by Jack Le Moine
From the latest happenings in things historical. This article The Surprising Historical Significance of Fortune-Telling was published 3 days ago in JSTOR Daily. The article’s author is Cody Delistraty.
This essay’s main points are: predicting the future conflicts with religion, challenging God’s monopoly on that; it relies on chance enhanced by trickery to generate correct predictions; and if it is reduced to another game of chance then there are other such gambling that society approves of.
The essay’s conclusions are based on the premise that fortune-telling is a game of chance. I would add that to the extent it utilizes illusions to create a prediction, it is akin to a magic act. The difference is that a magic act is presented with the expectation that the audience will accept it as just entertainment while fortune-tellers is presented with the expectation that clients will take predictions seriously.
More on fortune-telling.