Biblical and Pagan Societies

Biblical and Pagan Societies

Paperback Witchcraft and Magic in Europe (Paperback)

By (author) Fredrick Cryer, By (author) Marie-Louise Thomsen, By (author) Bengt Ankarloo, By (author) Stuart Clark, Edited by Bengt Ankarloo, Edited by Stuart Clark

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  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Format: Paperback | 152 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 229mm x 15mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 1 January 2002
  • Publication City/Country: Pennsylvania
  • ISBN 10: 0812217853
  • ISBN 13: 9780812217858
  • Illustrations note: 1, black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,169,280

Product description

In the ancient Near East, the art of influencing the natural course of events by means of spells and other ritual forms was universal. The social and political role of magic is apparent, too, in the competition to achieve precedence over rival systems of ritual practice and belief. Within a region filled with petty kingdoms competing for power, the Jews of ancient Palestine maintained control over adherents by developing distinct ritual practices and condemning as heretical those of nearby cults. Texts from Mesopotamia reveal a striking number of incantations, rituals, and medical recipes against witchcraft, attesting to a profound fear of being bewitched. Magical rituals were also used to maintain harmony between the human and divine realms. The roots of European witchcraft and magic lie in Hebrew and other ancient Near Eastern cultures and in the Celtic, Nordic, and Germanic traditions of the continent. For two millennia, European folklore and ritual have been imbued with the belief in the supernatural, yielding a rich trove of histories and images. Witchcraft and Magic in Europe combines the traditional approaches of political, legal, and social historians with a critical synthesis of cultural anthropology, historical psychology, and gender studies. The series, complete in six volumes, provides a modern, scholarly survey of the supernatural beliefs of Europeans from ancient times to the present day. Each volume of this ambitious six-volume series contains the work of distinguished scholars chosen for their expertise in a particular era or region.

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Author information

Bengt Ankarloo is Professor of History at Lund University, Sweden. Stuart Clark is Professor of History at the University of Wales, Swansea.

Review quote

Praise for the series: "An exceptional historical and social analysis of a subject of enduring interest."-Library Journal "Although intended mainly for scholars, there is much to interest the common reader."-New Yorker "A modern scholarly survey of a wide variety of beliefs and practices from ancient times to the present."-Theology Digest

Table of contents

Witchcraft and Magic in Ancient Mesopotamia -Marie-Louise Thomsen Magic in Ancient Syria-Palestine and in the Old Testament -Frederick H. Cryer