Type: Exploratory
Pages: 1 | Words: 298
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Magic and science are regarded as two opposite phenomena. While the former uses beliefs, the latter uses empirical methods. According to Jolly, Peters, and Raudvere citing Flint, magic is the “˜preternatural control over nature’. However, they caution that there is no single definition. On the other hand, science is the “˜systematic knowledge of the material world’. This paper seeks to explore the meaning of magic in the medieval times, its difference with witchcraft, and how their conceptions changed after Renaissance. Magic and witchcraft belong to old religion but not science.

There are several differences between magic and witchcraft. While magic may happen without any manipulation by people, witchcraft involves casting of bad spells. As the name suggests, “˜craft’ is like a skill that is possessed by specific people. In this case, they are evil people. In some cases, what is considered magical can be scientifically explained, but witchcraft involves conspiracy with evil powers. According to Mantello and Rigg, medieval magic was celestial, ceremonial, or natural. In the medieval times, according to Kieckhefer, magicians were considered useful because they healed people and foretold future, prayed and blessed people, and protected them. Witchcraft was seen as the misuse of magic.

To illustrate how magicians differed from witchdoctors or sorcerers, Sherman observes that Morgan le Fay serves as the best example of a medieval magician. She is predominant in the German literature as being a source of good fortune. Sherman also gives another example of a magician of the time. The magician in Lanzalet saved a child, which is a proof that magicians were helpful while practitioners of witchcraft were destructive.

In conclusion, while magic is ideally constructive, witchcraft is destructive. The latter is the misuse of magical powers. It appears that the ideas in magic were developed into science after the Renaissance period.

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