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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With the flow of new translations of Arabic texts came many new ideas regarding Alchemy and Astrology, which also had Greek influences too. The existence of large numbers of people who had a little religious training was one factor contributing to a “clerical underworld” where necromancy was practised.

One significant contribution was the association of kieckheefer with women; another was the persistent strand of Christian thought that considered all magic demonic in contrast to widespread classical sentiment that magic was kjeckhefer only when used to evil ends, or when it posed a threat to the social order. Three chapters then look at more specialised aspects of magic.

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Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer. Undoubtedly the implications of church doctrine underpin this stereotype, and yet equally it is shown that the structure of society plays an important role too. Gerard de Feltre 13th centuryin Summa on the Stars Nov 30, Clayton Brannon rated it it was amazing.

A brief introduction explains how the term was changed during the Middle Ages to kieckhecer explicitly demonic magic. This was a bit of background reading for kleckhefer dissertation, which is on very specific bits of magic in particular Irish texts.

Magic in the Middle Ages by Richard Kieckhefer

In Magic in the Middle Ages Kieckhefer has produced an insightful account of magic “as a kind of crossroads where different pathways in medieval culture converge”. Mar 17, Lauren Albert rated it it was amazing Shelves: Next the romance of magic in courtly culture is examined, and it is here that a different perception and understanding of magic begins to emerge.


Good, objective look at medieval “magic” from icons and herbal medicine to necromancy and sorcery. As the Crusades happened, many works in Arabic got translated especially about astrology and astral magic into Latin, namely.

Described are the basic tenants of Astrology which differ somewhat to modern popular conceptions. It shows how fine a line it is between “magic” and “religion. 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.

Oct 17, Julie Winchester rated it really liked it.

Magic in the Middle Ages (Richard Kieckhefer) – book review

He examines its relation to religion, science, philosophy, art, literature middel 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. The book begins with a full discussion of the social history of magic and of the ways in which magical beliefs borrowed from a diversity of cultures.

The chapter is really good and contains lots of information about how it was practiced, the mentality of the necromancer, and also how it was portrayed in the exemplas. He also presents how this affected views of “magic” and the cultural, religious, and political issues that emerged.

How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterised this fascinating period? In fact, one of the more interesting things one could take away from this book is how much magic and the mystical arts were largely the preserve of churchmen and elites who wanted to preserve its status as a special thing that only they got to do!


Quotes from Magic in the Midd Open Preview See a Problem? Kieckhefer approaches also several instances of Middle Age literature ‘romances’ and, still, the question lingers on: Amulets and talismans were natural magic; even if they were holy objects used improperly that was usually considered “superstition” rather than demonic magic.

Originally the term meant divination using the dead, but medieval theology saw this as trickery by demons. The author writes in a very dry, scholarly way, and it wasn’t really the material I was hoping for. Opening paragraph states it was “written for an undergraduate level”, but it’s not like a textbook.

Magic in the Middle Ages

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The first surveys magic kieckehfer Greek and Roman philosophy, science, and fiction, and in early Christian writings and in late antiquity as Christianity became an established religion. Divination and popular astrology were also part of the aged, as was “performative” magic that used trickery and sleight of hand for entertainment.

Adopting an interdisciplinary approach Professor Kieckhefer has taken magic from its cultural isolation and placed it firmly at the crossroads of medieval culture, as a focal point for midddle understanding kleckhefer many other aspects of medieval history.

Very much recommended for those looking for a scholarly introduction to the social history of the material, that is both academic and readable, and will probably send you looking for some of the author’s references. How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterized this fascinating period? The book was fine, I am however a fiction reader who is trying my hardest to read at least one non fiction a month.

It teaches you the importance of context and it encourages you to appreciate the nuances of history.