The figure of the witch still has the ability to exert a powerful fascination on the modern mind. The vision of the elderly crone begging for charity at the crossroads, an object of fear and revulsion for her local community, has combined with the memory of prolonged judicial persecution and oppression to inspire contemporary movements as far removed from each other as Wiccans and women's liberation. In tackling such an emotive issue, where misogyny and violence combine with superstition and the basest of human instincts, Scarre and Callow chart a clear and refreshingly level-headed approach to the subject. Distinguishing between fact and fiction, they set the witch trials firnly back within the context of their own times and, without seeking to exonerate those responsible, demonstrate how it was possible for judiciaries and social elites to believe wholeheartedly in the reality and efficacy of witchcraft as a valid system of belief and as a dangerous threat to the fabric of society in which they lived. This new edition has been comprehensively updated to take account of the vast expansion in interest and scholarly research that has taken place in the field since the publication of the first edition. This work provides a provocative thesis for those seeking to understand the basis for the politics of persecution and a firm interpretative basis around which further exploratory research may be conducted.
Author: Geoffrey Scarre,John Callow
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
In their study of witchcraft and magic in 16th and 17th-century Europe, Geoffrey Scarre and John Callow provide an examination of the theoretical and intellectual rationales which made prosecution for the crime acceptable to the continent's judiciaries. Crucial to their approach is the conflict between supposedly "rational" and "irrational" systems of belief. Through the use of scholarship in the fields of anthropology, gender and historical studies, they present a vision of witch belief as central rather than, as was once thought, peripheral to intellectual and theological debate in early modern Europe.
Author: Geoffrey Scarre,John Callow
Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
In the courtrooms of seventeenth-century Russia, the great majority of those accused of witchcraft were male, in sharp contrast to the profile of accused witches across Catholic and Protestant Europe in the same period. While European courts targeted and executed overwhelmingly female suspects, often on charges of compacting with the devil, the tsars' courts vigorously pursued men and some women accused of practicing more down-to-earth magic, using poetic spells and home-grown potions. Instead of Satanism or heresy, the primary concern in witchcraft testimony in Russia involved efforts to use magic to subvert, mitigate, or avenge the harsh conditions of patriarchy, serfdom, and social hierarchy. Broadly comparative and richly illustrated with color plates, Desperate Magic places the trials of witches in the context of early modern Russian law, religion, and society. Piecing together evidence from trial records to illuminate some of the central puzzles of Muscovite history, Kivelson explores the interplay among the testimony of accusers, the leading questions of the interrogators, and the confessions of the accused. Assembled, they create a picture of a shared moral vision of the world that crossed social divides. Because of the routine use of torture in extracting and shaping confessions, Kivelson addresses methodological and ideological questions about the Muscovite courts’ equation of pain and truth, questions with continuing resonance in the world today. Within a moral economy that paired unquestioned hierarchical inequities with expectations of reciprocity, magic and suspicions of magic emerged where those expectations were most egregiously violated. Witchcraft in Russia surfaces as one of the ways that oppression was contested by ordinary people scrambling to survive in a fiercely inequitable world. Masters and slaves, husbands and wives, and officers and soldiers alike believed there should be limits to exploitation and saw magic deployed at the junctures where hierarchical order veered into violent excess.
The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia
Author: Valerie Kivelson
Publisher: Cornell University Press
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 Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe
Author: Stuart Clark
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
Witchcraft, astrology, divination and every kind of popular magic flourished in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from the belief that a blessed amulet could prevent the assaults of the Devil to the use of the same charms to recover stolen goods. At the same time the Protestant Reformation attempted to take the magic out of religion, and scientists were developing new explanations of the universe. Keith Thomas's classic analysis of beliefs held on every level of English society begins with the collapse of the medieval Church and ends with the changing intellectual atmosphere around 1700, when science and rationalism began to challenge the older systems of belief.
Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England
Author: Keith Thomas
Publisher: Penguin UK
The fifteenth to eighteenth centuries was a period of witchcraft prosecutions throughout Europe and modern scholars have now devoted a huge amount of research to these episodes. This volume will attempt to bring this work together by summarising the history of the trials in a new way - according to the types of legal systems involved. Other topics covered will be the continued practical use made of magic, the elaboration of demonological theories about witchcraft and magic, and the further development of scientific interests in natural magic through the Neoplatonic and Hermetic period.Amongst the topics included here are Superstition and Belief in high and popular culture, the place of Medicine, Witchcraft survivals in art and literature, and the survival of Persecution.
The Period of the Witch Trials
Author: Bengt Ankerloo,Stuart Clark,William Monter
Publisher: A&C Black
Author: Gary K. Waite
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
The author, one of the most highly respected scholars of historical anthropology, has undertaken extensive research on folk beliefs related to communication with the supernatural sphere. In this book, she examines the systems of such communication known by early modern Hungarians, and the role these systems played in the everyday life of the village. New types of mediators are identified such as "the neighborhood witch, " the healing witch, and the demons seen in dreams. Representing a major contribution to the most up-to-date international research, Eva Pocs draws on significant East European material and literature not previously coordinated with that from the West. In so doing, she makes a valuable contribution to a subject that has recently attracted the attention of several leading scholars.
A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age
Author: �va P¢cs
Publisher: Central European University Press
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
Tens of thousands of people were persecuted and put to death as witches between 1400 and 1700 – the great age of witch hunts. Why did the witch hunts arise, flourish and decline during this period? What purpose did the persecutions serve? Who was accused, and what was the role of magic in the hunts? This important reassessment of witch panics and persecutions in Europeand colonial America both challenges and enhances existing interpretations of the phenomenon. Locating its origins 400 years earlier in the growing perception of threats to Western Christendom, Robert Thurston outlines the development of a ‘persecuting society’ in which campaigns against scapegoats such as heretics, Jews, lepers and homosexuals set the scene for the later witch hunts. He examines the creation of the witch stereotype and looks at how the early trials and hunts evolved, with the shift from accusatory to inquisitorial court procedures and reliance upon confessions leading to the increasing use of torture.
A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America
Author: Robert Thurston
Based on research in the Inquisitorial archives of Northern Italy, The Night Battles recounts the story of a peasant fertility cult centered on the benandanti, literally, "good walkers." These men and women described fighting extraordinary ritual battles against witches and wizards in order to protect their harvests. While their bodies slept, the souls of the benandanti were able to fly into the night sky to engage in epic spiritual combat for the good of the village. Carlo Ginzburg looks at how the Inquisition's officers interpreted these tales to support their world view that the peasants were in fact practicing sorcery. The result of this cultural clash, which lasted for more than a century, was the slow metamorphosis of the benandanti into the Inquisition's mortal enemies—witches. Relying upon this exceptionally well-documented case study, Ginzburg argues that a similar transformation of attitudes—perceiving folk beliefs as diabolical witchcraft—took place all over Europe and spread to the New World. In his new preface, Ginzburg reflects on the interplay of chance and discovery, as well as on the relationship between anomalous cultural notions and historical generalizations. -- Peter Burke
Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Author: Carlo Ginzburg
Publisher: JHU Press
Witches and Neighbours is a highly original and unconventional analysis of a fascinating historical phenomenon. Unlike other studies of the subject which focus on the mechanisms of persecution, this book presents a rich picture of witchcraft as an all-pervasive aspect of life in early modern Europe. This book is not available from Blackwell in the United States and the Philippines. A fascinating and accessible account of the central role of witchcraft in early modern Europe. A standard work on the subject of witchcraft now available in a revised edition with an updated bibliography. Presents an unconventional interpretation of the role and influence of witchcraft Argues that witchcraft was as complex and changing as the society of which it formed a vital part. Draws on a range of original sources to vividly illustrate the arguments.
The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft
Author: Robin Briggs
Covering the whole period of the Scottish witch-hunt, from the mid-16th century to the early 18th, this book is a collection of essays on Scottish witchcraft and witch-hunting. It provides a comparative dimension of witch-hunting beyond Scotland.
Author: Julian Goodare
Publisher: Manchester University Press
"In the sixteenth century, a rise in sexual violence in European society was exacerbated by pressure from church and state to change basic sexual customs...As the centuries since have shown escalating levels both of violence, general and sexual, and of state control, the witchcraze can be considered a portent, even a model, of some aspects of what modern Europe would be like." Over three centuries, approximately one hundred thousand persons, most of whom were women, were put to death under the guise of "witch hunts", particularly in Reformation Europe. The shocking annihilation of women from all walks of life is explored in this brilliant, authoritative feminist history Anne Llwellyn Barstow. Barstow exposes an unrecognized holocaust -- the "ethnic cleansing" of independent women in Reformation Europe -- and examines the residual attitudes that continue to influence our culture. Barstow argues that it is only with eyes sensitive to gender issues that we can discern what really happened in the persecution and murder of these women. Her sweeping chronicle examines the scapegoating of women from the ills of society, investigates how their subjugation to sexual violence and death sent a message of control to all women, and compares this persecution of women with the enslavement and slaughter of African slaves and Native Americans. Ultimately Barstow traces the current backlash against women to its gynophobic torture-filled origins. In the process, she leaves an indelible mark on our growing understanding of the legacy of violence against women around the world.
New History of the European Witch Hunts, a
Author: Anne L. Barstow
Publisher: Harper Collins
Category: Social Science
In early modern Europe, ideas about nature, God, demons and occult forces were inextricably connected and much ink and blood was spilled in arguments over the characteristics and boundaries of nature and the supernatural. Seitz uses records of Inquisition witchcraft trials in Venice to uncover how individuals across society, from servants to aristocrats, understood these two fundamental categories. Others have examined this issue from the points of view of religious history, the history of science and medicine, or the history of witchcraft alone, but this work brings these sub-fields together to illuminate comprehensively the complex forces shaping early modern beliefs.
Author: Jonathan Seitz
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Instruments of Darkness takes readers back to a time when witchcraft was accepted as reality at all levels of society. James Sharpe draws on legal records and other sources to reveal the interplay between witchcraft beliefs in different parts of the social hierarchy. Along the way, he offers disturbing accounts of witch-hunts, such as the East Anglian trials of 1645 - 47 that sent more than 100 people to the gallows. He tells how poor, elderly women were most often accused of witchcraft and challenges feminist claims that witch-hunts represented male persecution by showing that many accusers were themselves women.
Witchcraft in Early Modern England
Author: James Sharpe
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
As dusk fell on a misty evening in 1521, Martin Luther - hiding from his enemies at Wartburg Castle - found himself seemingly tormented by demons hurling walnuts at his bedroom window. In a fit of rage, the great reformer threw at the Devil the inkwell from which he was preparing his colossal translation of the Bible.
A Cultural History of Witchcraft
Author: John Callow
Category: Social Science
Magic, witches, and demons have drawn interest and fear throughout human history. In this comprehensive primary source reader, Martha Rampton traces the history of our fascination with magic and witchcraft from the first through to the seventeenth century. In over 80 readings presented chronologically, Rampton demonstrates how understandings of and reactions toward magic changed and developed over time, and how these ideas were influenced by various factors such as religion, science, and law. The wide-ranging texts emphasize social history and include early Merovingian law codes, the Picatrix, Lombard's Sentences, The Golden Legend, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. By presenting a full spectrum of source types including hagiography, law codes, literature, and handbooks, this collection provides readers with a broad view of how magic was understood through the medieval and early modern eras. Rampton's introduction to the volume is a passionate appeal to students to use tolerance, imagination, and empathy when travelling back in time. The introductions to individual readings are deliberately minimal, providing just enough context so that students can hear medieval voices for themselves.
Author: Martha Rampton
Publisher: University of Toronto Press