Review of Brian Copenhaver, Magic in Western Culture


My review of Brian Copenhaver’s book Magic in Western Culture: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 2015) has just been published on the Institute for Historical Research’s Reviews in History website. Professor Copenhaver’s book is arguably the most comprehensive history of Renaissance magic – tracing its roots in the Neoplatonism of Late Antiquity – since the work of Frances Yates. Copenhaver directly challenges Yates’ claim that early modern magic was founded on Hermetic ideas and shows that, in reality, it was the Neoplatonists who were the major influence. This is a fascinating and very important book to the historiography of ideas.


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