Religion, Science and Magic

Religion, Science and Magic : In Concert and in Conflict

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This is a collection of contributed papers arising from a conference held at Brown University in 1987. Every culture makes the distinction between "true religion" and magic. One action and its result are termed "miraculous", while another is rejected as the work of the devil. The 10 essays in this book examine the history of this distinction in Christianity and Judaism. Their underlying premise is that by understanding how a social group sorts out approved from disapproved practices and beliefs we gain insight into that group's mode of self-definition. One significant recurring theme is that "magic" is the insider's term for the outsider's religion. Social, cultural and anthropological explanations are advanced for the prominence of the magical in certain periods. There are some broad theoretical essays as well as in-depth studies of magic in particular literatures and periods. Among the contributors are Jacob Neusner, Hans Penner, Howard Kee, Tzvi Abusch, Susan R. Garrett and Moshe Idel. Topics considered include Babylonian witchcraft, Jesus the Magician, magic in Hasidism and the Kabbalah, and magic in Anglo-Saxon England.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 306 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.36 x 30.48mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3 line drawings
  • 0195056035
  • 9780195056037

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