• Jon Garrad deposited A Necessary Evil: Necromancy and Christian Death on Humanities Commons 5 years, 2 months ago

    This paper charts the changing definition of ‘necromancy’ throughout Christian history, and explores the reasons why ‘dead-speaking’ becomes ‘black magic’ within medieval Christian discourses and later occult scholarship. The paper contends that the doctrines of Purgatory and intercession compromise Christianity’s relationship with the dead, meaning that certain ‘dead-speaking’ practices have to become legitimate within Christian doctrine while others have to be controlled and legislated against. The semantic mutability of ‘necromancy’ in its Greek and Latin derived forms allows the word to hold two meanings, one of which is rendered near-synonymous with ‘witchcraft’ and thus rendered taboo.