Oriental Magic, by Idries Shah, is a study of magical practices in diverse cultures from Europe and Africa, through Asia to the Far East. Originally published in 1956 and still in print today, it was the first of this author’s 35 books. The work was launched with the encouragement of the anthropologist, Professor Louis Marin, who in his preface to the book stressed its “scholarly accuracy” and “real contribution to knowledge”.

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dbo:abstract
  • Oriental Magic, by Idries Shah, is a study of magical practices in diverse cultures from Europe and Africa, through Asia to the Far East. Originally published in 1956 and still in print today, it was the first of this author’s 35 books. The work was launched with the encouragement of the anthropologist, Professor Louis Marin, who in his preface to the book stressed its “scholarly accuracy” and “real contribution to knowledge”. Magic had long been considered outside the discipline of academic study, but Shah’s approach, which involved five years of study and field work, was – very unusually for the 1950s – multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural. His documented material came from archaeology, anthropology, history, religion, and psychology, as well as from artefacts, obscure manuscripts, and an impressive range of expert informants, who made (often unpublished) specialist material available to him. As a result, the secrecy and obfuscation around magical operations and practitioners was defused by the author’s informed, dispassionate approach to the array of arcane information he had assembled, some of it printed for the first time. Oriental Magic seems also to have been a clearly stated invitation for magic in general to be investigated as any other subject in the West would be, with coolness, objectivity and scientific method. The book in itself can be seen as providing a ground plan for future researchers, signalling useful directions their investigations might take, and specifying topics which might yield to further study. (en)
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  • United Kingdom (en)
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  • Eastern philosophy and culture (en)
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  • Philosophical Library (en)
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  • Oriental Magic, by Idries Shah, is a study of magical practices in diverse cultures from Europe and Africa, through Asia to the Far East. Originally published in 1956 and still in print today, it was the first of this author’s 35 books. The work was launched with the encouragement of the anthropologist, Professor Louis Marin, who in his preface to the book stressed its “scholarly accuracy” and “real contribution to knowledge”. (en)
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  • Oriental Magic (en)
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