The End of Magic / Edition 1

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Throughout history, magic has been as widely and passionately practiced as religion. But while religion continues to flourish, magic stumbles towards extinction. What is magic? What does it do? Why do people believe in magic? Ariel Glucklich finds the answers to these questions in the streets of Banaras, India's most sacred city, where hundreds of magicians still practice ancient traditions, treating thousands of Hindu and Muslim patients of every caste and sect. Through study and interpretation of the Banarsi magical rites and those who partake in them, the author presents fascinating living examples of magical practice, and contrasts his findings with the major theories that have explained (or explained away) magic over the last century. These theories, he argues, ignore an essential sensory phenomenon which he calls "magical experience": an extraordinary, though perfectly natural, state of awareness through which magicians and their clients perceive the effects of magic rituals.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The reader experiences...a sensible and engaging argument, taking off from a series of humanly gripping anecdotes, that actually confronts the sorts of questions that ordinary rational and not-so-rational people have about magic. This book should be of great value in undergraduate courses on religion, anthropology, and popular culture."--Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago

"Like a boddhisattva, Glucklich succeeds in 'tricking' his reader into enlightenment, in this case into opening young minds to cutting edge social sciences theory and methodology as well as to a number of fundamental questions that ritual, belief, and yes, magic, pose for the fields of philosophy and religious studies."--David G. White, University of Virginia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195108804
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Ariel Glucklich is Assistant Professor at Ponoma College and Lecturer at the Hebrew University to which he received a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Magic? 3
Pt. 1 Theories of Magic
1 Magic Explained Away 17
2 The Strange Case of Alfred Wallace 24
3 The Association of Ideas: Bringing People Together 32
4 From Magic to Social Function 39
5 Psychological and Symbolical Theories of Magic 49
6 New Science, Old Magic 65
Pt. 2 The Nature of Magic
7 Concentric Rings of Healing 83
8 The Magical Experience 97
9 Philosophical Issues 118
10 Systems, Mind, and Magic 130
Pt. 3 Magic in Banaras
11 The Insider's View 141
12 Miraculous Powers and False Advertising 154
13 Ghosts and People with No Boundaries 171
14 Animal Magic 184
15 The Tools of Magic 203
16 The End of Magic 221
Concluding Remarks 233
Bibliography 236
Index 245
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