"There are forces better recognized as belonging to human society than repressed or left to waste away or growl about upon its fringes." So writes Valerie Flint in this powerful work on magic in early medieval Europe. Flint shows how many of the more discerning leaders of the early medieval Church decided to promote non-Christian practices originally condemned as magical--rather than repressing them or leaving them to waste away or "growl." These wise leaders actively and enthusiastically incorporated specific kinds of "magic" into the dominant culture not only to appease the contemporary non-Christian opposition but also to enhance Christianity itself.
"Flint combines a bold thesis and sophisticated historiography with impeccable scholarship. Her semantic disentangling of contemporary texts and their various terms is as sensitive as her contextual interpretation of them... Flint writes with verve and style. This is an extraordinarily good book."--Patrick Curry, History Today "In this large, brave and erudite book, Valerie Flint sets out to rescue the preternatural aspects of medieval culture from the opprobrium with which Reformation polemicists attacked them, and to understand magic, both 'Christian magic' and non-Christian, on its own terms... This is a book which will inevitably arouse welcome and refreshing controversy."--Julia Smith, Early Medieval Europe "Diligently researched and well-written survey of what antiquity and churchmen between the fifth and eleventh centuries had to say about magical beliefs and practices, and what the Church and State should do about them."--The Times Literary Supplement