This is a work of fundamental importance for our understanding of the intellectual and cultural history of early modern Europe. Stuart Clark offers a new interpretation of the witchcraft beliefs of European intellectuals between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, based on their publications in the field of demonology. He shows how these beliefs fitted rationally with other views current in Europe throughout that period, and underlines just how far the nature of rationality is dependent on its historical context.
The essays in this Handbook, written by leading scholars working in the rapidly developing field of witchcraft studies, explore the historical literature regarding witch beliefs and witch trials in Europe and colonial America between the early fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries. During these years witches were thought to be evil people who used magical power to inflict physical harm or misfortune on their neighbours. Witches were also believed to have made pacts with the devil and sometimes to have worshipped him at nocturnal assemblies known as sabbaths. These beliefs provided the basis for defining witchcraft as a secular and ecclesiastical crime and prosecuting tens of thousands of women and men for this offence. The trials resulted in as many as fifty thousand executions. These essays study the rise and fall of witchcraft prosecutions in the various kingdoms and territories of Europe and in English, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies in the Americas. They also relate these prosecutions to the Catholic and Protestant reformations, the introduction of new forms of criminal procedure, medical and scientific thought, the process of state-building, profound social and economic change, early modern patterns of gender relations, and the wave of demonic possessions that occurred in Europe at the same time. The essays survey the current state of knowledge in the field, explore the academic controversies that have arisen regarding witch beliefs and witch trials, propose new ways of studying the subject, and identify areas for future research.
Between 1450 and 1750 thousands of people – most of them women – were accused, prosecuted and executed for the crime of witchcraft. The witch-hunt was not a single event; it comprised thousands of individual prosecutions, each shaped by the religious and social dimensions of the particular area as well as political and legal factors. Brian Levack sorts through the proliferation of theories to provide a coherent introduction to the subject, as well as contributing to the scholarly debate. The book: Examines why witchcraft prosecutions took place, how many trials and victims there were, and why witch-hunting eventually came to an end. Explores the beliefs of both educated and illiterate people regarding witchcraft. Uses regional and local studies to give a more detailed analysis of the chronological and geographical distribution of witch-trials. Emphasises the legal context of witchcraft prosecutions. Illuminates the social, economic and political history of early modern Europe, and in particular the position of women within it. In this fully updated third edition of his exceptional study, Levack incorporates the vast amount of literature that has emerged since the last edition. He substantially extends his consideration of the decline of the witch-hunt and goes further in his exploration of witch-hunting after the trials, especially in contemporary Africa. New illustrations vividly depict beliefs about witchcraft in early modern Europe.
The Visual Spectacle of Witchcraft in Jacobean Plays: Blackfriars Theatre is an ideal reference for early modern scholars and lecturers who seek a thorough and practical guide to stage directions in print and performance, and paying particular attention to the early texts as evidence of performance practice. Stage directions here are re-thought in the light of early theatre practice, and the issues of stage directions as evidence of performance practice and later interpolations, in association with witchcraft, of several Jacobean plays can be found in this book. This book includes a general introduction to Blackfriars witchcraft plays and the Jacobean theatre, a chronology, suggestions for further reading and discussing performance options on both indoor and outdoor playhouses, and a commentary. The illuminating and informative general introduction and the short introductions to individual plays have been revised in the light of current scholarship.
For the people of early modern England, the dividing line between the natural and supernatural worlds was both negotiable and porous - particularly when it came to issues of authority. Without a precise separation between ‘science’ and ‘magic’ the realm of the supernatural was a contested one, that could be used both to bolster and challenge various forms of authority and the exercise of power in early modern England. In order to better understand these issues, this volume addresses a range of questions regarding the ways in which ideas, beliefs and constructions of the supernatural threatened and conflicted with authority, as well as how the power of the supernatural could be used by authorities (monarchical, religious, legal or familial) to reinforce established social norms. Drawing upon a range of historical, literary and dramatic texts the collection reveals intersecting early modern anxieties in relation to the supernatural, issues of control and the exercise of power at different levels of society, from the upper echelons of power at court to local and domestic spaces, and in a range of publication contexts - manuscript sources, printed prose texts and the early modern stage. Divided into three sections - ‘Magic at Court’, ‘Performance, Text and Language’ and ‘Witchcraft, the Devil and the Body’ - the volume offers a broad cultural approach to the subject that reflects current research by a range of early modern scholars from the disciplines of history and literature. By bringing scholars into an interdisciplinary dialogue, the case studies presented here generate fresh insights within and between disciplines and different methodologies and approaches, which are mutually illuminating.
Narrative, Ideology and Meaning in Early Modern Culture
Author: Stuart Clark
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
Different conceptions of the world and of reality have made witchcraft possible in some societies and impossible in others. How did the people of early modern Europe experience it and what was its place in their culture? The new essays in this collection illustrate the latest trends in witchcraft research and in cultural history in general. After three decades in which the social analysis of witchcraft accusations has dominated the subject, they turn instead to its significance and meaning as a cultural phenomenon - to the 'languages' of witchcraft, rather than its causes. As a result, witchcraft seems less startling than it once was, yet more revealing of the world in which it occurred.
When European notions about angels and demons were exported to the New World, they underwent remarkable adaptations. Angels and demons came to form an integral part of the Spanish American cosmology, leading to the emergence of colonial urban and rural landscapes set within a strikingly theological framework. Belief in celestial and demonic spirits soon regulated and affected the daily lives of Spanish, Indigenous and Mestizo peoples, while missionary networks circulated these practices to create a widespread and generally accepted system of belief that flourished in seventeenth-century Baroque culture and spirituality. This study of angels and demons opens a particularly illuminating window onto intellectual and cultural developments in the centuries that followed the European encounter with America. The volume will be of interest to scholars and students of religious studies, anthropology of religion, history of ideas, Latin American colonial history and church history.
This book presents twenty chapters by experts in their fields, providing a thorough and interdisciplinary overview of the theory and practice of magic in the West. Its chronological scope extends from the Ancient Near East to twenty-first-century North America; its objects of analysis range from Persian curse tablets to US neo-paganism. For comparative purposes, the volume includes chapters on developments in the Jewish and Muslim worlds, evaluated not simply for what they contributed at various points to European notions of magic, but also as models of alternative development in ancient Mediterranean legacy. Similarly, the volume highlights the transformative and challenging encounters of Europeans with non-Europeans, regarding the practice of magic in both early modern colonization and more recent decolonization.
Im Kurfürstentum Trier und im Herzogtum Lothringen fanden zwischen 1570 und 1630 jeweils zwei- bis dreitausend Hexen und Zauberer den Tod. Nirgendwo war die Hexenverfolgung in ihrer 400-jährigen Geschichte grausamer und erbarmungsloser als hier. Rémy berichtet in dem vorliegenden Buch über seine Erfahrungen aus dieser Zeit. Er war eine der Hauptfiguren bei den Verfolgungen. In seiner Abhandlung über den Satanskult und das Hexenwesen lässt er kaum ein Detail außer acht, so dass seine Arbeit eines der wertvollsten Werke zum Thema darstellt. Von diesem Gesichtspunkt aus betrachtet, kann die Bedeutung der Daemonolatria in der Hexenforschung gar nicht hoch genug eingeschätzt werden.
Jakob Sprenger,Heinrich Institoris,J. W. R. Schmidt
While the modern world has largely dismissed the figure of the saint as a throwback, we remain fascinated by excess, marginality, transgression, and porous subjectivity—categories that define the saint. In this collection, Françoise Meltzer and Jas Elsner bring together top scholars from across the humanities to reconsider our denial of saintliness and examine how modernity returns to the lure of saintly grace, energy, and charisma. Addressing such problems as how saints are made, the use of saints by political and secular orders, and how holiness is personified, Saints takes us on a photo tour of Graceland and the cult of Elvis and explores the changing political takes on Joan of Arc in France. It shows us the self-fashioning of culture through the reevaluation of saints in late-antique Judaism and Counter-Reformation Rome, and it questions the political intent of underlying claims to spiritual attainment of a Muslim sheikh in Morocco and of Sephardism in Israel. Populated with the likes of Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, and Padre Pio, this book is a fascinating inquiry into the status of saints in the modern world.
How and why a person comes to be possessed by a dybbuk—the possession of a living body by the soul of a deceased person—and what consequences ensue from such possession, form the subject of this book. Though possession by a dybbuk has traditionally been understood as punishment for a terrible sin, it can also be seen as a mechanism used by desperate individuals—often women—who had no other means of escape from the demands and expectations of an all-encompassing patriarchal social order. Dybbuks and Jewish Women examines these and other aspects of dybbuk possession from historical and phenomenological perspectives, with particular attention to the gender significance of the subject.
Charles S. Maier hat erfolgreich die Herausforderung angenommen, die Ereignisse und Hintergründe, die zum Zusammenbruch des Kommunismus und der DDR führten, in einen umfassenden historischen Kontext einzuordnen: Ein äußerst profundes, auf breitem Quellen- und Archivstudium basierendes und überdies stilistisch brillantes Werk, das seinesgleichen sucht. (Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine frühere Ausgabe.)
In the first edition of the Bancroft Prize-winning Entertaining Satan, John Putnam Demos presented an entirely new perspective on American witchcraft. By investigating the surviving historical documents of over a hundred actual witchcraft cases, he vividly recreated the world of New England during the witchcraft trials and brought to light fascinating information on the role of witchcraft in early American culture. Now Demos has revisited his original work and updated it to illustrate why these early Americans' strange views on witchcraft still matter to us today. He provides a new Preface that puts forth a broader overview of witchcraft and looks at its place around the world--from ancient times right up to the present.
In Leaps in the Dark, John Waller presents another collection of revelations from the world of science. He considers experiments in which the scientists' awareness was not perhaps as keen as they might have claimed in retrospect; investigates the jealousy and opposition that scientific ideas can provoke; celebrates the scientists who were wrong, but for very good reasons; and discovers how national interest can affect scientists and their theories. The result is an entertaining and highlyreadable re-examination of scientific discoveries and reputations from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. The tales in Leaps in the Dark underscore the rich, fascinating complexity of scientific discovery. Writing in a clear and engaging style, and skilfully weaving history in with the science, John Waller brings these scientists to life, illustrating how their work and their discoveries influenced their careers and the wider world around them.
Daughters of Hecate unites for the first time research on the problem of gender and magic in three ancient Mediterranean societies: early Judaism, Christianity, and Graeco-Roman culture. The book illuminates the gendering of ancient magic by approaching the topic from three distinct disciplinary perspectives: literary stereotyping, the social application of magic discourse, and material culture. The authors probe the foundations of, processes, and motivations behind gendered stereotypes, beginning with Western culture's earliest associations of women and magic in the Bible and Homer's Odyssey. Daughters of Hecate provides a nuanced exploration of the topic while avoiding reductive approaches. In fact, the essays in this volume uncover complexities and counter-discourses that challenge, rather than reaffirm, many gendered stereotypes taken for granted and reified by most modern scholarship. By combining critical theoretical methods with research into literary and material evidence, Daughters of Hecate interrogates a false association that has persisted from antiquity, to early modern witch hunts, to the present day.