Understanding Celtic Religion
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Understanding Celtic Religion

Revisiting the Pagan Past
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Katja Ritari
New Approaches to Celtic Religion and Mythology
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This interdisciplinary collection offers a critical reevaluation of the nature of ‘Celtic religion’. Its case studies serve to bring to the fore particular problems related to individual genres.

Although it has long been acknowledged that the early Irish literary corpus preserves both pre-Christian and Christian elements, the challenges involved in the understanding of these different strata have not been subjected to critical examination. This volume draws attention to the importance of reconsidering the relationship between religion and mythology, as well as the concept of ‘Celtic religion’ itself. When scholars are attempting to construct the so-called ‘Celtic’ belief system, what counts as ‘religion’? Or, when labelling something as ‘religion’ as opposed to ‘mythology’, what do these entities entail? This volume is the first interdisciplinary collection of articles which critically reevaluates the methodological challenges of the study of ‘Celtic religion’; the authors are eminent scholars in the field of Celtic Studies representing the disciplines of theology, literary studies, history, law and archaeology, and the book represents a significant contribution to the present scholarly debate concerning the pre-Christian elements in early medieval source materials.

1 Introduction: ‘Celtic Religion’: Is this a Valid Concept?Alexandra Bergholm and Katja Ritari
2 Celtic Spells and Counterspells
Jacqueline Borsje
3 The Gods of Ireland in the Later Middle Ages
John Carey
4 Staging the Otherworld in Medieval Irish Literature
Joseph Falaky Nagy
5 The Biblical Dimension of Early Medieval Latin Texts
Thomas O’Loughlin
6 Ancient Irish Law Revisited: Rereading the Laws of Status and Franchise
Robin Chapman Stacey
7 A Dirty Window on the Iron Age? Recent Developments in the Archaeology of Pre-Roman Celtic Religion
Jane Webster