American scholar of religion and tenured professor at Chapman University, in Orange, California
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- Through the history of the modern academic study of religion and culture, as we have noted, the definition of "magic" in relation to science and religion has been a major problem. At the root of the problem is the loaded, evaluative connotation of "magic" as false, deceptive, discredited, or morally tainted, contrasted with both science (a correct, enlightened understanding of natural law and causation) and religion (a correct, enlightened understanding of the divine and spirituality). Thus, "magic" is relegated to the "they" side of a "we/they" dichotomy. This is simultaneously unfair to the materials and practices studied under the heading of "magic," and self-serving for the materials (mainly those we identify as "our own") that are exempted from that label. It perpetuates a complacent double standard.
- The world of the Greco-Roman Egypt was a wonderfully diverse and pluralistic world, and nowhere is that diversity and pluralism seen more clearly than in the text of ritual power that were produced and used by the people who inhabited that world.