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Titel:Magic everywhere? On the Conceptualisation of Jewish Amulets in Museums
Autor:Meininghaus, Alisha
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:04-es2022-00920
DDC:100 Philosophie



Magic is a topic that fascinates scholars and curators as well as visitors to museums. The numerous exhibitions on magic are an expression of the great academic and non-academic interest in this field. This can be understood in the context of the appreciation discourse (‘Aufwertungsdiskurs’) on magic, which Bernd-Christian Otto ascribes to the present day. Previously, in the course of its 2500-year history, the term magic appeared in Greek, Roman, and Christian sources to designate phenomena that were branded as harmful, immoral, fraudulent, or ineffective. Persons defamed as magicians were therefore excluded, devalued, and sometimes threatened with the death penalty. It is therefore not surprising that the use of the term as a positive self-designation was the absolute exception until the end of the 19th century. It is interesting to note that for some observers, similar phenomena could be described pejoratively as magic when encountered outside of the observer’s own context, and yet as miracles when found within it. In its beginnings, the study of religion adopted the negative connotations of the term magic from its roots in Christian theology and the European Enlightenment. Thus, magic as an academic meta-category appeared as the inferior opposite of either religion or science and was especially attributed to non-European cultures.

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