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Picture of The Position of Magic in Selected Medieval Spanish Texts

The Position of Magic in Selected Medieval Spanish Texts

Author(s): Francis Tobienne, Jr.
Subject: History

Book Description

“It is difficult to assess an explanation of a belief, or a belief system in words,” Tobienne begins, “and harder still to assign signification to such inexplicable conviction[s].” This book addresses the often blurred line[s] between magic, religion, and science within Spanish literature and history, and is divided into three parts.

The first section offers a brief overview of Spanish history from the fifth century through the seventh century and looks at the divide between “white” and “black” magic. White magic is often attributed to a divine agency, whereas black magic is the result of dark or demonic influences.

The second part of the book looks at Alfonso X (also known as el Sabio, or “the Wise”) and his Las Siete Partidas and Lapidario, and the role of how magic was received in the Spanish university system and translating centers and spaces within Alfonso’s court.

The final section examines two poems: Auto de Los Reyes Magos and the Vida de Santa María Egipciaca in terms of the white magic concepts of mirabilia and miracula. Collectively, these poems, alongside Bishop Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae, contribute to the discourse of a Medieval Spain and its rich, intellectual history and moreover, provide a launching pad into this discussion regarding a small window of quasi-tolerance in Spain amidst Muslims, Jews, and Christians.


ISBN-13: 978-1-8471-8496-2
ISBN-10: 1-84718-496-0
Date of Publication: 01/04/2008
Pages / Size: 125 / A5
Price: £29.99


Francis Tobienne, Jr., Ph.D. is a renaissance man who has been a Validation Biochemist for Pralex Corporation as well as an Environmental Chemist for the Fortune 500 Company Amerada Hess Oil. Dr. Tobienne is also a medieval scholar and cultural critic, a published poet and short story writer, award-winning professor, award-winning author, and award-winning cover-art artist (mainly oil-on-canvas). He received his education from TRINITY COLLEGE, HARVARD and PURDUE and elected to Phi Beta Kappa continues to defend the Humanities, Liberal Arts & Science. Dr. Tobienne is also a research fellow at the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida--USA.

Further, his poetry can be found in Afroeurpa: Journal of Afroeuropean Studies, Harvard University's The Dudley Review (Harvard UP), and The Matthew House Project. He has written numerous articles and book reviews on cultural matters for the Purdue BCC Newsletter, Hortulus, The Sycamore Review, The Sixteenth Century Journal and Callaloo. He hopes to continue his teaching, researching and writing at USF—SP where he has taken up root, and though originally from St. Croix—Virgin Islands, looks forward to calling Florida a home away from home.