Hiya, Alferian! Small world, huh!
Yes, I may seem to be "too hard" on Hutton, but I believe it to be a necessary evil. Pagans are simply in desperate need for an erudite, and learned, counter-balance, to know that their pet-scholar is frequently in error (and that's being polite!).
For example, in an article Hutton wrote in Folklore III
, he states, "what Carlo Ginzburg has suggested is that some individuals accused of witchcraft in one district of Italy had vivid dreams in which they believed themselves to be leaving their bodies to do battle with witches for the good of the community." This is, purely, mendacious dishonesty; Hutton tends to repeat it over and over again, hoping it will eventually become fact. However, the truth of the matter is far different. What Prof. Ginzburg argues is that there are distinct parallels with the Calusari, who are most definitely engaging in actual, physical rituals. He also gives a few examples where Benandanti spoke of actually physically travelling. Finally, he's not talking about "vivid dreams" but ecstatic visions of an unusually intense nature. He also documents that both the Inquisition and the people themselves considered themselves to be part of an organized sect, and this parallels well with the Calusari. Furthermore, Ginzburg does show that there were clear pagan survivals in this area. But Hutton doesn't like this fact and so tries to rephrase Ginzburg as if his own scholarship couldn't speak for itself. Indeed, to apparently dismiss what Hutton cannot accept in Ginzburg, Hutton asserts that Ginzburg "generalizes too much". What the...??? Who DOESN'T "generalize too much"? And, why are British scholars somehow given a "get out of jail free" card when THEY generalize, but not when it's scholars from another country? This is just one of manye xamples of hypocricy.
Well, my problem with, for example, Stations
, is not that it questions what Pagans take for granted (that's, in fact, laudible!), but that he puts forth unsubstantiated expmainations as though it were empirical fact-- which it's not! A parallel can be drawn between Pro. Historians and Pri. Skeptics, as I have observed them. The Pro. Skeptic will say-- of course, they are already prejudiced-- that they have entirely debunked a proposed thesis because they were able to question it, regardless of the flimsy nature of the skeptic's arguments, even when far superior arguments have been levied for the contrary.
An example of such a schoalstically Pro. Skeptical agenda is beautifully exemplified by Mark Smith, re: Adonis being an evident Dying-and-Rising God. Smith bitches about the following statement:
"As a memorial of his [Adonis'] suffering [i.e. his death] each year, they beat their breasts, mourn and... sacrifice to Adonis as if to a dead person, but then, on the next day, they proclaim that he lives and send him into the air" [Plutarch]. However, Smith states, oh-so-matter-of-factly that "the passage is hardly clear," and anyway other "rituals accentuate Adonis's death, there is no hint of rebirth." [Mark Smith, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, 2001, page 116]. Oh, puh-leeze! Who's he trying to b.s.?
Now, don't get me started about sanctamonious scholars! LOL... They are the worse, and I accuse Hutton of being such. Honestly, I don't trust Hutton's conclusions, and that is what I refuse to acknowledge in his books. The dates he supplies, for example, is generally good. But, his books are too-fileld with errors to be of any good use at all. Far too much of his texts are simple wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG!
I guess my biggest pet peeve is when I see folks unequivocally endorsing his texts without the slightest qualifying statement. Pagans, for the msot part, are npotorious at this. They accept all of his condlusions, and his ubsubstantoiated claims, as though they were fact. And, this is simply tragic. It's simply heart-breaking!
Also, Hutton can say "We don't really know" all he likes, however, he should not ommit his clearly subjective techniques from the mix. He out and out refuses to acknowledge researchers and scholars that differ in opinion to him; hence, he refuses to "balance the equasion" and his books simply cannot be taken to be an objective historiography in the least. Rather, they are works of polemics. I, personally, maintain this. It's when Hutton begins to state only one view that I begin to exclaim, "Oh, comne on, now, who are you trying to B.S.?"
Now, as for Hutton's conclusions, there's plenty of evidence-- he just refuses to acknowledge it (as well as other scholars that happen to notice it, too) in any way. But, a lot of his literature tends to draw firm conclusions from very limited research and evidence that don't take into account differing scholastic opinions and research.
Yet, none of this should be taken to imply that I find NO value in his books, but that he's made it harder for me, as a researcher, to grasp what REALLY may have been going on, and that I simply have to read those scholars that he negates for pedantic reasons to come to my own informed conclusions that are worth just as much as his. I know his intentions were good, but he's further muddied the waters, as a result (particularly in the minds of the modern Pagan).
Oh, and I wish I knew fluent french and German, so I could make use of an academic book on The Morrighan for a thesis of mine that's in both French and German...why it's apparently in two languages, with brief phrases in English, I have no idea!
However, as for continental European scholars, I know of no sites of articles in English, but they have had works translated in English, so I would recommend books by the following, as an initial investigation:
Phylis Siefker, Eva Pocs, Claude Lecouteuz [Prof. of Medieval Studies at the Sorbonne], Carlo Ginzburg, Philipe Walter, and Gabor Klaniczay, etc. None of these European schoplars have, to my knowledge, mentioned or cited Ronald Hutton or British academia as i differentiates from European scholars, etc.
Blessed be this Queen on high who is holy to all who come to Her.