Occult Sciences: The Philosophy of Magic, Prodigies and Apparent Miracles
This examination of the connection between the belief in miracles and religious practices in ancient times was originally written by French politician and polymath Anne-Joseph-Eusèbe Baconnière de Salverte (1771-1839) and published in 1829. In 1846, it was translated into English by a Scottish physician and writer, Anthony Todd Thomson (1778-1849), and published in two volumes. Thomson explains that Salverte's work was an important study of miracles and the power of priests, and he had 'performed a beneficial service in throwing open the gates of ancient sanctuaries'. However, Thomson also states that he differed from Salverte over the idea of the miraculous, and that he had expunged or heavily edited any passages relating to Christianity, even changing 'miracles' in the original subtitle to 'apparent miracles'. Volume 1 begins with a consideration of human credulity before discussing magic in the ancient world, and offering explanations for supernatural phenomena.
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absurd Aelian ancient animals apparent miracles apparitions appear artiﬁce ascribed assertion believe blood body cause century Christian Cicero colour conﬁdence conﬁned conﬁrmed credulity Crocodile Damascius death displayed divine doubt earth Egypt Egyptian employed excited existence eyes fable fact favour feet ﬁgurative ﬁgure ﬁlled ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂames ﬂowed genii Gods Greece Greeks head Hindoo Hindostan Hist honour Iamblichus ignorant imposture inﬂuence invented jugglers knowledge Magi Magic magicians marvellous mysteries nature observed Occult Occult Science Odin odour opinion oracles ordeal origin Pausanias period philosopher Phrygia Plin Plutarch Polytheism possessed preserved pretended priests probably prodigies Pythagoras received reﬂecting regarded religion religious rendered reptiles resemblance Roman sacred sacriﬁces Saint Salverte says secret serpents similar Solinus sorcerers spirit stone suﬁicient supernatural superstition supposed Telchines temples Thaumaturgists tion traditions truth Varro ventriloquism Voyage wonders worship Zoroaster