Books · Special Days

Halloween with The Lutterworth Press

Trick-or-treat; a very short history:

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.

Haunting this Halloween? Or just have a taste for magic?

We might just have the book for you.

Click to see our list of spook-tacular, Lutterworthy titles below…


The Book of the Toad

A Natural and Magical History of Toad-Human Relations

By Robert DeGraaff

This comprehensive and entertaining compendium of toad lore surveys the history of the toad as biological entity, literary and artistic subject, mythological symbol, and threatened species. It brings to light a number of unexpected details regarding the life of the toad, ranging from its role as insect eater in gardens and pharmaceutical ingredient in shamanic hallucinogens, to its time honoured place in witchcraft and its apotheosis in stars as the constellation Bufo.

Robert DeGraaff’s offbeat history is exhaustively researched, scientifically precise, graced with high colour art reproductions and illustrations, and written with uncommon wit and humour. Far more than a volume for bufophiles, this is a uniquely insightful and engaging look at how humans through the ages have responded to and have been influenced by their amphibian neighbours.

Recent praise for The Book of the Toad includes:

“With the aid of beautiful illustrations, the mixed fortunes of the toad in its multifarious roles throughout different ages and cultures are meticulously researched to make absorbing reading … at once an act of homage and voluptuous scholarship.”
The Countryman


Jesus and Magic

Freeing the Gospel Stories from Modern Misconceptions

By Richard A. Horsley

It has become standard in modern interpretation to say that Jesus performed miracles, and even mainline scholarly interpreters classify Jesus’s healings and exorcisms as miracles. Some highly regarded scholars have argued, more provocatively, that the healings and exorcisms were magic, and that Jesus was a magician. As Richard Horsley points out, if we make a critical comparison between modern interpretation of Jesus’s healing and exorcism, on the one hand, and the Gospel stories and other ancient texts on the other hand, it becomes clear that ‘the miracle’ and ‘magic’ are modern concepts, products of Enlightenment thinking.

Jesus and Magic asserts that Gospel stories do not have the concepts of miracle and magic. What scholars constructed as magic turns out to have been ritual practices such as songs (incantations), medicines (potions), and appeals to higher powers for protection. Horsley offers a critical reading of the healing and exorcism episodes in the Gospel stories. This reading reveals a dynamic relationship between Jesus the healer, the trust of those coming for healing, and their support networks in local communities. The author’s reading of the Gospel stories gives little or no indication of divine intervention. Rather, he concludes, the healing and exorcism stories portray healings and exorcisms.

Recent praise for Jesus and Magic includes:

“A brilliant rethinking and reframing of evidence that powerfully challenges some long-held assumptions in NT scholarship. Not all scholars will agree with every point but Horsley persuasively shows that the modern use of ‘miracle’ and ‘magic’ reflect the post-biblical history of those terms, and this work certainly lays to rest the thesis of ‘Jesus the magician’.”
Craig S. Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wiltmore, Kentucky

“Horsley challenges the traditional understanding of Jesus’s activity as miracles and/or magic. Instead, he argues convincingly for a relational and contextual approach to analyzing the figures and scenes in the gospel healing and exorcism stories about Jesus. They make sense only in the concrete socio-cultural context of Roman Palestine and Israelite tradition. This is Horsley at his critical best.”
John J. Pilch, Johns Hopkins University

“Horsley’s arguments are easy to follow and well presented.”
David Sellick, in The Reader, Vol 115, No 1

For more of our Lutterworthy titles, click here:

Happy Halloween everyone!

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