Next Article in Journal
Existential Choice as Repressed Theism: Jean-Paul Sartre and Giorgio Agamben in Conversation
Next Article in Special Issue
What Would the Goddess Do? Isis, Radical Grandmothers, and Eliza Sharples “All Reform Will Be Found to Be Inefficient that Does Not Embrace the Rights of Woman.”
Previous Article in Journal
One Life/Many Lives: An Internal Hindu-Christian Dialogue
Previous Article in Special Issue
Learning and Unlearning: Some Reflections on Feminist Praxis and Pedagogic Practice in Religious Studies and Religious Education
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Religions 2018, 9(4), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9040105

In the Study of the Witch: Women, Shadows, and the Academic Study of Religions

Central Michigan University, Philosophy and Religion Department, AN 288, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859, USA
Received: 26 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feminisms and the Study of “Religions”)
Full-Text   |   PDF [328 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]

Abstract

This article examines historically competing categories of magic and religion and their gendered traces in the history of religious studies. On one hand, we have a genealogy that traces the term, “magic”, back to an early modern European Christianity trying to understand itself through contrast with an imagined heresy that comes to be personified with a woman’s face. On the other, we have contemporary political and religious communities that use the identification as Witches to reverse this version of dichotomous Christian gaze and legitimize religious difference, which also comes to be symbolized by a female body. Between these historical moments we have the beginning of the academic study of religion, the theoretical turn in which Christian-dominant scholarship comes to see itself on a continuum with, rather than opposed to, different religions, as first characterized by cultural evolution theories about the origins of religion. Especially given the field’s theological roots, examining the constructed relationships between religion and magic, both of which represent crucial foci for early theorists, through the analytical lens of gender, which does not, provides opportunities to surface implicit assumptions of the current field about what is and is not worth studying. View Full-Text
Keywords: gender; women’s spirituality; witchcraft; anthropology; early modern Europe; matriarchy; prehistory; feminism; magic; cultural evolution gender; women’s spirituality; witchcraft; anthropology; early modern Europe; matriarchy; prehistory; feminism; magic; cultural evolution
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Zwissler, L. In the Study of the Witch: Women, Shadows, and the Academic Study of Religions. Religions 2018, 9, 105.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Religions EISSN 2077-1444 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert Logo copyright Steve Bridenbaugh/UUA
Back to Top