Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America

Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America

Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America

Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America

Synopsis

El pequeño yogui nació y creció lleno de salud, tranquilidad y confianza en sí mismo. Fue su deseo compartir estos beneficios con otros niños para que también emprendieran un maravilloso viaje mediante la práctica de Yoga. Por ello les entrega aquí, con reverencia, un compendio de posturas - acompañadas de sus poderosos nombres y de sencillas afirmaciones -, que los invita a aquietar la mente y acercarse espiritualmente al conocimiento del cuerpo, el movimiento y la respiración com vías para lograr la unión del ser. Namaste.

Excerpt

It is a daunting task to write a book about not one, not two, but three subjects that according to many fine scholars do not exist, namely religion, magic, and science. Winston L. King is one of many authorities in the field of Religious Studies to conclude that determining what religion is, is “a hopeless task.” Having struggled with the problem of defining magic, Olof Pettersson suggests it should be given “a decent burial.” And when it comes to science, Bruno Latour simply says, “ ‘Science’—in quotation marks—does not exist.” The response to such a wholesale rejection of the topics of this book cannot be in the same vein as the famous remark made by Justice Potter Stewart when called upon to define pornography, “I know it when I see it.” Many of us may think we know religion, magic, and science when we see them, but the truth is we don’t, and this book is about why we don’t and how what we think we know about all three came into existence during the early modern period itself. Our definitions of religion, magic, and science are just that, ours, modern definitions that have a long and contested history. Words, like ideas, beliefs, and institutions, have histories, and having a history means that things have not always been the same but change with changing circumstances. While this seems obvious, the implications are not always understood, much less accepted. For if language changes and the meanings of words are unstable, where is the Archimedean point from which we can view the world? This is an issue that has plagued authors from ancient times to the present. To put the issue in its simplest historical terms: if language is a gift of God and words consequently reflect a divinely ordained reality, then embedded in language are absolute, immutable meanings that lead to absolute, immutable truths. But if language is a human creation that changes over time, then man, to quote Clifford Geertz’s riff on Max Weber, is “an animal . . .

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