Document Type

Book Review

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

Summer 2008

Journal or Book Title

Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

Volume

3

Issue

1

First Page

99

Last Page

101

DOI

10.1353/mrw.0.0097

Abstract

This is the second volume in a planned series of three emerging from an international conference held in 1999 in Budapest (for a review of the first volume, Communicating with the Spirits, by this reviewer, see Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 1.2 [2006], 257–60). The focus of this volume is human conceptions of and purported interaction with spirit-entities that traditional Christianity would label as demons. The essays collected here do not limit themselves to explorations of what Christian authorities had to say on the subject of demons, however, but also address folkloric spirit beliefs (the "popular mythology" as opposed to the "Christian demonology" of the title), and explore how these two realms of understanding spirits influenced one another. The organizing principle of the volume is therefore quite explicitly that of "popular" and "elite" cultures and their interactions. In the introduction, the editors acknowledge that this model has been strongly challenged by much recent research on magic, witchcraft, and demonology. Nevertheless, they hold that their use of the model is justified by real differences between the official demonology espoused by Christian authorities (theologians, magistrates, etc.) and conceptions of demonic/spirit entities held by the common laity. They also note that this volume does not privilege elite over popular conceptions, but instead seeks to explore the interaction and influence that spread in both direction. In fact, the potential problematics of the model do not really come into play here because most of the articles collected are too short and theoretically simplistic for the framework to matter.

Comments

This is a book review from Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 3 (2008): 99, doi:10.1353/mrw.0.0097. Posted with permission.

Rights

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.

Copyright Owner

University of Pennsylvania Press

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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