We are pleased to offer for review ‘A History of Science, Magic, and Belief: From Medieval to Early Modern Europe‘ by Steven P. Marrone (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities, but this book might be particularly suited to a historian.
‘A History of Science, Magic and Belief is an exploration of the origins of modern society through the culture of the middle ages and early modern period. By examining the intertwined paths of three different systems for interpreting the world, it seeks to create a narrative which culminates in the birth of modernity.
It looks at the tensions and boundaries between science and magic throughout the middle ages and how they were affected by elite efforts to rationalise society, often through religion. The witch-crazes of the sixteenth and seventeenth century are seen as a pivotal point, and the emergence from these into social peace is deemed possible due to the Scientific Revolution and the politics of the early modern state.
This book is unique in drawing together the histories of science, magic and religion. It is thus an ideal book for those studying any or all of these topics, and with its broad time frame, it is also suitable for students of the history of Europe or Western civilisation in general’.
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