Routledge – 2013 – 288 pages
Magic has been an important term in Western history and continues to be an essential topic in the modern academic study of religion, anthropology, sociology, and cultural history. Defining Magic is the first volume to assemble key texts that aim at determining the nature of magic, establish its boundaries and key features, and explain its working. The reader brings together seminal writings from antiquity to today. The texts have been selected on the strength of their success in defining magic as a category, their impact on future scholarship, and their originality. The writings are divided into chronological sections and each essay is separately introduced for student readers. Together, these texts - from Philosophy, Theology, Religious Studies, and Anthropology - reveal the breadth of critical approaches and responses to defining what is magic. CONTRIBUTORS: Aquinas, Augustine, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Dennis Diderot, Emile Durkheim, Edward Evans-Pritchard, James Frazer, Susan Greenwood, Robin Horton, Edmund Leach, Gerardus van der Leeuw, Christopher Lehrich, Bronislaw Malinowski, Marcel Mauss, Agrippa von Nettesheim, Plato, Pliny, Plotin, Isidore of Sevilla, Jesper Sorensen, Kimberley Stratton, Randall Styers, Edward Tylor
General Introduction Part I: Historical Sources Introduction 1. Alcibades I and Laws, Plato 2. Historia Naturalis, Pliny the Elder 3. Enneads, Plotinus 4. City of God and On Christian Doctrine, Augustine of Hippo 5. Etymologiae, Isidore of Seville 6. Suda, Anonymous 7. Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas 8. Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Agrippa of Nettesheim 9. Encyclopedie, Denis Diderot 10. Theosophical Glossary, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky Part II: Foundational Works of the Academic Debate Introduction 11. Primitive Culture, Edward B. Tylor 12. The Golden Bough, James George Frazer 13. "A General Theory of Magic", Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert 14. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Emile Durkheim Part III: Mid-Twentieth-Century Approaches to Magic Introduction 15. Religion in Essence and Manifestation, Gerardus van der Leeuw 16. Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande, Edward E. Evans-Pritchard 17. "Magic, Science and Religion", Bronislaw Malinowski 18. "African Traditional Thought and Western Science", Robin Horton 19. "Form and Meaning of Magical Acts: A Point of View", Stanley J. Tambiah 20. Culture and Communication, Edmund R. Leach Part IV: Contemporary Voices Introduction 21. "Magical Consciousness: A Legitimate Form of Knowledge", Susan Greenwood 22. "Magic in Theoretical Practice", Christopher I. Lehrich 23. "Magic Reconsidered: Towards a Scientifically Valid Concept of Magic", Jesper Sorensen 24 "Magic Discourse in the Ancient World", Kimberly B. Stratton 25. "Magic and the Play of Power", Randall Styers
Bernd-Christian Otto is Postdoctoral Researcher of the Study of Religion at the University of Erfurt, Germany, and has published a monograph on the conceptual history of magic. Michael Stausberg is Professor of Religion at the University of Bergen. His most recent publications include Religion and Tourism, Zarathrustra amd Zoroastrianism, and, as co-editor, Contemporary Theories of Religion and Theorizing Rituals.