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The main topics of the volume-series:
The two subsequent volumes will be:



Communicating with the Spirits




This is the first volume of a series of three, containing 11 essays of altogether 43 articles based on the topics of the interdisciplinary conference held on this topic in Budapest in 1999.

The authors - recognized historians, ethnologists, folklorists coming from 4 continents - present the latest research findings of an important area of universal human mental experiences and techniques and basic religious-ethnological concepts.

The main topics of the volume-series:

Recent research in folklore studies, historical anthropology, history of religion, ethno-psychiatry and other disciplines on the relationship, coexistence and conflicts of popular belief systems, Judeo-Christian mythology and demonology in medieval and modern Europe. Local differences in the structures of various European popular mythologies, in the degree of influence of Jewish and Christian demonology, divergence between Western and Eastern evolution, and consequently the different relationship of learned demonology to popular belief systems in the two parts of Europe. Phenomenological and theoretical inquiry concerning typical concepts, actors and situations related to this problem: witchcraft, sorcery, trance, vision, possession; the conflict of saints, healers, seers, shamans with the representatives of evil; the special function of escorting, protecting, possessing, harming and healing spirits; the role of the dead, the ghosts, of pre-Christian, Jewish and Christian spirit-world, the antagonism of the devil and the saint. Within these topics, the relationship between rites and beliefs, folklore and literature; the examination of temporal changes; the legacy of various pre-Christian mythologies; the study of syncretic forms of ancient, medieval and modern belief- and rite-systems; "pure" examples from religious-ethnological research outside Europe to elucidate European problems.

The present volume focuses on the problem of communication with the other world: the phenomenon of spirit possession and its changing historical interpretations, the imaginary schemes elaborated for giving accounts of the journeys to the other world, for communicating with the dead, and finally the historical archetypes of this type of religious manifestation – trance prophecy, divination, and shamanism.

The two subsequent volumes will be:

Christian Demonology and Popular Mythology
Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions

Éva Pócs & Gábor Klaniczay
Place of Printing:
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