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Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Modernization of Magic

Archimandrite Grιgorios Κonstantinou
PhD in Theology

            Magician, witch or priest of the religion of Zoroastrianism for the people of Media: in classical antiquity this role referred to the priestly art of divination of Mazdaism (Zoroastrianism), who's practitioners were also known as magicians or “magi.” During the Hellenistic period the magicians of Persia travelled throughout the world offering their services to Roman Society at large. These services which they provided were enthusiastically accepted by those lacking formal education, who were then able even to penetrate into the Imperial Court of the Roman Emperors. However, this does not mean that these practices were accepted by those more culturally developed who manifestly disdained the magicians. For exactly this reason men of high culture began to use the term “magic” in order to highlight different evils which conveniently operated on the fringes of official religious practice. With the emergence of Christianity magic became understood as superstition, or more negatively as a deadly sin, by means of which the magicians attempted to counterfeit various religious rituals and in this way utilize the activity of the Devil. Given this a theological conflict quickly developed, in which God and the Devil were lined up in battle against one another. This resulted in the persecution of the magicians in equal measure by both religious and secular authorities, an incident which, by the time of the Middle-ages, resulted in no end to trials of magicians, where the guilty were sentenced to be “burned at the stake.”...