Saturday, 18 July 2009

On the Beliefs of the Greeks

At the conference in Vienna I was made aware of a few books that I did not know. One of them is On the Beliefs of the Greeks: Leo Allatios and Popular Orthodoxy by Karen Hartnup published by Brill in 2004. It is unfortunately pretty expensive (£119.70 on amazon), and there is no copy in any Danish library, so I have yet to take a closer look at it. There is, however, a lengthy excerpt on Google Books to whet your appetite.

'This book deals with popular Orthodoxy during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, approaching the material from a historical and anthropological perspective. The discussion takes as its starting point a letter of Leo Allatios, the seventeenth-century author and scriptor of the Vatican Library. The early chapters of the book focus on Allatios and the western intellectual background in which the work was written, while later chapters consider popular beliefs and practices surrounding childstealing demons, revenants, spirits of place and popular healing.
This book provides the first detailed treatment of a major source for post Byzantine popular Orthodoxy, offering valuable insights into the relationships between laity and clergy, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, religion and natural philosophy during the seventeenth century.'

The letter is the De Graecorum hodie quorandorum opinationibus by Leo Allatios (Leone Allacci) mentioned in several books on vampires and Greek revenants.

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