By Marcel Mauss
First written via Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A basic thought of Magic received a large new readership whilst republished by means of Mauss in 1950. As a learn of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival this day in our innovations and social activities, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss referred to as, in an creation to that variation, the marvelous modernity of the brain of 1 of the century's maximum thinkers. The e-book bargains a desirable photo of magic all through numerous cultures in addition to deep sociological and non secular insights nonetheless a great deal proper this day. At a interval whilst paintings, magic and technology seem to be crossing paths once more, A basic thought of Magic provides itself as a vintage for our occasions.
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Extra resources for A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics)
Where religious rites are performed openly, in full public view, magical rites are carried out in secret. Even when magic is licit, it is done in secret, as if performing some maleﬁcent deed. And even if the magician has to work in public he makes an attempt to dissemble: his gestures become furtive and his words indistinct. The medicine man and the bone-setter, working before the assembled gathering of a family, mutter their spells, cover up their actions and hide behind simulated or real ecstasies.
In some Australian tribes all natural deaths which occurred within the group were accredited to the witchcraft of a neighbouring group and resulted in vendettas and feuding. The two villages of Toaripi and Koitapu at Port Moresby in New Guinea spent their time (according to Chalmers) accusing each other of witchcraft. This situation is well-nigh universal amongst primitive peoples. Indeed one of the names given to the sorcerers in Vedic India was that of ‘stranger’. A stranger is preeminently someone living on foreign territory—the hostile the elements of magic neighbour.
When somebody has recourse 29 30 a general theory of magic to a medicine man, the owner of a spirit-fetish, a bone-mender or a magician, there is certainly a need, but no moral obligation is involved. Nevertheless, there are examples of cults which are magical. There was the Hecate cult of Ancient Greece, the cult of Diana and the devil in the magic of the Middle Ages and the whole cult devoted to one of the greatest Hindu divinities, Rudra-Shiva. These, however, are examples of secondary developments and quite simply prove that magicians have themselves set up a cult which was modelled along the lines of religious cults.
A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics) by Marcel Mauss