The essays by David L. d’Avray and Bernd-Christian Otto are stimulating, insightful, deeply engaging reflections, pointing in opposite directions: D’Avray argues for using etic alongside emic terms, giving “magic” the clarity and precision of a Weberian ideal type so that it becomes a sharp analytic tool for both European history and cross-cultural study; Otto draws back from “second-order” or “third-order” terms and urges instead a “discourse historical” analysis that tracks and analyses language within historical texts. Claire Fanger and I come from different directions but reach concordant conclusions, both advocating flexible understandings of “magic” while allowing (in Fanger’s case) or urging (in mine) more technical use of alternative terms. I have questions for both d’Avray and Otto.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)