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By Jeremy Northcote

Based on ten years of analysis into the politics of trust surrounding paranormal rules, the following, the writer asks no matter if debates over the magical can ever be fruitful, given the deep-seated discursive foundation of the several world-views of its participants.

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Indeed, the Church condemned the Cathari (also known as the Albigensians) in 1215 for their suggestion—amongst other things—that Satan posed a serious threat to God’s authority (Volz 1997:139). But this relatively assured stance towards the limits of Satan’s powers was to diminish over the coming centuries as the Church’s perception of magic and Satan changed, and supernatural dualism (that is, God versus Satan) became central to Church doctrine (Russel 1984:185). 6 2. The New Scholastics and the Satanic Threat When Thomas Aquinas, a devout Dominican friar and university professor, attempted a systematisation of Christian thought in the thirteenth century, the result was that both magic and the devil were firmly established in Church doctrine as being thoroughly diabolical.

Knowledge-construction, Bacon argued, should be a process of working upwards from an empirical foundation, not downward from metaphysical speculation or rumour. Although later empiricists such as David Hume were highly sceptical of occult claims, Bacon’s own open-mindedness suggests that empirical philosophy may not have been intrinsically opposed to, or incompatible with, occult ideas (particularly more empiricaloriented preternatural ideas). We need to look beyond these particular philosophies to identify the factors that influenced this early scepticism and helped sustain it in the post-Enlightenment period.

12. ” supremacy of God and the Church. Indeed, the Church condemned the Cathari (also known as the Albigensians) in 1215 for their suggestion—amongst other things—that Satan posed a serious threat to God’s authority (Volz 1997:139). But this relatively assured stance towards the limits of Satan’s powers was to diminish over the coming centuries as the Church’s perception of magic and Satan changed, and supernatural dualism (that is, God versus Satan) became central to Church doctrine (Russel 1984:185).

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