By Joshua Gunn
The occult has usually been understood because the learn of secrets and techniques of the perform of mysticism or magic. This ebook broadens our realizing of the occult by way of treating it as a rhetorical phenomenon tied to language and logos and extra valuable to American tradition than is usually assumed.
Joshua Gunn techniques the occult as an idiom, analyzing the ways that acts of textual feedback and interpretation are occultic in nature, as obvious in practices as assorted as educational scholarship, Freemasonry, and tv creation. Gunn probes, for example, the ways that jargon hired through a number of social teams creates limitations and fosters secrecy. From the idea wars of cultural experiences to the Satanic Panic that swept the nationwide mass media within the overdue Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties, Gunn exhibits how the ambiguity of a hidden, buried, or mystery that means that can not be expressed in language looks time and time back in Western culture.
These recurrent styles, Gunn argues, come up from a generalized, well known nervousness approximately language and its obstacles. eventually, Modern Occult Rhetoric demonstrates the indissoluble courting among language, secrecy, and exposure, and the centrality of suspicion in our day-by-day lives.
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Additional resources for Modern Occult Rhetoric: Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century
In the name of the same, your God, lift up, I say, yourselves. 32 The call cited at length here is signi¤cant because of the central place it secures for the Christian God. Augustine’s condemnation of magic as being inherently demonic is thus met here with verse that posits a thoroughly Christian magic, one that Dee defended as entirely in keeping with his Protestant faith. The signi¤cance of this move—a common one in occult texts during this period—is that it re®ects Dee’s growing fear of persecution.
16 I use the term “origin narrative” rather than “history” quite deliberately for two reasons. First, the origin narrative often told by occultists is fanciful and often inaccurate according to even the most relative of documentary standards. Second, although the cursory narrative I provide below is easily documented, the fact remains that any history is shot through with contemporary schemes of coherence. ”17 In other words, history as it is commonly conceived consists of an imposition of pattern only discernible in retrospect, and wed to a common, Hegelian notion of historical progress, the pattern can too easily overwhelm contingency.
Practiced and cultivated by the Masters for a millennia . . preserved since the time of Christ . . ” For me the term resonates with “fabric” and “woven,” two metaphors Erika and I would hear time and time again during our experience with the group. This trinity of terms suggests the exotic and antique, a cherished cloth, an ancient veil. Coupled with the red-and-orange image of a foreboding sky, the pamphlet reminded me of the Western romance of India, the collective appropriation of Indian “exotica” in the pages of coffeetable books and on the screens of televisions: the chalky reds speak of images of poverty, closely associated with a dusty, orange earth; brown bodies bathing in sacred polluted rivers; a meditation and turning inward through the third eye which unites the external with 28 / interlude the eternal; Ben Kingsley walking through dusty streets, trailed by children, tanned and Gandhi-ed, demonstrating how class boundaries become porous though self-denial and a highly theatrical version of starvation.