Occultism and the Ambiguities of the Modern

in The Place of Enchantment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226642017
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226642031 | DOI:
Occultism and the Ambiguities of the Modern

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Occultism was often represented as a science, and occultists played by the straightforward rule that specific magical procedures produce predictable and specified results. Occultists refused to understand the relationship between reason and reality in conventional terms, arguing instead that in their post-Enlightenment incarnations both concepts were fatally flawed. Weberian theory was refined and modified during the course of its application in different domains, but within the revisionist Marxist Frankfurt School, Weber's assessment of the Enlightenment legacy was revisited with particular urgency as the European events of 1930 and 1940 unfolded. Thus, advanced occult theory and magical practice represented a reworking of the concept and experience of self that underscored the self's contingency while anchoring it in the coherent and spiritualized realm of human consciousness.

Keywords: Occultism; post-Enlightenment incarnations; Weberian theory; Enlightenment legacy; occult theory

Chapter.  8734 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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