Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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Received English translation of the German Entzauberung , a concept preeminently introduced to social scientific discourse by Max Weber to describe the character of modern, secularized society. Such literal renderings as "de-magi-fication" or "de-mysteri-zation" probably more accurately render the meaning in current American usage. At one point, Weber described the condition as a world "robbed of gods." Disenchantment does not mean simply that the world is no longer seen as filled with angels and demons, but that the category "mystery" is negatively valued: Mysteries are to be solved by science, technology, or other this-worldly efforts. Modern people do not wish to "enter into" mysteries but to conquer them; moderns similarly are pleased when they can say, for example, that a particular event or condition is "no longer mysterious." The term reenchantment is a spinoff from disenchantment.

See also Modernism, Secularization, Max Weber

William H. Swatos, Jr .

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