Jan-Maat's Reviews > Religion and the Decline of Magic

Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas
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Jan 02, 14

bookshelves: 20th-century, british-isles, early-modern-history, religion, society
read count: 1

Remembering Nancy Reagan consulting Indian astrologers, Cheri Blair's friend's enthusiasm for crystal therapy or the British Royal Families continued support for Homoeopathy it's hard to feel convinced that the seventeenth century saw a decisive shift in attitudes away from a belief in magic and towards a scientific world view.

That minor point aside the book remains an amazing account of something of the intellectual life of seventeenth century England. The description of the role of astrology in the battle for moral and public support during the civil war period was in particular very interesting.
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message 1: by sologdin (new)

sologdin in reading psellus, i note a continued reference to astrology, augury, oneiromancy--with the disclaimer at each mention that of course I don't believe in any of that stuff, but yaknow the omens &c.


message 2: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat sologdin wrote: "in reading psellus, i note a continued reference to astrology, augury, oneiromancy--with the disclaimer at each mention that of course I don't believe in any of that stuff, but yaknow the omens &c."

Yes? On the one hand that kind of stuff is either not meant to work or be devilry in a Christian context, on the other astrology is tied into their scientific heritage and the rest ties into a mystical/magical world view. God made the world and therefore everything is meaningful and a reflection of God's will and purpose, from the comets in the sky to the shape of a sheep's shoulder bone or whatever it may be.


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