5. When No "Magic" Dwells

Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion - Barbara Krawcowicz

Andrew Durdin [+-]
Florida State University
Andrew Durdin is assistant teaching professor in the Department of Religion at Florida State University. His work focuses on critical approaches to the study of religion with an emphasis on the Roman imperial period, the modern historiography of ancient religions, and magic and religion in the ancient and modern world.


By surveying the category of magic in J. Z. Smith’s work, and specifically by focusing on his essay “Trading Places,” Andrew Durdin argues that a closer engagement with Smith’s use of the category of magic can clarify his methodological concepts of redescription and rectification, and, in turn, usefully enlarge Smith’s theoretical contributions for future work in the study of religion. According to Durdin, “trading places” is another rendering of Smith’s notions of redescription and rectification, key components of his proposed method of comparison. By comparing different articulations Smith has given for redescription and rectification, Durdin shows that “trading places” can be understood as a more radical view of these two components, insofar as Smith calls for the full rejection of a standard academic term, magic, rather than simply suggest critical self-consciousness, as he does with religion.

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Durdin, Andrew. 5. When No "Magic" Dwells. Thinking with J. Z. Smith - Mapping Methods in the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Oct 2023. ISBN 9781781799840. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=39929. Date accessed: 26 Nov 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.39929. Oct 2023

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