Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context

Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context
by Karen Louise Jolly

Elf Charms in Context

I’m pleasantly surprised by this book. From excerpts I knew she would be discussing the grey zone between liturgical, sacramental, material Christian blessings and prayers, and frankly pagan magical beliefs. But I hadn’t anticipated the historical breadth of vision and the cultural and ecclesiological perspective she brings to the topic. This is not just a book about elf charms in context, it’s actually a very readable overview of the state of the Church before the Norman conquest. She addresses the political and ecclesiastical complications that Germanic property laws and private chapel ownership imposed on the clergy of the period.

The author draws on the episcopal counsels and sermons of Anglo-Saxon bishops, especially Wulfstan and Aelfric.

This book would be especially profitable when read together with Benedicta Ward’s excellent High King Of Heaven: Aspects of Early English Spirituality, which discusses spiritual and pastoral issues of the early Irish and Latin mission to the Anglo-Saxons.

Author: Father Silouan Thompson

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