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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dmsteyn - LibraryThing

The concept of magic is a fascinating one, no doubt. The amount of fiction that contains some or other kind of magic is astonishing, but what is even more astonishing is the beliefs that people have ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - KarelDhuyvetters - LibraryThing

This is my kind of book! Thoroughly researched with all the sources at the bottom of every page, beautyfully written, clearly expressed ideas, a surprising or enlightening fact or remark in almost ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

A hugely important book which I have just started reading again after a gap of 10 years not just for its oft cited historical and social importance in filling in what had hitherto been gaps in the study of early modern English history, but because, possibly more than any other book I have ever read in any area of the humanities, it shows how, as Blake once wrote, 'man must and will have religion'. It shows how the human mind, especially if untempered by any kind of scientific objectivity, will seek to create reality from what little it can work out.
Numerous dark corners and shibboleths are exposed: we have the petty vendettas and realpolitik which informed much of the motivation behind the witch-hunting period; the civil war solution of 'weapon salve', where the victim of a gunshot wound can be cured of their wound if the weapon is located and balm applied to it. (This was at a time when West Europeans were conquering the 'savages' of the New World, incidentally).
So whilst this book is considered a classic in its field and has earned numerous awards through the years, I believe it is actually a far more important book than it has been given credit for. One of the most important books I have ever read, like the works of Joyce, of Henry Chadwick and Erich Auerbach, even of Dante, it stays with you once you have read it. It colours everything after because it shows you, with copious documentary evidence, the magic-inclined workings of the untutored human mind. And that, unfortunately, we are increasingly seeing around us again, are we not?
 

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - PJ Cadavori - Goodreads

This is a very scholarly book of about 1000 pages, but don't let that put you off. Granted, it's not the sort of light entertainment that can justify cover to cover reading, but rather is split into ... Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Smoothw - Goodreads

Extremely interesting, if a bit long winded, look at magical beliefs in pre-modern, yet post medieval, england. I especially liked the detailed look at witchcraft and astrology, most other sources I have read on that subject just sort of shrug their shoulders at why this stuff actually happened. Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Chip - Goodreads

Truly fascinating! Loved the section on witches. Perhaps not a book to read straight thru but very engaging + insightful on parsing the roles of magic (charmers, astrologists, witches) + religion's response + effect. Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Charlie - Goodreads

A landmark publication that combines religion, sociology, and history with even more esoteric and occult forces. Thomas' 700-page tome is bursting with information. Diaries, court minutes, private ... Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Brant - Goodreads

Thomas looks at the transition point from a medieval world to the more modern version as it relates to religion and magic in England. He provides some contrasts to information from the continent, but ... Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Damien Seaman - Goodreads

This is one of the great milestones in social history, academically rigorous while being not just readable, but actually exciting. A book about changing beliefs and why it was that people could start ... Read full review

Review: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England

User Review  - Mike - Goodreads

A powerful book and in-depth study of what really comes down to the paradigm shift from faith-systems that are inclusive of the layperson and allow him/her to participate in the spiritual experience ... Read full review


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