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Magic and religion?

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Chapter Summary

This appendix section is debating the question whether there is a difference between magic and religion. H.S. Versnel is a declared follower of the etic approach, the use of concepts developed by us, in order to have a common platform for communication and discussion. There are five observations which throw doubt on his position. First, attention in the debate is always focused on the definition of magic, as if the meaning of religion is generally agreed upon. Secondly, the example of religion suggests that when analysing a concept it must be sensitive to its semantic development. Thirdly, we should consider that the ancients themselves did not oppose magic to religion. Fourthly, in these texts the contrast is not between magic and religion to out, but between magic and normative religious practice. Finally, neglecting the moment of birth of the opposition magic-religion is only recent and can be established fairly exactly.

Keywords: etic approach; H.S. Versnel; magic; religion



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