So, I didn’t actually even finish this book, after about 50 pages and then thumbing through the rest I was just too thoroughly disgusted to finish. Is it that impossible to write a historical book unbiased? This so-called History book is HEAVILY influenced on Christianity and its EFFECT on Witchcraft and magic; for or against this influence I’m not even entirely sure, but the bias remains. The first chapter glosses over ‘pagan’ deities and their influence, rarely talks about the actual practices performed and spends paragraphs talking about how Christians REACTED to it.
I’m frustrated by this book. I wanted an honest look at the different kinds of witchcraft and magic throughout history for research purposes and the writers couldn’t get their heads out of their asses long enough to not just focus on the Judeo-Christian influences. And I get how largely these monotheistic religions affected life in the Western Civilizations, but it’s not what the book was supposed to be about. If you are going to write a book detailing a certain subject you write about that subject, not how another subject influenced it, at least not to the point that this book went with it.
Briefly and in overly complicated language the writer would occasionally talk about a specific practice performed, but this was usually immediately followed by how it was then changed or abandoned due to Christianity. This focus is highly BIASED, as he also undermines other religions, such as Judaism, Islam as having minimal effects on occult (also a very biased term) and since he does ‘cover’ practices as far as Egypt and Iraq to undermine these religions and their effects on ancient ‘pagan’ practices undercuts their importance. I also believe in minimizing the historical importance of Ancient Gods such as Odin and the Greek Gods, not to mention the dozen others he chose not to mention (including Irish and Scottish theology and history such as the Celts) or the interplay between these communities is highly ignorant. And honestly if you are going to pick and choose what you consider important then at least be honest in your title and description. “The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity on Occult Practices”. See? Easy, peasy, and no one wastes their time.