This book analyzes the life and career of Margaret Alice Murray as a teacher, excavator, scholar, and popularizer of Egyptology, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, and more. Sheppard is assistant professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Margaret Murray's India, Chapter 2. University College, Chapter 3.
In the Field, Chapter 4. Suffrage and the New Woman, Chapter 6. Sheppard successfully brings to life a 'small and energetic' woman who is revealed to have been a crucial link between nineteenth- and twentieth-century Egyptology, between the world of the amateur and the professional, and between the worlds of women and men. Brightly researched, clearly and coherently written, this is a book for all audiences and all ages. It is a joy to read.
The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology -
Sheppard's biography of Margaret Murray, an important, but largely overlooked figure, makes an important contribution to the study of the history of Egyptology and archeology. Sheppard's approach, and in particular her focus on the social context of Murray's work, and her position as a woman working in a series of male-dominated worlds in Britain and in Egypt, of academia and archeology in particular, is especially enlightening.
Sheppard is assistant professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.
We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Christmas posting dates Learn more. One of Murray's friends in the Society, E. James , described her as a "mine of information and a perpetual inspiration ever ready to impart her vast and varied stores of specialised knowledge without reserve, or, be it said, much if any regard for the generally accepted opinions and conclusions of the experts!
Murray never married, instead devoting her life to her work, and for this reason, Hutton drew comparisons between her and two other prominent female British scholars of the period, Jane Harrison and Jessie Weston. Sheppard stated that she was deeply committed to public outreach, particularly when it came to Egyptology, and that as such she "wanted to change the means by which the public obtained knowledge about Egypt's history: Raised a devout Christian by her mother, Murray had initially become a Sunday School teacher to preach the faith, but after entering the academic profession she rejected religion, gaining a reputation among other members of the Folklore Society as a noted sceptic and a rationalist.
Her curse entailed mixing up ingredients in a frying pan, and was undertaken in the presence of two colleagues. Hutton noted that Murray was one of the earliest women to "make a serious impact upon the world of professional scholarship",  and the archaeologist Niall Finneran described her as "one of the greatest characters of post-war British archaeology". In his obituary for Murray in Folklore , James noted that her death was "an event of unusual interest and importance in the annals of the Folk-Lore Society in particular as well as in the wider sphere in which her influence was felt in so many directions and disciplines".
In , UCL introduced the Margaret Murray Prize, awarded to the student who is deemed to have produced the best dissertation in Egyptology; it continued to be presented annually into the 21st century. The historian of archaeology Rosalind M. Sheppard, then an assistant professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology ; the book was based upon Sheppard's doctoral dissertation produced at the University of Oklahoma. Murray's witch-cult theories provided the blueprint for the contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca ,  with Murray being referred to as the "Grandmother of Wicca".
Noting that there is no evidence of Wicca existing before the publication of Murray's books, Merrifield commented that for those in 20th century Britain who wished to form their own witches' covens, "Murray may have seemed the ideal fairy godmother, and her theory became the pumpkin coach that could transport them into the realm of fantasy for which they longed". Ethan Doyle White, Murray's witch-cult theories were likely also a core influence on the non-Gardnerian Wiccan traditions that were established in Britain and Australia between and by the likes of Bob Clay-Egerton , Robert Cochrane , Charles Cardell , and Rosaleen Norton.
Members of the Wiccan community gradually became aware of academia's rejection of the witch-cult theory. Accordingly, belief in its literal truth declined during the s and s, with many Wiccans instead coming to view it as a myth that conveyed metaphorical or symbolic truths. Frew , Jani Farrell-Roberts, and Ben Whitmore — published critiques in which they attacked post-Murrayite scholarship on matters of detail, but none defended Murray's original hypothesis completely.
The author Sylvia Townsend Warner cited Murray's work on the witch-cult as an influence on her novel Lolly Willowes , and sent a copy of her book to Murray in appreciation, with the two meeting for lunch shortly after. A bibliography of Murray's published work was published in Folklore by Wilfrid Bonser in ,  and her friend Drower produced a posthumous limited bibliography in ,  and another limited bibliography appeared in Kathleen L.
Sheppard's biography of her. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other people named Margaret Murray, see Margaret Murray disambiguation. Calcutta , British India. Welwyn , Hertfordshire , England. When I suddenly realised that the so-called Devil was simply a disguised man I was startled, almost alarmed, by the way the recorded facts fell into place, and showed that the witches were members of an old and primitive form of religion, and the records had been made by members of a new and persecuting form.
The extreme negative and positive reactions to The Witch-Cult in Western Europe , as well as its legacy in religion and literature, register as responses to its fantastical form and content and especially to its implication of an alternate, woman-centered history of Western religion. At least one contemporary review turns Murray's suggestion of continuity between the premodern witches and contemporary women back on her in an ad hominem attack.
The Life of Margaret Alice Murray
Surely, discussion of what confessedly is so unripe is premature. When Miss Murray has broadened her study to all the lands where she can find the "cult"; when she has dealt with documents worthier the name of records than the chapbooks and the formless reports that have to serve us for the British trials; when she has traced back witch-sabbath and questionary through the centuries of witch and heretic hunting that precede the British; when she has trusted herself to study the work of other students and fairly to weigh their conclusions against her own in the light of the further evidence they may adduce: Whether she changes or confirms them, she will then have earned the right to a hearing.
That this "old religion" persisted secretly, without leaving any evidence, is, of course, possible, just as it is possible that below the surface of the moon lie extensive deposits of Stilton cheese. But it is nonsense to assert the existence of something for which no evidence exists.
The Murrayites ask us to swallow a most peculiar sandwich: No British folklorist can remember Dr Margaret Murray without embarrassment and a sense of paradox.
She is one of the few folklorists whose name became widely known to the public, but among scholars, her reputation is deservedly low; her theory that witches were members of a huge secret society preserving a prehistoric fertility cult through the centuries is now seen to be based on deeply flawed methods and illogical arguments. The fact that, in her old age and after three increasingly eccentric books, she was made President of the Folklore Society, must certainly have harmed the reputation of the Society and possibly the status of folkloristics in this country; it helps to explain the mistrust some historians still feel towards our discipline.
The Life of Margaret Alice Murray : A Woman's Work in Archaeology
As the religion [of Wicca] emerged, many practitioners saw those who suffered in the [witch trials of the Early Modern] as their forebears, thus adopting the Murrayite witch-cult hypothesis which provided Wicca with a history stretching back far into the reaches of the ancient past. As historians challenged and demolished this theory in the s and s, many Wiccans were shocked.
Some accepted that the theory was not actually legitimate, instead portraying the Murrayite story as a mythical history for the Craft and seeking to emphasise the religion's other historical antecessors. Other practitioners however vehemently defended Murray's hypothesis against academic critique, viewing it as a significant article of faith.
Retrieved 17 January Margaret Murray's Hundredth Birthday". Davidson, Hilda Ellis Doyle White, Ethan Brighton, Chicago, and Toronto: A Woman's Work in Archaeology ". Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism. University of Michigan Press. Uses editors parameter link Eliade, Mircea Imagining the Pagan Past: London and New York: Ginzburg, Carlo .
John and Anne Tedeschi translators. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. The First Hundred Years: Egyptology at University College London, — Merrifield, Ralph June Gardner and the 20th Century 'Witches ' ". The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. The God of the Witches. My First Hundred Years. The International Journal of Pagan Studies. Oates, Caroline; Wood, Juliette