Magic, Mystery, and Science

Magic, Mystery, and Science

The Occult in Western Civilization
Danny Ethus Burton and David A. Grandy
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 12/04/2003
Format: Paperback 51 b&w photos, 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21656-4
Bookmark and Share
Buy from Amazon


2003 History Book of the Year Award Finalist, ForeWord Magazine

[P.D. Ouspensky’s] yearning for a transcendent, timeless reality—one that cancels out physical disintegration and death—figures into science at some fundamental level.

Einstein found solace in his theory of relativity, which suggested to him that events are ever-present in the space-time continuum. When his friend Michele Besso passed on shortly before his own death, he wrote: 'For us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.'" —from Magic, Mystery, and Science

The triumph of science would appear to have routed all other explanations of reality. No longer does astrology or alchemy or magic have the power to explain the world to us. Yet at one time each of these systems of belief, like religion, helped shed light on what was dark to our understanding. Nor have the occult arts disappeared. We humans have a need for mystery and a sense of the infinite.

Magic, Mystery, and Science presents the occult as a "third stream" of belief, as important to the shaping of Western civilization as Greek rationalism or Judeo-Christianity. The occult seeks explanations in a world that is living and intelligent—quite unlike the one supposed by science. By taking these beliefs seriously, while keeping an eye on science, this book aims to capture some of the power of the occult. Readers will discover that the occult has a long history that reaches back to Babylonia and ancient Egypt. It proceeds alongside, and frequently mingles with, religion and science. From the Egyptian Book of the Dead to New Age beliefs, from Plato to Adolf Hitler, occult ways of knowing have been used—and hideously abused—to explain a world that still tempts us with the knowledge of its dark secrets.

Author Bio

Dan Burton is Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at the University of North Alabama. He lives in Florence, Alabama.

David Grandy is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Brigham Young University. He earned a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science at Indiana University. He resides in Orem, Utah.

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
1. Egyptians and the Occult
2. Magic and Miracles
3. Numerology, the Cabala, and Alchemy
4. Astrology: The Starry Heavens Above
5. Ancient Evil
6. Satans, Demons, and Jinn
7. Witches and Witch-hunts in the West
8. Spirits, Science, and Pseudoscience in the 19th Century
9. New Age Preludes: Up the Garden Path?
10. ESP and Psi Phenomena
11. Nazism and Ancestral German Memories
12. UFO and Alien Abductions
13. Gnosticism, Old and New
14. NDEs, New Age, and New Physics
List of Illustration Credits