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Margaret Alice Murray Biography - Magick Books Library
Soon after, one of the foremost specialists of the trial records, L'Estrange Ewen, brought out a series of books which rejected Murray's interpretation. Rose asserted that Murray's books on the witch-cult "contain an incredible number of minor errors of fact or of calculation and several inconsistencies of reasoning." He accepted that her case "could, perhaps, still be proved by somebody else, though I very much doubt it." Highlighting that there is a gap of about a thousand years between the Christianisation of Britain and the start of the witch trials there, he asserts that there is no evidence for the existence of the witch-cult anywhere in the intervening period. He further criticises her for treating pre-Christian Britain as a socially and culturally monolithic entity, whereas in reality it contained a diverse array of societies and religious beliefs. In addition to this, he challenged Murray's claim that the majority of Britons in the Middle Ages remained pagan as "a view grounded on ignorance alone".
Hutton noted that Murray was one of the earliest women to "make a serious impact upon the world of professional scholarship", and archaeologist Niall Finneran described her as "one of the greatest characters of post-war British archaeology". Upon her death, Daniel referred to her as "the Grand Old Woman of Egyptology", with Hutton noting that Egyptology represented "the core of her academic career". In 2014, Thornoton referred to her as "one of Britain's most famous Egyptologists." However, according to the archaeologist Ruth Whitehouse, Murray's contributions within archaeology and Egyptology were often overlooked as her work was overshadowed by that of Petrie, to the extent that she was often thought of primarily as one of Petrie's assistants rather than as a scholar in her own right. By her retirement she had come to be highly regarded within the discipline, although according to Whitehouse, Murray's reputation declined following her death, something that she attributed to the rejection of her witch-cult theory and the general erasure of women archaeologists from the discipline's male-dominated history.
Welcome to the Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis
Raised a devout by her mother, Murray had initially become a teacher in order to preach the faith. However, after entering the academic profession she rejected religion, gaining a reputation amongst other members of the Folklore Society as a noted and a . She was openly critical of organised religion, although continued to maintain a personal belief in a of some sort, relating in her autobiography that she believed in "an unseen over-ruling Power," "which science calls Nature and religion calls God." She was also a believer and a practitioner of , performing against those whom she felt deserved it: in one case she cursed a fellow academic, , when she felt that his promotion to the position of Professor of Egyptology over her friend was unworthy. Her curse entailed mixing up ingredients in a frying pan, and was undertaken in the presence of two colleagues. In another instance, she was claimed to have created a wax image of and then melted it during the First World War.
One of her friends in the Society, , described her as a "mine of information and a perpetual inspiration ever ready to impart her vast and varied stores of specialized knowledge without reserve, or, be it said, much if any regard for the generally accepted opinions and conclusions of the experts!" Davidson described her as being "not at all assertive ... [she] never thrust her ideas on anyone. [In relation to her witch-cult theory,] she behaved in fact rather like someone who was a fully convinced member of some unusual religious sect, or perhaps, of the , but never on any account got into arguments about it in public." The archaeologist observed that she remained mentally alert into her old age, commenting that "her vigour and forthrightness and ruthless energy never deserted her."
25/03/2011 · Original Article
The Italian historian has however been cited as being willing to give "some slight support" to Murray's theory. Ginzburg stated that while her thesis had been "formulated in a wholly uncritical way" and contained "serious defects", it did contain "a kernel of truth". He stated his opinion that she was right in claiming that European witchcraft had "roots in an ancient fertility cult", something that he argued was vindicated by his work researching the . Various historians and folklorists have however pointed out that Ginzburg's arguments are very different to Murray's: whereas Murray argued for the existence of a pre-Christian witches' cult whose members physically met during sabbats, Ginzburg argued that some of the European visionary traditions that were conflated with witchcraft in the Early Modern period had their origins in pre-Christian fertility religions.
Hutton stated that Murray had treated her source material with "reckless abandon", in that she had taken "vivid details of alleged witch practices" from "sources scattered across a great extent of space and time" and then declared them to be normative of the cult as a whole. Simpson outlined how Murray had selected her use of evidence very specifically, particularly by ignoring and/or rationalising any accounts of supernatural or miraculous events in the trial records, thereby distorting the events that she was describing. Thus, Simpson pointed out, Murray rationalised claims that the cloven-hoofed Devil appeared at the witches' Sabbath by stating that he was a man with a special kind of shoe, and similarly asserted that witches' claims to have flown through the air on broomsticks were actually based on their practice of either hopping along on broomsticks or smearing hallucinogenic salves onto themselves. Concurring with this assessment, historian Jeffrey B. Russell and Brooks Alexander stated that "Murray's use of sources in general is appalling". They went on to claim that "today, scholars are agreed that Murray was more than just wrong – she was completely and embarrassingly wrong on nearly all of her basic premises."
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Decompressive Craniectomy in Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury
In 1975, the historian commented that Murray's "knowledge of European history, even of English history, was superficial and her grasp of historical method was non-existent", adding that her ideas were "firmly set in an exaggerated and distorted version of the Frazerian mould." That same year, historian of religion described Murray's work as "hopelessly inadequate", containing "numberless and appalling errors". In 1996, feminist historian stated that while Murray's thesis was "intrinsically improbable" and commanded "little or no allegiance within the modern academy", she nevertheless felt that male scholars like Thomas, Cohn, and Macfarlane had unfairly adopted an androcentric approach by which they contrasted their own, male and methodologically sound interpretation against Murray's "feminised belief" about the witch-cult.
SCOTLAND EARLS - Foundation for Medieval Genealogy
Murray's work was increasingly criticised following her death in 1963, with the definitive academic rejection of the Murrayite witch-cult theory occurring during the 1970s. During these decades, a variety of scholars across Europe and North America – such as , Erik Midelfort, William Monter, Robert Muchembled, Gerhard Schormann, Bente Alver and Bengt Ankarloo – published in-depth studies of the archival records from the witch trials, leaving no doubt that those tried for witchcraft were not practitioners of a surviving pre-Christian religion. In 1971, English historian stated that on the basis of this research, there was "very little evidence to suggest that the accused witches were either devil-worshippers or members of a pagan fertility cult". He stated that Murray's conclusions were "almost totally groundless" because she ignored the systematic study of the trial accounts provided by Ewen and instead used sources very selectively to argue her point.
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Murray did not respond directly to the criticisms of her work, but reacted to her critics in a hostile manner; in later life she asserted that she eventually ceased reading reviews of her work, and believed that her critics were simply acting out of their own Christian prejudices to non-Christian religion. Simpson noted that despite these critical reviews, within the field of British folkloristics Murray's theories were permitted "to pass unapproved but unchallenged, either out of politeness or because nobody was really interested enough to research the topic." As evidence, she noted that no substantial research articles on the subject of witchcraft were published in between Murray's in 1917 and ' in 1963. However, she also highlighted that when regional studies of British folklore were published in this period by folklorists like , , or , none adopted the Murrayite framework for interpreting witchcraft beliefs, thus evidencing her claim that Murray's theories were widely ignored by scholars of .
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