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.
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.
An up-to-date account of the present state of scholarship on early modern European witchcraft.
Men – as accused witches, witch-hunters, werewolves and the demonically possessed – are the focus of analysis in this collection of essays by leading scholars of early modern European witchcraft. The gendering of witch persecution and witchcraft belief is explored through original case-studies from England, Scotland, Italy, Germany and France.
The Witchcraft Sourcebook, now in its second edition, is a fascinating collection of documents that illustrates the development of ideas about witchcraft from ancient times to the eighteenth century. Many of the sources come from the period between 1400 and 1750, when more than 100,000 people - most of them women - were prosecuted for witchcraft in Europe and colonial America. During these years the prominent stereotype of the witch as an evil magician and servant of Satan emerged. Catholics and Protestants alike feared that the Devil and his human confederates were destroying Christian society. Including trial records, demonological treatises and sermons, literary texts, narratives of demonic possession, and artistic depiction of witches, the documents reveal how contemporaries from various periods have perceived alleged witches and their activities. Brian P. Levack shows how notions of witchcraft have changed over time and considers the connection between gender and witchcraft and the nature of the witch's perceived power. This second edition includes an extended section on the witch trials in England, Scotland and New England, fully revised and updated introductions to the sources to include the latest scholarship and a short bibliography at the end of each introduction to guide students in their further reading. The Sourcebook provides students of the history of witchcraft with a broad range of sources, many of which have been translated into English for the first time, with commentary and background by one of the leading scholars in the field.
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.
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.
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.
Combining diverse sociological and philosophical theories, this title offers a comparative analysis of the witch hunts of the early modern era. It contains an analyses of the role of apocalyptic crises such as plague, war and other hardship.
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.
"In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries thousands of women confessed to being witches and were put to death ... Drawing on hundreds of original trial transcripts and other rare sources in four areas of Southern Germany, where most of the witches were executed, Lyndal Roper paints a vivid picture of their lives, families and tribulations. She also explores the psychology of witch-hunting, explaining why it was mostly older women who were the victims of witch crazes, why they confessed to crimes, and how the depiction of witches in art and literature has influenced the characterisation of elderly women in western culture"--Dust jacket.
This comprehensive resource explores the evolution of western attitudes towards religion, politics, and the supernatural, which intersected to spawn the notorious witch hunts in Europe and the New World.
"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.
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.
Witchcraft, Witch-hunting, and Politics in Early Modern England constitutes a wide-ranging and original overview of the place of witchcraft and witch-hunting in the broader culture of early modern England. Based on a mass of new evidence extracted from a range of archives, both local and national, it seeks to relate the rise and decline of belief in witchcraft, alongside the legal prosecution of witches, to the wider political culture of the period. Building on the seminal work of scholars such as Stuart Clark, Ian Bostridge, and Jonathan Barry, Peter Elmer demonstrates how learned discussion of witchcraft, as well as the trials of those suspected of the crime, were shaped by religious and political imperatives in the period from the passage of the witchcraft statute of 1563 to the repeal of the various laws on witchcraft. In the process, Elmer sheds new light upon various issues relating to the role of witchcraft in English society, including the problematic relationship between puritanism and witchcraft as well as the process of decline.
Inspired by recent efforts to understand the dynamics of the early modern witch hunt, Johannes Dillinger has produced a powerful synthesis based on careful comparisons. Narrowing his focus to two specific regions—Swabian Austria and the Electorate of Trier—he provides a nuanced explanation of how the tensions between state power and communalism determined the course of witch hunts that claimed over 1,300 lives in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Germany. Dillinger finds that, far from representing the centralizing aggression of emerging early states against local cultures, witch hunts were almost always driven by members of the middling and lower classes in cities and villages, and they were stopped only when early modern states acquired the power to control their localities. Situating his study in the context of a pervasive magical worldview that embraced both orthodox Christianity and folk belief, Dillinger shows that, in some cases, witch trials themselves were used as magical instruments, designed to avert threats of impending divine wrath. "Evil People" describes a two-century evolution in which witch hunters who liberally bestowed the label "evil people" on others turned into modern images of evil themselves. In the original German, "Evil People" won the Friedrich Spee Award as an outstanding contribution to the history of witchcraft.

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