Cover image for Spellbound, from ancient gods to modern Merlins : a time tour of myth and magic
Title:
Spellbound, from ancient gods to modern Merlins : a time tour of myth and magic
Author:
Alexander, Dominic.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pleasantville, N.Y. : Reader's Digest, 2002.
Physical Description:
256 pages ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780762103799
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...
Searching...
BF1589 .A54 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Would you believe that the father of modern science, Sir Isaac Newton, was a devout practitioner of the mystical practice of spinning gold? Can you figure out how the expression hair of the dog could have originated with an ancient treatment for wounds? Are you aware that when you check your daily horoscope that your sign is based on a system developed long ago by the ancient Greeks -- a system developed to explain a magical relationship between human beings and the planets millions of miles away?Astounding but true, these and other stories are intricately bound up with the rise of civilizations, politics, religion, medicine and culture. Their real story is entangled in a web of myths, illusions, fears and lies. Written with spirited fun by a scholar of superstition, Spellbound unties the knots and sorts the facts from the fantasies to present a tale of magic certain to charm, enlighten, amuse and occasionally horrify.Discover the actual historic events and ancient rituals behind the magic conjured up by the likes of harry potter and the hobbit.Filled with authentic photographs and eerie anecdotes, Spellbound explains:
-- The enduring legend of witches riding on broomsticks
-- The difference between elves and faeries...and witches and warlocks
-- The natural magic of herbal remedies -- and the serious work of medicine men
-- Which numbers are believed to be lucky -- and why


Author Notes

Dr. Dominic Alexander was born in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1970, and moved to England in 1986. He read History at Oxford University, where he developed a special interest in the history of religion and popular belief. After studying medieval history at the University of London, Dr. Alexander was awarded his Ph.D. in Medieval History and now teaches extensively. He is currently engaged in publishing his research into twelfth-century religion and popular belief


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Alexander, who has a Ph.D. in medieval history, here offers a popular introduction to the history of magic and its intricate connections to the rise of civilization. He covers the origins of magic in the ancient Middle East and Egypt, classical approaches in Greece and Rome, the Christian encounter with magic, medieval concerns about the magical gifts of nonconformists, the famous 15th-century witch hunter's text Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), and the modern persistence of magical beliefs. Much of the book is dedicated to the development of popular notions about witchcraft. Alexander concludes that though moderns may yearn for a world of magic, it has always been an illusion that springs from human hopes and fears. The book contains many illustrations and photographs, including some from such films as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Jason and the Argonauts. Libraries should already have reference works on the subject by Richard Cavendish, such as Encyclopedia of the Unexplained and A History of Magic, as well as works on Houdini and by the skeptic James Randi. This useful, accessible overview is recommended for public libraries. William P. Collins, Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-This attractive, fact-filled volume offers a bracing and clear-headed approach to an often-confusing subject. A scholar of religious history, the author shows that science, religion, and magic "have always enjoyed a more complex relationship behind the scenes than their manifestos would suggest." Alexander's own perspective is unequivocally that of the scientist: there are few paranormal thrills here, but neither will readers find justification for religious dogma, and the treatment of myth isn't really aimed at the Joseph Campbell crowd, either. Yet teens can be entertained, challenged, and enlightened as the author demystifies many traditionally occult subjects, and they might be inspired to think more critically about contemporary beliefs. The book's brevity could disappoint, and certain conclusions irritate, some knowledgeable readers, but Alexander's broad cultural perspective and tolerant insight into human psychology inspire confidence and command respect. The subject covered in the most depth is witch-hunting, and these chapters serve as a powerful warning (both to potential finger-pointers and accused) of the appalling human cost of such campaigns. Abundant illustrations, from ancient times to Harry Potter, reflect a wide range of topics and relate cleverly to the text. With its solid content, stylish graphics, and eye-catching sidebars, Spellbound can be browsed casually or read cover to cover. Whatever attitudes they bring to the book, teens will find much good information and a trustworthy foundation for further study.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. 6
Chapter I Magic and Civilizationp. 10
Chapter II Christianity Takes on Magicp. 54
Chapter III Cunning Folk and Wise-Womenp. 106
Chapter IV The Hammer of Witchesp. 152
Chapter V Witches in Their Own Wordsp. 198
Epilogue: The Decline and Rise of Magicp. 244
Bibliography and Indexp. 252
Picture Creditsp. 256