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This book reflects on Western humanity's efforts to escape from history and its terrors--from the existential condition and natural disasters to the endless succession of wars and other man-made catastrophes. Drawing on historical episodes ranging from antiquity to the recent past, and combining them with literary examples and personal reflections, Teofilo Ruiz explores the embrace of religious experiences, the pursuit of worldly success and pleasures, and the quest for beauty and knowledge as three primary responses to the individual and collective nightmares of history. The result is a profound meditation on how men and women in Western society sought (and still seek) to make meaning of the world and its disturbing history.
In chapters that range widely across Western history and culture, "The Terror of History" takes up religion, the material world, and the world of art and knowledge. "Religion and the World to Come" examines orthodox and heterodox forms of spirituality, apocalyptic movements, mysticism, supernatural beliefs, and many forms of esotericism, including magic, alchemy, astrology, and witchcraft. "The World of Matter and the Senses" considers material riches, festivals and carnivals, sports, sex, and utopian communities. Finally, "The Lure of Beauty and Knowledge" looks at cultural productions of all sorts, from art to scholarship.
Combining astonishing historical breadth with a personal and accessible narrative style, "The Terror of History" is a moving testimony to the incredibly diverse ways humans have sought to cope with their frightening history.
Based on twenty-seven years of original archival research, including the discovery of previously unknown documents, this day-by-day narrative of the hysteria that swept through Salem Village in 1692 and 1693 reveals new connections behind the events, and shows how rapidly a community can descend into bloodthirsty madness. Roach opens her work with chapters on the history of the Puritan colonies of New England, and explains how these people regarded the metaphysical and the supernatural. The account of the days from January 1692 to March 1693 keeps in order the large cast of characters, places events in their correct contexts, and occasionally contradicts earlier assumptions about the gruesome events. The last chapter discusses the remarkable impact of the events, pointing out how the 300th anniversary of the trials made headlines in Japan and Australia.
Journey into the underworld through three thousand years of visions of hell, from the ancient Near East to modern America From the Hebrew Bible's shadowy realm of Sheol to twenty-first-century visions of Hell on earth, The Penguin Book of Hell takes us through three thousand years of eternal damnation. Along the way, you'll take a ferry ride with Aeneas to Hades, across the river Acheron; meet the Devil as imagined by a twelfth-century Irish monk - a monster with a thousand giant hands; wander the nine circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno and witness the debates that raged in Victorian England when new scientific advances cast doubt on the idea of an eternal hereafter. Drawing upon religious poetry, epics, theological treatises, stories of miracles and accounts of saints' lives, this fascinating volume of hellscapes illuminates how Hell has long haunted us, in both life and death.
This book is a psychological exploration of unusual minds, a religious exploration of demonological myth, and a philosophical exploration of the reaches of pragmatism. It uses topics such as hypnotism, mediumship, and mass possession to argue for a comprehensive understanding of the demonic that acknowledges not only the creativity which it encourages, but also the danger it can bring. Professor Ruetenik uses James' religious pragmatism to evaluate the relevance of psychical research, and to explain common beliefs regarding demons, spirits, and other controlling personalities. The conclusion of this interdisciplinary research is as alarming as it is fascinating: When exploring the demons of William James, we discover that ordinary personality cannot be clearly separated from what we consider the demonic.
This amazing book is an essential reference and permanent resource for every aspirant. It is illustrated with original ary by Oberon and friends, as well as hundred of woodcuts from medieval manuscripts and alchemical texts--plus, charts, tables and diagrams.
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