Magic, Mystery, and Science: The Occult in Western Civilization

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Indiana University Press, 2004 - Religion - 390 pages
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The triumph of science would appear to have routed all other explanations of reality. No longer does astrology or alchemy or magic have the power to explain the world to us. Yet at one time each of these systems of belief, like religion, helped shed light on what was dark to our understanding. Nor have the occult arts disappeared. We humans spend much of our time in darkness and in dreams, and though we may prefer solid ground beneath our feet, our need for mystery and a sense of the infinite remains. ""Magic, Mystery, and Science presents the occult as a ""third stream"" of belief, as important to the shaping of Western civilization as Greek rationalism or Judeo-Christianity. The history of the occult is intrinsically interesting, but it is also relevant to contemporary concerns, for modern culture never leaves behind as much of the past as one might suppose. The occult seeks explanations in a world that is living and intelligent--quite unlike the one supposed by science. By taking these beliefs seriously, while keeping an eye on science, this book aims to capture some of the power of the occult. Readers will discover that the occult has a long history that reaches back to Babylonia and ancient Egypt. It proceeds alongside, and frequently mingles with, religion and science. From the Egyptian Book of the Dead to New Age beliefs, from Plato to Adolf Hitler, occult ways of knowing have been used--and hideously abused--to explain a world that still tempts us with the knowledge of its dark secrets.

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Magic, mystery, and science: the occult in Western civilization

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In the past, humankind looked to the occult for answers to the world's mysteries, whereas today we usually look to science. But even in a world full of science, people embrace the New Age movement ... Read full review

Review: Magic, Mystery, and Science: The Occult in Western Civilization

User Review  - Janice Liedl - Goodreads

A sweeping survey of occult beliefs across western history. Not strictly chronological, not strictly thematic but interesting nonetheless and full of great leads for readers to follow outside the book ... Read full review



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About the author (2004)

David Grandy is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brigham Young University.

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