Exploring the Changing Contours of “Enchantment”


  • Jibu Mathew George The English and Foreign Languages University




Enchantment, Max Weber, Naturalism, Literary art, Death, Psyche, World creation, World appetite, World comprehension, World excess


By the phrase “disenchantment of the world” (Entzauberung der Welt), Max Weber meant: i) an understanding of the world increasingly by reference to natural forces, physical laws, and mechanical principles than to magical and supernatural powers; and ii) a development within religion from magic to rationalized paths to salvation devoid of magic. However, restricting exploration on enchantment, disenchantment, and re-enchantment to scholarly and historically specific meanings would exclude a large terrain of ordinary, non-religious human experience. The semantic flexibility of the terms enables one to explore a spectrum of so-called substitutive sources of re-enchantment: psyche, death, love, art, history, nature, and so on. To designate secular sources of enchantment exclusively as re-enchantments would restrict them to being substitutes to the religious. Further, not all religious imagination is enchanting; the nature of enchantment varies across the ideational spectrum of religious world views, and this article briefly examines the internal gradations. Based on its exploratory expansiveness vis-à-vis such diverse phenomena, the article argues that every object, entity, and experience is a potential source of enchantment, that enchantment and disenchantment in a larger sense have to do with the perspective one might bring to an otherwise inert world, and that enchantment occurs at the conjunction of the subject and the object.


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How to Cite

George, J. M. (2022). Exploring the Changing Contours of “Enchantment”. Implicit Religion, 24(1), 111–128. https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.21392