The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, now in its fourth edition, is the perfect resource for both students and scholars of the witch-hunts written by one of the leading names in the field. For those starting out in their studies of witch-beliefs and witchcraft trials, Brian Levack provides a concise survey of this complex and fascinating topic, while for more seasoned scholars the scholarship is brought right up to date. This new edition includes the most recent research on children, gender, male witches and demonic possession as well as broadening the exploration of the geographical distribution of witch prosecutions to include recent work on regions, cities and kingdoms enabling students to identify comparisons between countries. Now fully integrated with Brian Levack’s The Witchcraft Sourcebook, there are links to the sourcebook throughout the text, pointing students towards key primary sources to aid them in their studies. The two books are drawn together on a new companion website with supplementary materials for those wishing to advance their studies, including an extensive guide to further reading, a chronology of the history of witchcraft and an interactive map to show the geographical spread of witch-hunts and witch trials across Europe and North America. A long-standing favourite with students and lecturers alike, this new edition of The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe will be essential reading for those embarking on or looking to advance their studies of the history of witchcraft
A collection of essays from leading scholars in the field that collectively 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.
Covering witch hunts from Germany to New England, this concise encyclopedia is a fascinating reference on the hunt to find and persecute those who practiced witchcraft.
Seminar paper from the year 2004 in the subject History Europe - Other Countries - Middle Ages, Early Modern Age, grade: English Grade:58% von 70%, University of Nottingham (School of History), course: Hauptseminar: Gender and Society in Early Modern Europe, language: English, abstract: 'Witch- hunting is seen as something pathological, a disease infecting like a plague the body of the communities in witch it raged.'1 With these words the historian Bob Scribner described witchcraft and witch-hunts. They are defined as something negative and pathological and it is obviously that witchcraft could easily emerged because of the traditional beliefs rooted in the early modern society of Germany. Witchcraft and witchhunts emerged in this period and made the population susceptible to the carrying out of denunciation and elimination of innocent people. The population had been easily influenced by the authorities like magistrates and their fellow citizens. In the following discussion/passage, witchcraft and witch-hunts concerning the early modern Europe will be less prominent rather than the study about witchcraft and witchhunts in early modern Germany. In particular the main focus will stress on the south of Germany because it was the centre of witchcraft and witch-hunts. In addition to that some examples will be mentioned to show special witchcraft and witch- hunt cases. First it will be examined how the term 'witch' is defined shown in a historical, linguistic and an etymological way. Then the two authors of the Malleus maleficarum2 and their ideas about witches and witchcraft will be mentioned. In the forth chapter the social context shall be examined. In this passage the accused shall be represented and the reasons which led to their accusation. In the last chapter the witch-hunts in early modern Germany shall be represented. It keeps the question in what way the witch-hunts increased during the early modern period and which reasons contributed to their decline. Furthe
The fourth edition of The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe,written by one of the leading names in the field, is the ideal resource for both students and scholars of the witch-hunts.For those starting out in their studies of witch-beliefs and witchcraft trials, Brian Levack provides a concise survey of this complex and fascinating topic, while for more seasoned scholars the scholarship is brought right up to date. The Witchcraft Sourcebook, now in its second edition, is a fascinating collection of documents illustrating the development of ideas about witchcraft from ancient times to the eighteenth century along with commentary and background by Brian Levack. Including trial records, demonological treatises and sermons, literary texts, narratives of demonic possession and artistic depiction of witches, the documents show how notions of witchcraft have changed over time, and consider the connection between gender and witchcraft and the nature of the witch's perceived power. Available to purchase as a bundle, together these two books make the perfect collection for students and lecturers of witchcraft and witch-hunts in the early modern period.
In the fifteenth century many authorities did not believe Inquisitors' stories of a supposed Satanic witch sect. However, the religious conflict of the sixteenth-century Reformation - especially popular movements of reform and revolt - helped to create an atmosphere in which diabolical conspiracies (which swept up religious dissidents, Jews and magicians into their nets) were believed to pose a very real threat. Fear of the Devil and his followers inspired horrific incidents of judicially-approved terror in early modern Europe, leading after 1560 to the infamous witch hunts. Bringing together the fields of Reformation and witchcraft studies, this fascinating book reveals how the early modern period's religious conflicts led to widespread confusion and uncertainty. Gary K. Waite examines in-depth how church leaders dispelled rising religious doubt by persecuting heretics, and how alleged infernal plots, and witches who confessed to making a pact with the Devil, helped the authorities to reaffirm orthodoxy. Waite argues that it was only when the authorities came to terms with pluralism that there was a corresponding decline in witch panics.
This book critiques historians’ assumptions about witch-hunting as well as their explanations for this complex and perplexing phenomenon. It shows that large numbers of men were accused of witchcraft in their own right, in some regions, more men were accused than women. The authors insist on the centrality of gender, tradition, and ideas about witches in the construction of the witch as a dangerous figure. They challenge the marginalization of male witches by feminist and other historians.
An up-to-date account of the present state of scholarship on early modern European witchcraft.
The European Witch-Hunt seeks to explain why thousands of people, mostly lower-class women, were deliberately tortured and killed in the name of religion and morality during three centuries of intermittent witch-hunting throughout Europe and North America. Combining perspectives from history, sociology, psychology and other disciplines, this book provides a comprehensive account of witch-hunting in early modern Europe. Julian Goodare sets out an original interpretation of witch-hunting as an episode of ideologically-driven persecution by the ‘godly state’ in the era of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Full weight is also given to the context of village social relationships, and there is a detailed analysis of gender issues. Witch-hunting was a legal operation, and the courts’ rationale for interrogation under torture is explained. Panicking local elites, rather than central governments, were at the forefront of witch-hunting. Further chapters explore folk beliefs about legendary witches, and intellectuals’ beliefs about a secret conspiracy of witches in league with the Devil. Witch-hunting eventually declined when the ideological pressure to combat the Devil’s allies slackened. A final chapter sets witch-hunting in the context of other episodes of modern persecution. This book is the ideal resource for students exploring the history of witch-hunting. Its level of detail and use of social theory also make it important for scholars and researchers.
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.
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.>
New to the Problems in European Civilization series, this volume offers secondary-source essays organized around the major controversies and interpretations of the history of witchcraft. In four parts, the text examines the major areas of recent scholarship: intellectual foundations and demonology (Part I); the political, social, and economic contexts of early modern Europe (Part II); accusations, trials, and panics (Part III); and gender and witchcraft (Part IV). The text's pedagogy—a hallmark of the Problems in European Civilization series—includes chapter and essay introductions, timelines, illustrations, maps, and suggested readings. This volume is suitable for courses in Western Civilization, as well as courses focused exclusively on witchcraft or European women's history. The selections included in this volume represent the latest in research on witchcraft and witch hunts; many of them explicitly test the ideas that were developed in the 1970s, when academic research on witchcraft saw its first high point. Several sources focus on areas where witch hunting was most intense, such as eastern France and the Holy Roman Empire, while others cover areas in which few hunts took place, such as Norway and Italy. The text incorporates recent studies that have been particularly influential in the field, including works by Stuart Clark, Robin Briggs, and Wolfgang Behringer. Contributions by scholars from the United States, England, Hungary, and Australia demonstrate that witchcraft research is truly an international enterprise.
Witch-Hunting in Scotland presents a fresh perspective on the trial and execution of the hundreds of women and men prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft, an offence that involved the alleged practice of maleficent magic and the worship of the devil, for inflicting harm on their neighbours and making pacts with the devil. Brian P. Levack draws on law, politics and religion to explain the intensity of Scottish witch-hunting. Topics discussed include: the distinctive features of the Scottish criminal justice system the use of torture to extract confessions the intersection of witch-hunting with local and national politics the relationship between state-building and witch-hunting and the role of James VI Scottish Calvinism and the determination of zealous Scottish clergy and magistrates to achieve a godly society. This original survey combines broad interpretations of the rise andfall of Scottish witchcraft prosecutions with detailed case studies of specific witch-hunts. Witch-Hunting in Scotland makes fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in witchcraft or in the political, legal and religious history of the early modern period.
With the renewed interest in the history of witches and witchcraft, this timely book provides an introduction to this fascinating topic, informed by the main trends of new thinking on the subject. Beginning with a discussion of witchcraft in the early modern period, and charting the witch panics that took place at this time, the author goes on to look at the historical debate surrounding the causes of the legal persecution of witches. Contemporary views of witchcraft put forward by judges, theological writers and the medical profession are examined, as is the place of witchcraft in the popular imagination. Jim Sharpe also looks at the gender dimensions of the witch persecution, and the treatment of witchcraft in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama. Supported by a range of compelling documents, the book concludes with an exploration of why witch panics declined in the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century.
Beyond the witch trials provides an important collection of essays on the nature of witchcraft and magic in European society during the Enlightenment. The book is innovative not only because it pushes forward the study of witchcraft into the eighteenth century, but because it provides the reader with a challenging variety of different approaches and sources of information. The essays, which cover England, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Finland and Sweden, examine the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft from both above and below. While they demonstrate the continued widespread fear of witches amongst the masses, they also provide a corrective to the notion that intellectual society lost interest in the question of witchcraft. While witchcraft prosecutions were comparatively rare by the mid-eighteenth century, the intellectual debate did no disappear; it either became more private or refocused on such issues as possession. The contributors come from different academic disciplines, and by borrowing from literary theory, archaeology and folklore they move beyond the usual historical perspectives and sources. They emphasise the importance of studying such themes as the aftermath of witch trials, the continued role of cunning-folk in society, and the nature of the witchcraft discourse in different social contexts. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the decline of the European witch trials and the continued importance of witchcraft and magic during the Enlightenment. More generally it will appeal to those with a lively interest in the cultural history of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is the first of a two-volume set of books looking at the phenomenon of witchcraft, magic and the occult in Europe since the seventeenth century.
Though it is clearly an exceptionally important part of popular culture, witchcraft has generated a variety of often contradictory interpretations, starting from widely differing premises about the nature of witchcraft, its social role and the importance of higher theology as well as more popular beliefs. This work offers a conspectus of historical work on witchcraft in Europe, and shows how many trends converged to form the figure of the witch, and varied from one part of Europe to another.
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.

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