Magical Thinking: History, Possibility and the Idea of the Occult
Magic is usually defined as a non-modern phenomenon, contrasted with modern rationalism and science. However, the idea of magic has remained persistent in scholarly discourse throughout history from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment and beyond. This volume explores how the notion of magic is articulated and theorised in the writing of history. Departing from writing about magic in history, this volume addresses magic as it relates to the trajectories of intellectual history as a whole, with particular reference to a diverse series of case studies in thought about magic. The author also engages with the history and philosophy of science; operating within this framework, the author argues that magic has always been figured as medieval in the formulation of the discourses of modernity, and that thinking or writing about magic has engendered multiple epistemological crises. Through these controversies, the idea of magic and the occult has profoundly unsettled the understanding of history in Western culture. The resulting study is an investigation of the implications of magic (and the study of magic) for intellectual history.
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aesthetic Agamben alchemy anachronism angelology angels anthropology Aquinas associated Augustine Augustine’s belief book’s Boyle Boyle’s Bruno Latour century chapter Christian claim consider context critical culture Dawkins Dawkins’s dead deﬁned deﬁnition demons demonstration Derrida Descartes discourse divine early modern efﬁcacy episteme esotericism ethnographic exorcism experiment experimental science ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnd ﬁrst Frazer God Delusion Grimes historian historiographic history of magic Honorius of Thebes human humanistic Ibid idea Iewish mysticism inﬂuence intellectual Iohn Kabbalah Kieckhefer Kieckhefer’s kind Latour Lehrich magic and religion magician Mathiesen means mediation medieval Medieval Magic Merkabah metaphor methodological Middle Ages Muedans necromancy Neoplatonic occult Occult Mind philosophy political practice premodern problem question Radical Orthodoxy rationality reﬂection religion religious rhetoric rites ritology ritual magic ritual studies Robert Boyle scholars Scholem scientiﬁc sense signiﬁcant Skemer social Solomon speciﬁc study of magic superstition syncretism textual amulets theology theoretical theory things Thomas thought tradition University Winkelman Wittgenstein zazen