Customer Review

33 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book that is good on what it covers, 5 Jan 2005
This review is from: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England (Penguin History) (Paperback)
This book is a classic. It should be read by all serious students of the esoteric and all with a genuine interest in the spiritual history of Western Europe.
The book provides a great deal of detail on the superstitions and quack medicine of the 16th and 17th centuries in Britain. It gives wonderful detail, and some lovely anecdotes, concerning the horrors of 16th and 17th century medicine, and the apothecaries that offered a cheaper, and no less effective service to the poor.
After a general overview of the historical trend there is an in depth study of Astrology, as practised at the time.
Where the book fails, and it fails badly, is that it gives the impression that magic was for the ignorant only. Very little space, about two pages, are devoted to the work of Frances Yates, work I do not think Thomas was keen to understand, but keen to dismiss. The overall result is that I feel Thomas wishes to dismiss magic as old-fashioned mumbo-jumbo, indulged in by the poor and the ignorant in desperate times, and so tells the story of superstition rather than magic.
It is a book that provides a great overview of the social climate of the time, but works with a deliberately narrow definition of magic, a definition that is never properly expounded or discussed, and deals very poorly with hermetic, gnostic and masonic trends, and so does not deal with what the average modern lay-thinker is interested in at all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Oxfordshire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 692,963