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Talking it Through: Responses to Sorcery and Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices in Melanesia

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ISBN: 9781925021561 Year: DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_569113 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-07-14 11:01:28
License: ANU Press

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Abstract

Sorcery and witchcraft practices and beliefs are pervasive across Melanesia. They are in part created by, and give rise to, a wide variety of poor social and developmental outcomes. These include uneven economic development, low public health, lack of social cohesion, crime, fear and insecurity. A further very visible problem is the attacks on men and women who are accused of being practitioners of witchcraft or sorcery, which can lead to serious bodily harm, banishment and sometimes death. Today, many communities, individuals, church organisations and policymakers in Melanesia and internationally are exploring ways to overcome the negative social outcomes associated with witchcraft and sorcery practices and beliefs. This book brings together a collection of chapters written by a diverse range of authors, both Melanesian and non-Melanesian, providing crucial insights both into how these practices and beliefs are playing out in contemporary Melanesia, and also the types of interventions that are being trialled or debated to address the problems associated with them.

Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic

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ISBN: 9783039289592 / 9783039289608 Year: Pages: 160 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03928-960-8 Language: eng
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2020-06-09 16:38:57
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Witchcraft and magic are topics of enduring interest for many reasons. The main one lies in their extraordinary interdisciplinarity: anthropologists, folklorists, historians, and more have contributed to build a body of work of extreme variety and consistence. Of course, this also means that the subjects themselves are not easy to assess. In a very general way, we can define witchcraft as a supernatural means to cause harm, death, or misfortune, while magic also belongs to the field of supernatural, or at least esoteric knowledge, but can be used to less dangerous effects (e.g., divination and astrology). In Western civilization, however, the witch hunt has set a very peculiar perspective in which diabolical witchcraft, the invention of the Sabbat, the persecution of many thousands of (mostly) female and (sometimes) male presumed witches gave way to a phenomenon that is fundamentally different from traditional witchcraft. This Special Issue of Religions dedicated to Witchcraft, Demonology, and Magic features nine articles that deal with four different regions of Europe (England, Germany, Hungary, and Italy) between Late Medieval and Modern times in different contexts and social milieus. Far from pretending to offer a complete picture, they focus on some topics that are central to the research in those fields and fit well in the current “cumulative concept of Western witchcraft” that rules out all mono-causality theories, investigating a plurality of causes.

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