post and perspective, Ross.
> My own introduction to paganism came from a 70's pop anthropology  
> book by Marvin Harris called
> Pigs, Cows, Wars and Witches. It is pretty interesting  and there is  
> a section on pagan
> witch cults and how bacchanalic groups of medieval/renaissance era  
> European women would sneak
> out into the woods, often with a goat-headed Pan-inspired male  
> leader, and apply an extract of
> atropine to their genitals (application often with a broomstick),  
> and receive hallucinations of
> flight and intercourse with demons.  A few scenes in BotNS echo  
> this. The book also explored the
> economic benefits of witch hunting, as the hunters and inquisitor  
> panels granted themselves the
> privilege of confiscating the property of anyone they found guilty.  
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