Here is part I that some of you still are missing - I'll save Ray the trouble.
>as the Part 1 of my Celtic Religion mails obviously really got lost
>in Cyberspace, I'll forward a copy of it to the list. If someone from
>you already got it, I'm sorry, but as more than 10 seem to not have
>got part 1 I assume that no one got it.
>------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
>From: Self <a8700035>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Celtic Religion - what information do we really have
>Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 10:54:40
>as the matter of Celtic religion turned up in short mentionings
>during the last week once in a while, and as it was normally added
>how little we really know, I think I'll be starting a new thread
>about what we really know about Celtic religion, or better, what
>information we actually do have and how this could be interpreted.
>In fact, we have only very little on the one hand, but if one looks
>closer at it, this is already quite a lot (and probably as much as we
>know about a lot of other religions as well, at least if one does not
>look at the details of those other religions).
>To begin with, lets first look at the sources available to us:
>There are quite numerous sources available, contrary to the usual
>belief that there is almost nothing actually there.
>First, there are the archaeological sources. These are the only
>direct source for the prehistoric part of the religiion we are
>talking about. The main elements we find here are sacred sites (being
>as well designed cult centres with a certain layout like the
>"Viereckschanzen" are, as there are "natural" places which were used
>to deposit offerings) and the findings and objects that came down on
>us (including as well bog bodies as graves, the objects found in
>ritual deposits and depictions of gods, most of which are from the
>time of the Roman occupation but which still tell us something about the
>Second, there are the epigraphic sources, i.e. inscriptions. Most of
>those are from the time of the Roman occupation and as such their use
>is partly limited, however, some are autochtonous and preroman
>(mainly such from Southern Gaul and Spain).
>Third, there are the historical sources from the diverse Roman
>authors. Although these are often biased due to the author writing,
>his knowledge, his political or other interests, the audience which
>he was targeting his writings at and other influences as later
>interpolations, they give us more or less first hand information (at
>least almost contemporary information).
>Fourth, we have the Insular literature, including early
>British histories (like those of Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth),
>sociopolitical geographies like those of Giraldus Cambrensis as well
>as Irish and Welsh tales. These sources are useable to get hints at
>how to reconstruct earlier religious concepts as well as to how
>Celtic religion might have looked in the Celtic countries not
>conquered by Rome during the first few centuries AD.
>Fifth, we have the folk traditions in the countries which still are
>"Celtic". Even though heavily christianised, many a "pagan" deity of
>belief shows through these traditions, and as such these can be used
>to reconstruct missing parts as well.
>These sources can be analysed and are additionally added by results
>of such fields as linguistics, comparative IE studies, comparative
>religious studies and general history, which all help by providing
>explanational possibilities and construction and development models
>Now, having listed the possible sources this leaves me with the
>question: Where to start a description of pagan Celtic religion.
>I`ll give you a number of possible starting points (use this as a
>multiple choice test if you like)
>a) One could start with the gods and what we know about them,
>proceeding towards the rituals we know of and to the religious
>functions we know.
>b) One could start with the organistation of Celtic religion (i.e.
>with the diverse religious functions), and then turning towards the
>beliefs and to what gods there were.
>c) One could start with looking at the remenants we have and from
>there proceed to explain those one after another, and then try to tie
>this together to a overall picture.
>d) whichever approach else you'd prefer:
Sheri Nakken, R.N., MA, Director, PO Box 1563, Nevada City CA 95959 USA
Phone 916-478-1242 Fax (916) 478-1572 email - [log in to unmask]
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