A General Theory of Magic (Routledge Classics) by Marcel Mauss

By Marcel Mauss

First written by means of Marcel Mauss and Henri Humbert in 1902, A basic conception of Magic won a large new readership while republished through Mauss in 1950. As a research of magic in 'primitive' societies and its survival at the present time in our ideas and social activities, it represents what Claude Lévi-Strauss referred to as, in an creation to that variation, the extraordinary modernity of the brain of 1 of the century's maximum thinkers. The publication deals a desirable photo of magic all through a number of cultures in addition to deep sociological and spiritual insights nonetheless greatly correct this day. At a interval whilst paintings, magic and technology seem to be crossing paths once more, A normal concept of Magic provides itself as a vintage for our instances.

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When somebody has recourse 29 30 a general theory of magic to a medicine man, the owner of a spirit-fetish, a bone-mender or a magician, there is certainly a need, but no moral obligation is involved. Nevertheless, there are examples of cults which are magical. There was the Hecate cult of Ancient Greece, the cult of Diana and the devil in the magic of the Middle Ages and the whole cult devoted to one of the greatest Hindu divinities, Rudra-Shiva. These, however, are examples of secondary developments and quite simply prove that magicians have themselves set up a cult which was modelled along the lines of religious cults.

Thus, as we said earlier, they really belong more to the world of the spirits than to the world of men. Thus, if a man does not qualify as a magician through his social status, he may nevertheless do so because of the coherent representations which are directed at him. A magician is a man who has special qualifications—special relationships and, more particularly, special powers. It is one of the highest classed professions and probably one of the first to be so. It is so bound up with social qualifications that individuals cannot simply join independently of their own accord.

Thus, if a man does not qualify as a magician through his social status, he may nevertheless do so because of the coherent representations which are directed at him. A magician is a man who has special qualifications—special relationships and, more particularly, special powers. It is one of the highest classed professions and probably one of the first to be so. It is so bound up with social qualifications that individuals cannot simply join independently of their own accord. And there have been many 49 50 a general theory of magic examples of magicians who were forced, in spite of themselves, to join the fraternity.

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