Exploring the Changing Contours of “Enchantment”

Authors

  • Jibu Mathew George The English and Foreign Languages University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/imre.21392

Keywords:

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

Abstract

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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Published

2022-10-03

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

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Articles