Stockholm university logo, link to start page
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Magic in the European History of Religions: Texts and Traditions

The course looks at some of the most important magical texts and traditions that have flourished in Europe and the broader Mediterranean area from late antiquity to the present day.

Magic in the European History of religions

The texts and traditions of European magic are discussed in their historical, religious, and social contexts, with a specific focus on 1) the transcultural encounters and transfers that magical texts bear witness to; and 2) the continuities and discontinuities in their reception and use that shed light on broader developments in the European history of religions. The various goals, techniques, material cultures, and experiential dimensions of magic are assessed, as well as their theological and philosophical interpretations.

The course has an emphasis on reading and interpreting primary sources in translation. Through primary and secondary sources, students will be acquainted with late-antique materials such as the Greek Magical Papyri and Neoplatonic theurgy; medieval materials such as the Picatrix and the Solomonic ritual magical tradition; Renaissance natural magic and occult philosophy; and modern occultist magical traditions that continue to the present day. Broader theoretical questions about the meanings and place of magic vis-à-vis- religion, science, philosophy, and culture will be interrogated throughout the course.