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The powers of evil in Western religion, magic and folk belief Hardcover – 1975
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Anyway, a fascinating study. My main initial complaint with it was that it entirely neglects Eastern cultures. Well, duh, the subtitle is "in Western Religion, Magic, and Folk Belief". (Cut me some slack: on my copy, "The Powers Of Evil" is in bold red letters and the sub-title doesn't appear except on the title page.)
Once I straightened out my own misunderstanding, I enjoyed the book thoroughly, particularly at first. Toward the end I started to feel as though the scholar had specific biases that were coming out. For example, Cavendish seems to find the idea of latent psychic abilities in man a more plausible explanation for certain phenomena than the presence of spirits (poltergeist phenomena, for example).
There was also a fair amount of outright contempt for Aleister Crowley, who probably deserves it for all I know, but which seemed out of place in a scholarly work. There were other passages which seemed to express contempt for Satanists that while often contextually understandable still seemed out of place. (I don't need any help to feel contempt for wrongdoers or megalomaniacs.) And I find that I have come away with a somewhat muddled view of Satanism though that must at least be attributed in part to the muddled views of many Satanists.
The ending seemed to flounder a bit, but that's really okay, since the book isn't necessarily trying to make some larger point that can be neatly wrapped up and driven home by a closing chapter. Ideas of evil are not at all a uniform package and I would've been suspicious of any over-arching conclusions made.
Overal, I found the work very interesting; not as dry as it could have been, and very thought-provoking.