This Protestant legacy contributed to the consolidation of a narrow idea of religion as a system of abstract beliefs (cf. Winch, P. 1970. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, influential European intellectuals like Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Max Weber appeared convinced that a worldwide increase in literacy, better living conditions, and growing acquaintance with modern science, would make people gradually forget their consolatory but false beliefs in spirits, gods, witches, and magical forces (Casanova 1994). Cambridge, Mass. Indeed, devil talk turns out to be a surprisingly sophisticated tool through which unschooled peasants and miners could formulate theories and critical judgements about their political and economic reality of exploitation. Graf, F. 1995. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 126, 1-12. : Harvard University Press. The Madonna of 115th Street: faith and community in Italian Harlem. They also treat magic as a valuable resource to address existential predicaments, foster resilience in the face of the negative, expand their cognitive resources, work on their spiritual selves, explore fantasy and creativity, and generally improve their relationship with the world. Eros and magic in the Renaissance. While witch trials are often described as ‘mediaeval’, it is now well established (Ginzburg 1991) that during the actual Middle Age, ecclesiastical authorities were dismissive of magical threats, as they were certain that only God had sovereignty over the unseen. Chicago: University Press. Chun, W. 2014. Matthews, W. 2016. Some of their ideas are still compelling and they are frequently referenced by contemporary occultists themselves. New York: De Gruyter. Excluding the charming: the development of the Greek concept of magic. in the scientific attitude or in science, though this lack has been frequently attributed to them. Magic is prevalent in all societies, regardless of whether they have organized religion or more general systems of animism or shamanism. In other words, through which activities ordinary, scientifically literate Westerners reorganise their cognitive processes in order to ‘see’ the invisible workings of magic, in the mundane flux of everyday life. Jütte, D. 2015. Phenomena such as witchcraft ‘epidemics’, urban lore on zombie labour, or occult-related conspiracy theories are, the Comaroffs submit, ‘symptoms’ of occult economies ‘waxing behind the civil surfaces’ of development. Saunders, C.J. Magic and the supernatural in medieval English romance. we of the western academic world would consider "magic," "science," and "religion." To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Despite the mainstream’s uneasiness with occult crafts such as ceremonial magic and divination, their stubborn refusal to simply vanish into thin air points not only to the inherent contradictions of modernity, but also to the value that practitioners attach to such crafts. The birth of the term ‘magic’. Lewis, G. 1994. ‘Apparently irrational beliefs’ may appear much less outlandish once considered as parts – and expressions – of broader social and cultural logics. From the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries CE, polymaths and thinkers such as Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Giordano Bruno, Isabella Cortese, or John Dee devoted considerable energy to the investigation of both the visible and the invisible dimensions of the universe. Indeed, scholarship based on immersion in concrete socio-cultural settings has, from its inception, recognised magic as an existential resource people draw upon ‘to compensate for the uncertainties of chance and to forearm against bad luck’ and ‘create confidence, enhance hopes and anticipations’, as fieldwork pioneer Bronislaw Malinowski wrote describing vernacular propitiatory agricultural spells amongst Trobriand islanders (1935: 217, 246). From this point of view, Durkheim’s judgment of magic as a quintessentially personal spiritual endeavour was not so mistaken, and indeed late-modern spirituality has been defined by an influential commentator as ‘post-Durkheimian’ (Taylor 2002). Leiden: Brill. Demon lovers: witchcraft, sex, and the crisis of belief. Contemporary scholars even propose to understand the modern as being ‘re-enchanted’ (Partridge 2005). American Ethnologist 26, 279-303. Tylor, who famously defined religion as ‘belief in Spiritual Beings’ (2008: 25). In every primitive community, studied by trustworthy and competent observers, there have been found two clearly Explaining the relationship of religion, science and magic some anthropologists have presented functional theories. The modernity of witchcraft: politics and the occult in postcolonial Africa. In Renaissance Europe, magic was performed by clergymen, scientists, and philosophers, while twentieth-century occultists, guided by a keen interest in scientific discoveries, moved in a grey area between science and magic producing ambiguous yet highly successful concepts such as ‘animal magnetism’, ‘mesmerism’, or ‘psychic energy’. Please choose a different delivery location. The word ‘magic’ evokes a vast array of associations: from the solemn, white-bearded sage, endowed with mystical power in fairy tales and fantasy films, to sinister witches and sorcerers surrounded by grimoires, occult sigils, potions, and astrological charts; from ‘cunning folk’ healers, combining incantations and herbal remedies, to stage magicians asking us, with a wink, to let our senses be deceived. This distinction has become a staple in magical studies and even within magical milieus. Apparently irrational beliefs. Magic continues to be widely perceived as an archaic worldview, a form of superstition lacking the intrinsic spiritual value of religion or the rational logic of science. The sorcerer and his magic: the effectiveness of symbols. In circumstances such as illness, exploitation, or uprooting, vulnerable individuals and communities faced a radical existential uncertainty that manifested itself in altered states of consciousness ranging from frenzy to catatonia, a condition called tarantism (literally a ‘tarantula’s bite’). Mazzarella, W. 2017. Ecstasies: deciphering the witches’ Sabbath. Instead, witchcraft could be seen to contribute to social stability. American Ethnologist 34, 127-47. Chicago: University Press. All rights reserved. Beijing: China Intercontinental Press. This is not any less true today. These distinctions have proved useful for anthropology, but they are confounded by traditional belief systems like fengshui, causing intractable problems for anthropologists as well as for Chinese university administrators. It has been persuasively argued (Tambiah 1990: 12-5) that evolutionistic ideas of magic as distinct from and inferior to religion were likely fuelled by Protestantism’s deep dislike of occult practices and Biblical characterizations of magic as diabolical.