Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Ritual Abuse in History

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Princeton University Press, 2006 - History - 286 pages
2 Reviews

In the 1980s, America was gripped by widespread panics about Satanic cults. Conspiracy theories abounded about groups who were allegedly abusing children in day-care centers, impregnating girls for infant sacrifice, brainwashing adults, and even controlling the highest levels of government. As historian of religions David Frankfurter listened to these sinister theories, it occurred to him how strikingly similar they were to those that swept parts of the early Christian world, early modern Europe, and postcolonial Africa. He began to investigate the social and psychological patterns that give rise to these myths. Thus was born Evil Incarnate, a riveting analysis of the mythology of evilconspiracy.


The first work to provide an in-depth analysis of the topic, the book uses anthropology, the history of religion, sociology, and psychoanalytic theory, to answer the questions "What causes people collectively to envision evil and seek to exterminate it?" and "Why does the representation of evil recur in such typical patterns?"


Frankfurter guides the reader through such diverse subjects as witch-hunting, the origins of demonology, cannibalism, and the rumors of Jewish ritual murder, demonstrating how societies have long expanded upon their fears of such atrocities to address a collective anxiety. Thus, he maintains, panics over modern-day infant sacrifice are really not so different from rumors about early Christians engaging in infant feasts during the second and third centuries in Rome.



In Evil Incarnate, Frankfurter deepens historical awareness that stories of Satanic atrocities are both inventions of the mind and perennial phenomena, not authentic criminal events. True evil, as he so artfully demonstrates, is not something organized and corrupting, but rather a social construction that inspires people to brutal acts in the name of moral order.


 

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Not recommended. A very biased book from a very biased researcher. Ritual abuse crimes did and still do occur.
More accurate sources:
An Empirical Look at the Ritual Abuse Controversy
http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/an-empirical-look-at-the-ritual-abuse-controversy-randy-noblitt-phd/
List of references on SRA
http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/studies/satanic-ritual-abuse-evidence-with-information-on-the-mcmartin-preschool-case/
 

Contents

Introduction
1
Sorting Out Resemblances
4
Circumstances for Imagining Evil
6
Evil in the Perspective of This Book
9
An Architecture for Chaos The Nature and Function of Demonology
13
Demonology Lists and Temples
15
Demonology among Scribes and Ritual Experts
19
Conclusions
26
Ritual as a Point of Danger
101
The Implications of Evil Rites
119
Imputations of Perversion
129
Constructing the Monstrous
136
Conclusions
158
The Performance of Evil
168
Performance and Demonic Realms
169
Direct Mimetic Performance
179

3 Experts in the Identification of Evil
31
Prophets Exorcists and the Popular Reception of Demonology
33
Charisma in the Discernment of Evil
37
The Possessed as Discerners of Evil
48
Secular and Religious
53
Expertise and the Depiction of Satanic Conspiracy
69
Rites of Evil Constructions of Maleficent Religion and Ritual
73
Ritual as a Point of Otherness
76
Ritual and the Monstrous Realm
85
Indirect Mimetic Performance
188
Direct Mimetic Parody
198
Conclusions
203
Mobilizing against Evil
208
Matters of Fact and Fantasy
212
Notes
225
Select Bibliography
259
Index
281
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

David Frankfurter is Professor of Religious Studies and HistDavid Frankfurter is Professor of Religious Studies and History at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of ory at the University of New Hampshire. He is the author of the acclaimed "Religion in Roman Egypt" (Princeton), which wthe acclaimed "Religion in Roman Egypt" (Princeton), which won the 1999 award for excellence in the historical study of on the 1999 award for excellence in the historical study of religion from the American Academy of Religion. religion from the American Academy of Religion.

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