Tag Archives: modern world

Religion & the Decline of Magic

Religion & the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas, the 1971 paperback from Scribners, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Keith Thomas Religion & the Decline of Magic from Scribners

Religion & the Decline of Magic is Keith Thomas’s classic history of the magical beliefs held by people on every level of English society in the 16th and 17th centuries and how these beliefs were a part of the religious and scientific assumptions of the time. It is not only a major historical and religious work, but a thoroughly enjoyable book filled with fascinating facts and original insights into an area of human nature that remains controversial today—the belief in the supernatural that still continues in the modern world.” — back cover


The Homeric Hymn to Demeter

The Homeric Hymn to Demeter: Translation, Commentary, and Interpretative Essays, edited by Helene P Foley, 3rd printing of the 1994 paperback published by Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Helene P Foley The Homeric Hymn to Demeter from Princeton University Press

“The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, composed in the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.E., is a key to understanding the psychological and religious world of ancient Greek women. The poem tells how Hades, lord of the underworld, abducted the goddess Persephone and how her grieving mother, Demeter, the goddess of grain, forced the gods to allow Persephone to return to her for part of each year. Helene Foley presents the Greek text and an annotated translation of the Hymn, together with selected essays by Helene Foley, Mary Louise Lord, Jean Rudhardt, Nancy Felson-Rubin and Harriet M. Deal, Marilyn Arthur Katz, and Nancy Chodorow. These essays give the reader a rich understanding of the Hymn’s structure and artistry, its role in the religious life of the ancient world, and its meaning for the modern world. The authors also study the Hymn in the context of early Greek epic and cosmology, examine its critical attitude to the institution of marriage, and analyze the dynamics of mother-daughter relations in the poem.” — back cover