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The Myth of DisenchantmentMagic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences$
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Jason A. Josephson-Storm

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226403229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226403533.001.0001

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The Shadow of God

The Shadow of God

(p.94) Chapter Four The Shadow of God
The Myth of Disenchantment

Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm

University of Chicago Press

“The Shadow of God,” highlights a crucially important dialectical movement. It shows how a putative opposition between religion and science, combined with fears of despiritualization and mourning for the death of God, motivated the rise of spiritualism and occult movements, and contributed to the birth of religious studies as a discipline. Looking at Edward Burnett Tylor, Friedrich Max Müller, Éliphas Lévi, and Helena Blavatsky, it demonstrates how scholars, spiritualists, and magicians not only moved in common social circles, but also shared an engagement with spirits, mysticism, and “Oriental” mysteries. The chapter maps out the messy intermediate terrain between two spheres that considered themselves to be different and were sometimes opposed, but nevertheless exhibited the same basic habits of thought—including a myth of lost magic.

Keywords:   Edward Burnett Tylor, Friedrich Max Müller, Éliphas Lévi, Helena Blavatsky, Theosophy, Religious Studies, the death of God, mysticism, spiritualism, occultism, Georg Simmel

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