History of the CONCEPT of MAGICwithDr Bernd-Christian Otto

#magick #esoteric #witchcraft

00:00 Intro to Dr Bernd-Christian Otto

02:06 How the understanding of Magic developed

11:18 Stephen Skinner & Goetia

12:05 Fluidity of Western Learned Magic

12:45 Practitioners are not irrational

14:00 Witchcraft vs Ceremonial Magic

15:20 Witch Hunts & Western Learned Magic

17:45 Magic as a Floating Signifier

23:53 Resilience of Magic, why does magic still exist?

33:00 Magic is now Positive

35:25 The New Zeitgeist of Magic

39:45 Pop Culture and Witch Aesthetics

45:10 Academic Field of Esotericism

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Dr Bernd-Christian Otto Contact Details:



(1) Otto, Bernd-Christian, Magie. Rezeptions- und diskursgeschichtliche Analysen von der Antike bis zur Neuzeit, Berlin: De Gruyter 2011.

 My PhD book on the conceptual history of magic

(2) Otto, Bernd-Christian and Stausberg, Michael, Defining Magic: A Reader, London: Routledge 2013.

 A reader with important historical and academic sources on how to define and theorise magic

(3) Bellingradt, Daniel and Otto, Bernd-Christian, Magical Manuscripts in Early Modern Europe. The Clandestine Trade in Illegal Book Collections, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan 2017.

 A co-authored monograph on the extensive collection of magical manuscripts today stored in Leipzig university library (Ms. Leipzig Cod. Mag. 1-142)

(4) Otto, Bernd-Christian and Johannsen, Dirk (eds.), Fictional practice: Magic, narration, and the power of imagination, Leiden: Brill 2021.

 A NEW co-edited anthology on the relationship between fiction and practice in the history of magic

(5) Otto, Bernd-Christian, “Historicising ‘Western learned magic’: preliminary remarks”, in: Aries 16 (2016), 161–240.

 Maybe the most important text I have ever written, a programmatic article on how to conceptualise and historicise ‘Western learned magic’

(6) Otto, Bernd-Christian, “The Illuminates of Thanateros and the Institutionalization of Religious Individualization”, in: Martin Fuchs et al. (eds.), Religious Individualisation: Historical Dimensions and Comparative Perspectives, Berlin: de Gruyter 2019, 759-96.

 An article on Chaos magick and the ‘ice magick war’

Further references mentioned during the interview:

Hanegraaff, Wouter J., “How magic survived the disenchantment of the world”, in: Religion 33/4 (2003), 357–380.

Luhrmann, Tanya, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989.

Partridge, Christopher, The Re-enchantment of the West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralisation, Popular Culture, and Occulture, 2 vols., London: T & T Clark International 2004/05.

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Published on September 26, 2021