The Notion of Magic

  title={The Notion of Magic},
  author={Murray Lionel Wax and Rosalie H. Wax},
  journal={Current Anthropology},
  pages={495 - 518}
Social science contains two main traditions as to the nature of magic: With Tylor and Frazer, magic is superstition-an evolutionarily early stage of science, inadequate and misleading. With Durkheim, magic is immoral and anti-social: where religion solidifies the group, magic is individualistic. Both traditions thus proceed, not by an analysis of the lives of peoples where magic plays a significant role, but rather by invidious comparison with a major institution of Western society (science… 

Reconceptualizing religion, magic, and science

Three of the most central concepts used in the social scientific study of religion are so poorly and inconsistently defined as to preclude coherent discussion, let alone theoretical progress. In this

Magic in Medieval Byzantium

This chapter traces the emergence of the magic-religion dichotomy in the wider context of imperial age culture, with special attention to developments in cosmology, theology, and demonology. It

Dissecting and Constructing Magic in Greco-Roman Literature

When does a prayer turn into a curse? What is the difference between pious worship and manipulative coercion? Who ultimately draws the boundaries between magic and religion? When we consider the

Colonial Magic: The Dutch East Indies

The banishment of Mistress Missa was established as a necessary priority of religious reform in England. The link between magic and the Mass reached to the heart of the liturgy, and of late medieval

Elite Magic in the Nineteenth Century

The folk magical traditions that colonists brought with them from England assumed that men and women could manipulate supernatural forces for their own ends. Cunning folk used a variety of

Magical Capitalism: An Introduction

The word “magic” refers to a broad range of beliefs that include animism, charms, fantasies, illusion, miracles, the occult, superstition, and trickery. The Introduction to Magical Capitalism argues

Jewish Magic in the Middle Ages

Magical practices, such as various forms of divination, amulets or the use of incantations, were part and parcel of that concept of paganism, and they helped Christianity set up clear-cut boundaries

The Early Medieval West

A curse tablet from fourth-century Attica exemplifies many aspects of what has come to be considered magic in Western thought/ Inscribed on a thick tablet. This chapter surveys the history of magic

Magic between Europe and India: On Mantras, Coercion of Gods, and the Limits of Current Debates

Several scholars have criticized the efforts to explain Indian mantras as spells, but much is left to clarification. Why do submission-versus-coercion characterizations keep reoccurring, albeit

The Flesh and the Word: Stories and Other Gifts of the Animals in Chipewyan Cosmology

Although subject to criticism, scholars generally acknowledge the validity of Marcel Mauss's assertion that the gift exchange is central to the origins of human society. However, commentary overlooks




'If religion generated everything that is essential in society, this is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.' In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Emile Durkheim set

Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande

AbstractDR. E. E. EVANS-PRITCHARD, already well known in anthropological circles for some penetrating studies of the manners, customs and mental constitution of certain peoples of the Anglo-Egyptian

Primitive Culture

  • Art
II.THE chapters on mythology, which naturally follow J- those on language, form an admirable summary of the history of myth from its vigorous infancy in the earlier ages of human thought through the

Freedom and Culture

The twentieth century has witnessed the blossoming of Western culture: new technology; communications and transportation systems; social, political, educational, agricultural, and medical advances.

The History of Ethnological Theory

IN his history of ethnological theory, Prof. Lowie gives a survey of the course of progress in the theoretical study of culture and of the growth of knowledge through the improvement of technique for

Mambu: A Melanesian Millenium

Perhaps the most famous modern-day millenarian movements are the "cargo cults" of Melanesia, active especially during the 1930s and 1950s. Melanesians had long believed that the sign of the

Ancient Judaism and the Protestant Ethic

  • M. Wax
  • Psychology
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1960
Within ancient Judaism may be found development precursive to the Protestant ethic. Besides the hostility to magic, or disenchantment of the magical world view, these include: a collective religious

The Threshold of Religion

Selected Essays B.S. Turner 368pp Custom and Myth A. Lang 320pp The Making of Religion A. Lang 384pp Anthropological Religion Max Mueller 496pp Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion Max

The Andaman Islanders

Introduction 1. The social organisation 2. Ceremonial customs 3. Religious and magical beliefs 4. Myths and legends 5. The interpretation of Andamese customs and beliefs: ceremonial 6. The

Religion among the Primitives

Religion among the primitives , Religion among the primitives , کتابخانه دیجیتال و فن آوری اطلاعات دانشگاه امام صادق(ع)