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This view of Weber's could be (and has been) seen as some kind of definition of what "magic" is, or at least what it was to the ancient Greeks. Many scholars have tried and failed to isolate a clear definition of what "magic" is or was. Magic - as opposed to religion, personal or otherwise - is a notoriously difficult concept to pin down. In ancient Greece, "magic was not distinct from religion, rather an unwelcome, improper expression of it." In other words, it's important not to think of it as a different definition of magic but to instead understand how the ancient Greeks believed certain aspects of magic functioned in their world. Since there are no surviving accounts of any full, contemporary hypothesis of what magic was, creating a picture of their belief in magic requires exploring what cultural factors shaped their beliefs. Often, the best surviving evidence of those beliefs comes from magic's biggest critics.
Most sources hail from the Archaic and Classical Periods of ancient Greece. It is in the Archaic Period that the ancient Greek culture, as people today know it, formed itself from the broken shards of the Mycenaean Palace Period scattered across the country after its collapse some 400 years earlier. Out of this formation came some early attempts at defining magic and magical practitioners as the liminal folk who were able to transgress the boundaries of the natural world in order to bring prized knowledge back to their mundane communities.
In the same vein, it’s worth analyzing the main critics of contemporary magic, namely the philosophers and medical practitioners of the time, since those individuals were not above in-house rivalries. The writings of philosophers like Plato indicate how magical terminology gained some of the pejorative connotations associated with it, and how those connotations were levied at rivals who, at least to the casual observer, appear to have conducted their business in a very similar way to their critics.
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By Maria on 12-29-17
interesting and accurate on many levels.
Based on the limited written data from that time in ancient Greece, the author collected stories and references of important historians of that time on the matter of magick. I hoped for something more like the mention of the Oracle and Delphi and magia. .....