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A Razor for a Goat Problems in the History of Witchcraft and Diabolism

Summary Õ PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ↠ Elliot Rose

First published in 1962 Elliot Rose's A Razor for a Goat is a study of witchcraft as a religion whether the religion was a form of pagan survival or a depraved Christian or anti Christian heresy Rose surveyed witch scares fairy folklore 'ritual' deaths t. Richard Kieckhefer in his foreward to the edition I read makes a decent point regarding A Razor for a Goat at the time given the information available Razor could be seen as a revolutionary overturning the old order work With time and the appearance and in one important case disappearance of evidence shedding further light on events it's less revolutionary revisionary — a step away from the earlier theories but only just a stepRose is at his best when he's attacking Margaret Murray's theory of the European witch cult as a representation of continuous pagan survival pointing out areas where her theories run afoul of Occam's Razor Spots where with lack of any concrete evidence her constructions multiply the number of coincidences and complexities needed over simpler interpretations and theoriesHe's at his worst however when he tries to formulate alternate theories for the witch hysteria of the Middle Ages So often he comes close to the truth but shies away — never willing to take that final step and discount the entire theory of the witch cult and thereby coming up with his own theories that to borrow a phrase of his are in need of shaving He's not helped in this regards by the fact that due to the period when this work was written he relies on outdated and occasionally even unknowingly on forged evidence Revelations that in the latter case wouldn't come to light until a few years laterAs the first major step away from the theories of Murray and company it's an important historical work As a source of history of potentially valid historical theories it's complete and absolute rubbish At most it's a one and a half to two star work but it gains an extra half to full star because I'm willing to admit to occasionally being a petty man and I'll never say no to watching the theories of Murray and James Frazer and Robert Graves getting a good kicking

Review A Razor for a Goat Problems in the History of Witchcraft and Diabolism

He Canon Episcopi goliards for evidence for witchcraft to make some suggestions about the reality behind the popular beliefs on witchcraft societies Sabbats One of the first studies to debunk the dominant theory of the time that witchcraft had been an or. Writing in the early 1960s Elliot Rose sought to demonstrate that then current hypotheses proposed most notably by Margaret Murray delineating a historically real witch cult behind the accusations trials and mass hysteria of the 16th 17th centuries had mistaken the interpretations and interpolations of folklore – often pertaining to material only thematically related to witchcraft per se and trial evidence by educated Christians for a reliable description of a covertly surviving prehistoric pagan religious complex Indeed Rose does his antagonists in this debate no injustice by the lengths to which he examines only to ultimately find wanting any conceivable line of argument which might be adduced as such evidence The reliance of Murray and her successors upon such material is explicable in light of the then c 1921 fashionable anthropological theories of J G Frazer and the like Rose attempts to temper the unversalizing comparative religion of that era with the slightly better anthropologically informed albeit still bound by cultural evolutionism comparative religion of the '60s held together by a good deal of his own supposition and guessworkIt is at this point that his own positive argument shows its age and its supersession by than fifty years of further research His theory is essentially one of an ecstatic cult or cults prehistoric in origin bearing the secret knowledge of narcotic plants Shortly before its historical appearance he speculates this loose subculture came under the influence and organizing tendency of the class of overeducated unemployable minor clerics flooding from the schools of 13th century Paris self conscious charlatans and self deluded mystics among them There is uite simply no evidence for anything like such a network of witches manipulated by out of luck goliards Rose's application of insights drawn from group psychology while apposite cannot amount to historical factThe book concludes with a systematic demonstration of the logical incoherence of ascribing effective power to the Devil within a Christian cosmology followed by a scathing repudiation of the historical veracity of the texts underpinning Gerald Gardner's modern witch religionRose's style is another likely reflection of the age in which the book was written; he affects the conversational tone of popular nonfiction yet clearly assumes a substantial knowledge of specialist subject matter on the part of his readers Worse however he writes with the smug nonchalance of one for whom the subject matter is insignificant if not contemptible and whose only aim is to reveal the foolishness of others who have seriously written upon itThis book while perhaps interesting as a snapshot of one moment within a very particular branch of intellectual history is today obsolete in terms of its inherent intellectual value

Summary Õ PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ↠ Elliot Rose

Ganized pre Christian religion A Razor for a Goat is listed on many anthropology religion history course bibliographies Closely reasoned written with a rare wit A Razor for a Goat is a classic study excellent survey of the literature history of witchcraf. Back when Tom lived in the neighborhood the two of us would often get together weekends for Scrabble he being the one person around here who would give me a real run for the money On one such occasion in fear of losing and desperate I asked him if Til Eulenspeigel was ungoated much as a knight may have been said to have been unhorsed He in some fugue state perhaps or simply hoping I'd be eually liberal when he asked a similar uestion concurred I got the fifty points for using all my letters plus a triple word score He lost The experience scarred himThus he began to refer to me publicly as the goat boy capping off this to others occult reference with the presentation of Rose's A Razor for a GoatA fortuitous coincidence Rose's book was a plausible sociological reconstruction of what might have been behind the witchcraft craze Briefly he suggests that the medieval international cathedral schools and universities were producing far scholars all of whom held clerical rank and were versed in theology than could be employed The disgruntled students drop outs and graduates were organized held meetings and left of record of complaints and petitions about their unfortunate circumstances The complaints were never effectively dealt with Conseuently Europe was awash with generations of unemployed religiously educated clerics many of whom returned to their rural hamlets to make what livings they could with their intellectual attainments and clerical status Some of them became hucksters pandering to popular anxieties and superstitions Thus wholesale diabolism became allied with homespun witchcraft a continuing problem of order for the established Church especially now as it was being challenged from the margins of its ranks Thus eventually wholesale persecutions of those associated with such disorderly religionUnlike Murray and other previous scholars Rose is distinguished for so closely associating the witchcraft phenomenon with the Church

  • Paperback
  • 272
  • A Razor for a Goat Problems in the History of Witchcraft and Diabolism
  • Elliot Rose
  • English
  • 04 July 2019
  • 9780802067685