How was magic practised in medieval times? How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterised this fascinating period?. How was magic practiced in medieval times? How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterized this fascinating period? Richard Kieckhefer. ‘Richard Kieckhefer offers a panoramic view of a very diverse set of problems in his cogently organised and revealing book imaginative and stimulating ‘.

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Sep 30, William Harris rated it it was amazing. Dec 21, Jan Pocestnej rated it liked it. Kieckhefer approaches also several instances of Middle Age literature ‘romances’ and, still, the question lingers on: Adopting an interdisciplinary approach Professor Kieckhefer midlde taken magic from its cultural isolation and placed it firmly at the crossroads of medieval culture, as a focal point for our understanding of many other aspects of medieval magoc.

It’s a fascinating read! However, it does lead to more A good but dense, scholarly read.

Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer

The concerns were both legal and moral; legalisation was concerned with the harm caused by magic, whereas the moralists were concerned with diabolic implications of all magic and also with the superstitious unsanctioned use of holy objects and ceremony.

Many rulers also had official astrologers and diviners, and more about courtly magic survives in written sources. One significant contribution was the association of magic with women; another was the persistent strand of Christian thought that considered all magic demonic in contrast to widespread classical sentiment that magic was bad only when used to evil ends, or when it posed a threat to the social order.

Picked up as research for my historical fantasy novels. The thinkers who conflated the natural magic of the common tradition with demonic magic were within the same corner of society as the necromancers, and so when they peered out of their offices on high, they merely saw their own image reflected back at them and thus their perception was ill informed.

Magic in the Middle Ages

Refresh and try again. He examines its relation to religion, science, philosophy, art, literature and politics before introducing us to the Well, I have to do this for my first History assignment so I might as well try this before going on to write the actual assignment.


This definition proved to be problematic because it was pretty subjective, but love magic was widely considered sorcery, as were cases of impotence.

There are adequate notes, but they are kept to a minimum, with a good bibliography at the end. References to this book The Beginnings of Western Science: Dec 12, frogfairie rated it liked it. The cult of secrecy and books of secrets. The same can be said about charms, blessings and adjurations which were often heavily Christian, drawing upon the power of biblical figures, passages and allegories.

For instance, while it would be easy to assume that it was a purely magical act when people used relics or the Eucharist to bless or to heal, these objects in fact had power because they were connected to God in some way, and so to strip away this religious element and call it a magical act only, would be to misunderstand the intent and belief of the people who did such acts.

In this volume Kieckhefer presents a clear and concise description of Medieval magic which, by means of illustrations throughout from exemplars of period texts manages to effect a presentation of magic’s history as it was present in various sectors of Medieval society.

Quotes from Magic in the Midd Gerard de Feltre 13th centuryin Summa on the Stars Kieckhefer’s prose is clear but struggles to create a sense of mystique that is so intertwined with the subject matter, despite his many colourful examples of curses, alchemy, necromancy, and the like. This was a bit of background reading for my dissertation, which is on very specific bits of magic in particular Irish texts.

In a sense the necromancer is shown to have a perverse sense of piety. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Jun 19, Mary Catelli rated it really liked it Shelves: As the Crusades happened, many works in Arabic got translated especially about astrology and astral magic into Latin, namely.

The spread of inquisitorial rather than adversarial prosecution reduced the risks for those making accusations — and these were often iieckhefer for “political” ends, from local animosities to the suppression of the Templars. Early legislation often focused more on effects than methods some treated sorcery alongside poisoning, for example ; later prohibitions used more refined concepts of magic.

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My library Help Advanced Book Search. This book places magic at the crossroads of medieval culture, shedding light on many other aspects of life in the middle ages. Towards the end of the Middle Ages much effort was put towards reforming the Catholic Church and to rid it from superstitious practices, and it was during this time that a misogynistic view began to fully emerge of magic and its practitioners.

Th, this book cleared up a lot of misconceptions that popular culture has passed down over the centuries about koeckhefer who practiced natural or demonic magic.

Also how attitudes towards it changed over time – well worth a read! Manuale molto interessante, che tratta la storia della magia medievale in modo dettagliato. Magic in the Middle Ages 34 27 Feb 15, He examines its relation to religion, science, philosophy, art, literature and politics before introducing us to the different types of magic, the kind How was magic practiced in medieval times? Originally the term meant divination using the dead, but medieval theology saw this as trickery by demons.

It teaches you the importance of context and it encourages you to appreciate the nuances of history. For a text meant for undergraduate courses, I thought this was very good and im dumbed-down at kickhefer. It’s still the best overall treatment of its topic. It is sufficiently focused, and yet you are able to appreciate the many diverse perspectives that create the history of magic in the middle ages.

A really thorough introduction to the topic.

Another strand in medieval magic was associated with the growth of universities and the importation maagic Arabic learning. It connects natural forces, science, the stars, etc. In short, here existed a huge chasm between the perception of judges, theologians and inquisitors, and the actual practices and beliefs of those condemned and persecuted.

Kieckhefer discusses different kinds of magic black and white, occult and natural, etc.