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The Myth of Disenchantment Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences

by Jason ?. Josephson-Storm

The Myth of Disenchantment Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences Synopsis

A great many theorists have argued that the defining feature of modernity is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths, or magic. Jason A. Josephson-Storm argues that as broad cultural history goes, this narrative is wrong, as attempts to suppress magic have failed more often than they have succeeded. Even the human sciences have been more enchanted than is commonly supposed. But that raises the question: How did a magical, spiritualist, mesmerized Europe ever convince itself that it was disenchanted? Josephson-Storm traces the history of the myth of disenchantment in the births of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, folklore, psychoanalysis, and religious studies. Ironically, the myth of mythless modernity formed at the very time that Britain, France, and Germany were in the midst of occult and spiritualist revivals. Indeed, Josephson-Storm argues, these disciplines' founding figures were not only aware of, but profoundly enmeshed in, the occult milieu; and it was specifically in response to this burgeoning culture of spirits and magic that they produced notions of a disenchanted world. By providing a novel history of the human sciences and their connection to esotericism, The Myth of Disenchantment dispatches with most widely held accounts of modernity and its break from the premodern past.

The Myth of Disenchantment Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences Press Reviews

I know of no other study that offers such an ambitious reassessment of the genealogy of the notion of disenchantment. Building on impressive historical research, Josephson-Storm offers innovative readings of foundational social scientific and theoretical texts. This book is a major addition to the critical literature exploring the origins and nature of modernity. --Randall Styers, author of Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World The implications of this book are vast and potentially revolutionary for the humanities. Josephson-Storm's mastery over the history of western philosophy, his sharp eye for the magical lives of the intellectuals, and his expertise in Japanese religion render his voice uniquely multidimensional, utterly original, and eerily persuasive. I am deeply excited about The Myth of Disenchantment and what it portends for both our academic fields and our human futures. --Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred

Book Information

ISBN: 9780226403366
Publication date: 13th June 2017
Author: Jason ?. Josephson-Storm
Publisher: University of Chicago Press an imprint of The University of Chicago Press
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 400 pages
Categories: Philosophy of religion,

About Jason ?. Josephson-Storm

Jason A. Josephson-Storm is associate professor in and chair of the Department of Religion at Williams College. He is the author of The Invention of Religion in Japan, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

More About Jason ?. Josephson-Storm

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