[Name Redacted]'s Reviews > Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity: The World of the Acts of the Apostles

Magic and Paganism in Early Christianity by Hans-Josef Klauck
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's review
Aug 08, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: academia, religion, philosophy, mythology, magic, languages, history, dissertationing
Read from August 04 to 08, 2011

FINAL UPDATE: This book is not what its title claims it to be. It is truthfully little more than an argument for the author's own pseudo-religious academic interpretation of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles which focuses on what Klauck believes to have been the author's intent vis-a-vis provoking reactions from the readership/audience. Paganism and magic are tangential, mentioned only occasionaly as part of the author's larger argument. Another disappointment.

UPDATE 2: I am at the halfway point (really, at the 0.63-way point, since the actual text only takes up 120 pages) and the discussion of paganism has increased dramatically! However it was only in the last ten pages that this transpired, it has been remarkably lackluster, and the discussion of magic has still been infrequent and vague. It almost feels dismissive!

UPDATE 1: According to GoodReads' description of this book: "Many forms of magic and paganism were practiced at the time of Jesus. This text explains what [sic] were and how the first Christians reacted to them." I am about 1/3 of the way through the book however and so far it has done nothing of the sort. So far it has been a meandering recount of various points of interest in the Acts of the Apostles, vignettes or events or turns of phrase which the author apparently thinks are fascinating and which he chooses to interpret at length in accord with his own bizarre pseudo-theological academic philosophy, but which have (so far) had almost nothing whatsoever to do with ancient magic or paganism. When I got to his discussion of Simon Magus, I thought to myself "All right! Here we go! The reason I paid $30 dollars for this tiny book!" But his discussion of Simon's two appearances in the Acts are brief, unfocused and almost entirely devoid of any discussion OF magic. Also, the author mistook Ethiopia for Nubia at one point. I hope this will prove to be the inverse of the previous books I have read this summer, starting weakly and ending amazingly. I have to hope that, because if I don't I will have wasted a lot of time and money.
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08/05/2011 page 31
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