Magic in Western Culture: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Magic in Western Culture

From Antiquity to the Enlightenment
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:614 pages
Size:228x152x30 mm
Weight:880 g
Illustrations: 108 b/w illus.
Short description:

This richly illustrated and groundbreaking book treats magic as a classical tradition with foundations that were distinctly philosophical.

Long description:
The story of the beliefs and practices called 'magic' starts in ancient Iran, Greece, and Rome, before entering its crucial Christian phase in the Middle Ages. Centering on the Renaissance and Marsilio Ficino - whose work on magic was the most influential account written in premodern times - this groundbreaking book treats magic as a classical tradition with foundations that were distinctly philosophical. Besides Ficino, the premodern story of magic also features Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, Aquinas, Agrippa, Pomponazzi, Porta, Bruno, Campanella, Descartes, Boyle, Leibniz, and Newton, to name only a few of the prominent thinkers discussed in this book. Because pictures play a key role in the story of magic, this book is richly illustrated.

'Brian P. Copenhaver's Magic in Western Culture is a towering achievement in the field of intellectual history that is evidently the product of years - or decades, one suspects - of its author's immersion in the primary sources. In spite of its focus on the history of magic, this book is in fact&&&160;essential reading for students of the history of ideas, the history of philosophy, the history of medicine, the history of science and even students of&&&160;art history, since Copenhaver places great stress on the significance of images in both the development and the dismemberment of the western magical tradition. It would be a shame if the book's readership were confined to historians of magic, since its significance is so much more far-reaching.' Francis Young, Reviews in History
Table of Contents:
Part I. Introduction: 1. The scruples of J. G. Frazer; 2. Magic as a classical tradition and its philosophical foundations; Part II. Mageia: 3. Ancient philosophy in Ficino's magic I: Plotinus; 4. Ancient philosophy in Ficinio's magic II: Neoplatonism and the Chaldaean Oracles; 5. Ancient philosophy in Ficino's magic III: Hermes and Proclus; 6. Scholastic philosophy in Ficino's magic; 7. Data: a tale of two fish; Part III. Hermetica: 8. Hermes the theologian; 9. Hermes domesticated; 10. Hermes on parade; Part IV. Magic Revived and Rejected: 11. How to do magic, and why; 12. Nature, magic, and the art of picturing; 13. The power of magic and the poverty of erudition; 14. Disenchantment; Part V. Conclusion: 15. Who killed Dabholkar?