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Sorcery

I share with one of my sons an academic interest in matters of the other world. During lockdown we read Paul Stoller’s introduction to his chapter on “Rationality” in Taylor’s (1998) edited volume “Critical terms for religious studies“.

Stoller recounts his fascinating experience of a nightly encounter with a Nigerian Wanzerbe sorcerer. He uses this “irrational” encounter to think about “rationality” as a term in the study of religions. Stoller’s account of the encounter is captivating and his comments insightful. Read it, if you have not. My son is 13 and found it gripping.

Ever since, we’ve been contemplating whether we should start “In sorcery’s shadow: A memoir of apprenticeship among the Songhay of Niger” by Stoller & Cheryl Olkes (1987), where Stoller talks in more detail about his experience of African sorcery.

And now, I have found another great resource for us to study. This time on otherworldly matters closer to home: “The Iranian Metaphysicals: Explorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny” by Alireza Doostdar. Academic knowledge and matters aside, this is such very well written book and reading it a delight.