Early Medieval Europe, 15.4 (2007)
Generations of scholars have looked for evidence of ‘paganism’ in continental sources from the eighth and ninth centuries. This paper surveys some of the key problems in deﬁning and conceptualizing the available literary evidence for such a project. Part one argues for a return to the sources to help escape the intellectual baggage created by discussions of ‘pan-Germanic paganism’, interpretatio Romana and, more recently, folk practices. From the perspective of the sources’ producers, paganism needs to be understood as a category of difference employed to provide a better deﬁnition of Christianity itself. In part two this line of thought is pursued through a brief study of the ways in which classical learning framed not only Carolingian attitudes to paganism, but also related strategies of moralizing.