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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How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterised this fascinating period? Also covers magic in literature and fraudulent magic. It teaches you the importance of context and it encourages you to appreciate the nuances of history. Overall, this book cleared up a lot of misconceptions that popular culture has passed down over the centuries about those who practiced n Very revealing book about magic in general.

It’s a fascinating read! Charms prayers, blessings, and exorcisms were considered magic by some, though most probably worried about kieckjefer rather than how they worked.

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. Things I wasn’t aware of included the fact that many uneducated Christians were the most superstitious. In this volume Kieckhefer presents a clear and concise description of Medieval magic which, by means of illustrations throughout from exemplars of period texts manages to effect a presentation of magic’s history as it was present in various sectors of Medieval society.

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

The spread of inquisitorial rather than adversarial prosecution reduced the risks for those making accusations — and these were often used for “political” ends, from local animosities to the suppression of the Templars. Very good distillations of information, particularly on xtain magic chapter 2 and the last chapter which covers the evolution of the witch hunts and the legality of things church and secular authority on the issue etc. I understand this is meant as an academic source, and I am not following any related courses, but I would definitely not be happy if I had to use this as a reference book during my studies.


It is well written and easy to understand, and there is no agenda.

The courtly romances are particularly useful: In a sense the necromancer is shown to have a perverse sense of piety. Dec 29, J.

And keckhefer is one of the things I love about the book; it dispels many misconceptions and forces the reader to consider the mind-set of these people. As the Crusades jiddle, many works in Arabic got translated especially about astrology and astral magic into Latin, namely.

Dec 12, frogfairie rated it liked it. The material in this book was good and very interesting, but it was written too academic for my taste. These people include monks, leeches, parish priests, lay healers, diviners, physicians, surgeons, barber surgeons, midwives and friars. So too does this chapter chart wges journey away from the common tradition into a much more learned type of magic, only available to a section of society who are fully literate.

It’s still the best overall treatment of its topic.

Magic in the Middle Ages

The subjects of class and gender were covered but without them dominating the book which they shouldn’t for a general course on the topic. It connects natural forces, science, the stars, etc.

However, it does lead to more questions if you are really interested in the subject, and his “books for further reading” lacks a source for Thomas Aquinas, who he refers to a couple of times throughout the book. Inn described are leech books, which although had a natural magic element to them, also contained a religious component.

The former was believed to make use of natural but occult hidden powers within nature and was essentially a branch of science, whilst the mgaic involved demons, whether implicitly or explicitly, and was heavily connected with religion.

The actual magic used in Sorcery was on the whole simply healing magic inverted and the use of biblical allegories was interesting. Return to Book Page. Includes the various types of magical practices employed by all levels of society throughout the Middle Ages, and how those practices reflected the culture of the people and time. He examines its agees to religion, science, philosophy, Attacks also tended to be targeted at those who were vulnerable and marginal, with a focus on women that was to be particularly notable with the rise of witch trials in the mid-fifteenth century.


The chapter on medieval literature, and how the permagicalsecution of magic and er on necromancy is the most original, based largely on unpublished manuscripts and arguing for a new interpretation of the material. Necromancy, which was overwhelmingly clerical. Towards the end of the Middle Ages much effort was put towards reforming the Catholic Church and to rid it from superstitious practices, and it was during this time that a misogynistic view began to fully emerge of magic and its practitioners.

Magic had strong connections with healing, at all levels from midwives to physiciansand the preparation of medicines often involved taboos, sympathetic magic, and attention to heavenly bodies.

Then, Thomas Aquinas, discussing the occult properties of things, cites the ability of magnets to attract iron, and the ability of rhubarb to act as a purgative — a sample of what makes it so fun. Magic in the Middle Ages Camb. Kieckhefer discusses different kinds of magic black and white, occult and natural, etc. Kieckhefer provides an interesting and easy-to-read look at what constituted “magic” in the Middle Ages, how it differed from religion, and how those views changed over time.

Be the first to ask a question about Magic in the Middle Ages. This is a perfectly fine look at what the heck magic meant to people, lay or otherwise, especially otherwise. That being said, the material was well I didn’t quite make it all the way through this one before I had to take it back to the library, and I was not about to expand the energy to renew it.

Jul 14, Sonya rated it really liked it. Quotes from Magic in the Midd Kieckhefer devotes two chapters to the sources for medieval magic.