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[Download E-pub] ♀ A Razor for a Goat: Problems in the History of Witchcraft and Diabolism ♰ First Published In , Elliot Rose S A Razor For A Goat Is A Study Of Witchcraft As A Religion, Whether The Religion Was A Form Of Pagan Survival Or A Depraved Christian Or Anti Christian Heresy Rose Surveyed Witch Scares, Fairy Folklore, Ritual Deaths, The Canon Episcopi Goliards For Evidence For Witchcraft, To Make Some Suggestions About The Reality Behind The Popular Beliefs On Witchcraft Societies Sabbats One Of The First Studies To Debunk The Dominant Theory Of The Time That Witchcraft Had Been An Organized Pre Christian Religion, A Razor For A Goat Is Listed On Many Anthropology, Religion History Course Bibliographies Closely Reasoned Written With A Rare Wit, A Razor For A Goat Is A Classic Study Excellent Survey Of The Literature History Of Witchcraft The Goat here is Master Leonard, the giant black goat of the Witches Sabbath The razor belongs to William of Ockham A Razor for a Goat first appeared in 1962 almost half a century now Bur Elliot Rose is still very useful for wielding that razor He neatly and wth great wit cuts through a huge amount of vapouring about medieval witchcraft utterly savaging Murray s Witch Cult in Western Europe and and all the Wiccan nonsense developed since British occultists discovered dancing naked in the woods back in the days of Frazer and Waite and the young Crowley A good serious, well researched, well thought through skewering of nonsense is always a pleasure to read. Writing in the early 1960s, Elliot Rose sought to demonstrate that then current hypotheses, proposed most notably by Margaret Murray, delineating a historically real witch cult behind the accusations, trials, and mass hysteria of the 16th 17th centuries had mistaken the interpretations and interpolations of folklore often pertaining to material only thematically related to witchcraft per se and trial evidence by educated Christians for a reliable description of a covertly surviving prehistoric pagan religious complex Indeed, Rose does his antagonists in this debate no injustice by the lengths to which he examines only to ultimately find wanting any conceivable line of argument which might be adduced as such evidence The reliance of Murray and her successors upon such material is explicable in light of the then c 1921 fashionable anthropological theories of J G Frazer and the like Rose attempts to temper the unversalizing comparative religion of that era with the slightly better anthropologically informed albeit still bound by cultural evolutionism comparative religion of the 60s, held together by a good deal of his own supposition and guesswork.It is at this point that his own positive argument shows its age, and its supersession by than fifty years of further research His theory is essentially one of an ecstatic cult or cults, prehistoric in origin, bearing the secret knowledge of narcotic plants Shortly before its historical appearance, he speculates, this loose subculture came under the influence and organizing tendency of the class of overeducated, unemployable minor clerics flooding from the schools of 13th century Paris, self conscious charlatans and self deluded mystics among them There is, quite simply, no evidence for anything like such a network of witches manipulated by out of luck goliards Rose s application of insights drawn from group psychology, while apposite, cannot amount to historical fact.The book concludes with a systematic demonstration of the logical incoherence of ascribing effective power to the Devil within a Christian cosmology, followed by a scathing repudiation of the historical veracity of the texts underpinning Gerald Gardner s modern witch religion.Rose s style is another likely reflection of the age in which the book was written he affects the conversational tone of popular nonfiction, yet clearly assumes a substantial knowledge of specialist subject matter on the part of his readers Worse, however, he writes with the smug nonchalance of one for whom the subject matter is insignificant if not contemptible, and whose only aim is to reveal the foolishness of others who have seriously written upon it.This book, while perhaps interesting as a snapshot of one moment within a very particular branch of intellectual history, is today obsolete in terms of its inherent intellectual value. Back when Tom lived in the neighborhood the two of us would often get together weekends for Scrabble, he being the one person around here who would give me a real run for the money On one such occasion, in fear of losing and desperate, I asked him if Til Eulenspeigel was ungoated much as a knight may have been said to have been unhorsed He, in some fugue state perhaps, or simply hoping I d be equally liberal when he asked a similar question, concurred I got the fifty points for using all my letters plus a triple word score He lost The experience scarred him.Thus, he began to refer to me publicly as the goat boy , capping off this, to others, occult reference with the presentation of Rose s A Razor for a Goat.A fortuitous coincidence, Rose s book was a plausible sociological reconstruction of what might have been behind the witchcraft craze Briefly, he suggests that the medieval international cathedral schools and universities were producing far scholars, all of whom held clerical rank and were versed in theology, than could be employed The disgruntled students, drop outs and graduates were organized, held meetings and left of record of complaints and petitions about their unfortunate circumstances The complaints were never effectively dealt with Consequently, Europe was awash with generations of unemployed, religiously educated clerics, many of whom returned to their rural hamlets to make what livings they could with their intellectual attainments and clerical status Some of them became hucksters, pandering to popular anxieties and superstitions Thus, wholesale diabolism became allied with homespun witchcraft a continuing problem of order for the established Church, especially now as it was being challenged from the margins of its ranks Thus, eventually, wholesale persecutions of those associated with such disorderly religion.Unlike Murray and other, previous scholars, Rose is distinguished for so closely associating the witchcraft phenomenon with the Church.