Journal or Book Title
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft
For all that magicians sometimes employed signs, symbols, gestures, stones, or herbs, spoken spells still comprise the most pervasive magical device in Western culture. The very ubiquity of verbal formulas in many forms of magical operation make words a difficult subject for scholars to grasp. In this impressive study, Béatrice Delaurenti takes a carefully limited approach. As her subtitle indicates, she examines intellectual debates about the power of words in the Middle Ages. In fact, she focuses on a period of intense debate that lasted, in her analysis, from around 1230 to around 1370. These dates mark important "parentheses," as she will ultimately term them in her conclusion, that bracket an era in which some authorities gave serious consideration to the potential natural power contained in incantations.
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University of Pennsylvania Press
Bailey, Michael D., "La puissance des mots – “Virtus verborum”: Débats doctrinaux sur le pouvoir des incantations au Moyen Âge (review)" (2010). History Publications. 20.