Theoretical and Empirical Investigations of Divination and Magic

Manipulating the Divine

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In Theoretical and Empirical Investigations of Divination and Magic ten leading scholars of religion provide up-to-date investigations into the classic domains of divination and magic. Spanning historical, anthropological, cognitive, philosophical and theoretical chapters, the volume’s authors invite the reader to explore how divinatory practices and magical rituals, both apart and in interaction, can be reconceptualized in line with 21st century scholarship.

Following an introduction addressing the ever-pertinent discussion of the status and epistemological value of the categories inherited from our scholarly predecessors, the volume includes analyses of divinatory and magic practices in particular historical areas, as well as comparative, theoretical and philosophical discussions, making this an indispensable volume for anyone interested in broader comparative approaches to magic and divination.

Contributors are Lars Albinus, Edward Bever, Gideon Bohak, Corby Kelly, Lars Madsen, Anders Klostergaard Petersen, Jörg Rüpke, Jesper Frøkjær Sørensen, Jørgen Podemann Sørensen, Dimitris Xygalatas.

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Jesper Frøkjær Sørensen is senior lecturer in Comparative Religion at Aarhus University, Denmark specializing in cognitive and evolutionary approaches to ritual and magic, cognitive historiography and cultural immunology. He is the author of A Cognitive Theory of Magic (2007, AltaMira Press).
Anders Klostergaard Petersen is senior lecturer in Science of Religion, Aarhus University, specializing in formative Christ-religion and evolutionary approaches to religion. He has recently co-authored with Turner, Maryanski, and Geertz, The Emergence and Evolution of Religion: By Means of Natural Selection (2018, Routledge).
Notes on Contributors

1 Manipulating the Divine – an Introduction
Jesper Frøkjær Sørensen and Anders Klostergaard Petersen

part 1: Divination


2 Divination in the Pseudo-Platonic Epinomis
Corby Kelly

3 The Rhetoric of Divination: A Comparative Approach
Jørgen Podemann Sørensen

4 The Naturalness of Rhapsodomantics
Anders Klostergaard Petersen

5 Evil Eyes and Baking Pies: Aspects of Greek Divination
Dimitris Xygalatas

6 Cognitive Underpinnings of Divinatory Practices
Jesper Frøkjær Sørensen

part 2: Magic


7 The Relationship of Magic and Shamanism in Neuro-Cognitive Perspective
Edward Bever

8 A Spell to Open All Locks and the Place of Magic in Medieval Jewish Society
Gideon Bohak

9 Demystifying Wittgenstein’s Concept of Magic
Lars Albinus and Lars Madsen

10 Controlling the Incontrollable
Jörg Rüpke

11 Force and Categorization: Reflections on Marcel Mauss and Henri Hubert’s Esquisse d’une théorie générale de la magie
Jesper Sørensen

Index
Readers interested in historical, comparative and theoretical investigations and reflections on divination, magic, ritual and religion, as well as those concerned with epistemological questions in the study of religion.