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The Malleus Maleficarum and the construction of witchcraft: Theology and popular belief

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ISBN: 9781526137814 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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What was witchcraft? Were witches real? How should witches be identified? How should they be judged? Towards the end of the middle ages these were serious and important questions - and completely new. Between 1430 and 1500, a number of learned 'witch-theorists' attempted to provide the answers to such questions, and of these perhaps the most famous are the Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger, the authors of the Malleus Maleficarum, or The Hammer of Witches. The Malleus is widely recognised as an important medieval text and is frequently quoted by authors across a wide range of scholarly disciplines. Yet as a source the Malleus presents serious difficulties: it is difficult to understand out of context, and cannot be said to be representative of late medieval learned thinking in general. This, the first book-length study of the original text in English, provides students and scholars with an introduction to this controversial work and to the conceptual world of its authors. Like all witch-theorists, Institoris and Sprenger constructed their witch out of a constellation of pre-existing popular beliefs and learned traditions. Therefore, to understand the Malleus, one must also understand the contemporary and subsequent debates over the reality and nature of witches. Ultimately, this book argues that although the Malleus was a highly idiosyncratic text, with a view of witches very different from that of competing authors, its arguments were powerfully compelling and therefore remained influential long after alternatives were forgotten. Consequently, although focused on a single text, this study has important implications for fifteenth-century witchcraft theory. This is a fascinating work on the Malleus and will be essential to students and academics of late medieval and early modern history, religion and witchcraft studies.

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maleficarum --- witchcraft --- witches

Witchcraft continued: Popular magic in modern Europe

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ISBN: 9780719066580 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Witchcraft continued provides an important collection of essays on the nature and understanding of witchcraft and magic in European society over the last two centuries. It innovatively brings together the interests of historians in nineteenth-century witchcraft and the twentieth-century fieldwork of anthropologists and sociologists on the continued relevance of witch beliefs. The book covers England, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Finland, Transylvania and Northern Ireland. It examines the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft from both above and below. They demonstrate the widespread fear of witches amongst the masses during the nineteenth century, and the continued but more restricted relevance of witchcraft in the twentieth century. While the educated classes generally denounced witch-believers as either superstitious, foolish or both, secular and religious authorities still had to find strategies of dealing with the demands of those who believed themselves the victims of witchcraft. Moreover the rise of the folklore movement and the growth of anthropology as an academic discipline over the period provided a huge body of evidence on continuing beliefs that many had consigned to the past. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the continued importance of witchcraft and magic in the modern era. More generally it will appeal to those with a lively interest in the cultural history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Keywords

transylvania --- folklore --- witchcraft --- witches

Witchcraft narratives in Germany: Rothenburg, 1561-1652

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ISBN: 9780719052590 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into 'witch-crazes' in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city which experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The author explores the factors that explain the absence of a 'witch-craze' in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a lively narrative style, this innovative study invites a wide readership to share in the compelling drama of early modern witch trials. It will be essential reading for researchers working in witchcraft studies, as well as those in the wider field of early modern European history.

Keywords

germany --- folklore --- witchcraft --- witches

Beyond the witch trials: Witchcraft and magic in Enlightenment Europe

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ISBN: 9780719066603 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: Religion
Added to DOAB on : 2011-11-04 00:00:00
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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.

Keywords

enlightenment --- folklore --- witchcraft

Male witches in early modern Europe

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ISBN: 9780719057090 Year: Language: English
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2012-07-20 14:49:16
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Gender at stake critiques historians' assumptions about witch-hunting as well as their explanations for this complex and perplexing phenomenon. 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 marginalisation of male witches by feminist and other historians. The book 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 analyse ideas about witches and witch prosecution as gendered artefacts of patriarchal societies under which both women and men suffered. They challenge recent arguments and current orthodoxies by applying crucial insights from feminist scholarship on gender to a selection of statistical arguments, social-historical explanations, traditional feminist history and primary sources, including trial records and demonological literature. The authors assessment of current orthodoxies concerning the causes and origins of witch-hunting will be of particular interest to scholars and students in undergraduate and graduate courses in early modern history, religion, culture, gender studies and methodology.

Talking it Through: Responses to Sorcery and Witchcraft Beliefs and Practices in Melanesia

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ISBN: 9781925021561 Year: DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_569113 Language: English
Publisher: ANU Press
Subject: Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-07-14 11:01:28
License: ANU Press

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Sorcery and witchcraft practices and beliefs are pervasive across Melanesia. They are in part created by, and give rise to, a wide variety of poor social and developmental outcomes. These include uneven economic development, low public health, lack of social cohesion, crime, fear and insecurity. A further very visible problem is the attacks on men and women who are accused of being practitioners of witchcraft or sorcery, which can lead to serious bodily harm, banishment and sometimes death. Today, many communities, individuals, church organisations and policymakers in Melanesia and internationally are exploring ways to overcome the negative social outcomes associated with witchcraft and sorcery practices and beliefs. This book brings together a collection of chapters written by a diverse range of authors, both Melanesian and non-Melanesian, providing crucial insights both into how these practices and beliefs are playing out in contemporary Melanesia, and also the types of interventions that are being trialled or debated to address the problems associated with them.

Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine

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Book Series: Palgrave Historical Studies in the Criminal Corpse and its Afterlife ISBN: 9783319595184 9783319595191 Year: Pages: 118 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59519-1 Language: English
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Subject: Law
Added to DOAB on : 2017-11-23 15:55:19
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This book explores the magical and medical history of executions from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century by looking at the afterlife potency of criminal corpses, the healing activities of the executioner, and the magic of the gallows site. The use of corpses in medicine and magic has been recorded back into antiquity. The lacerated bodies of Roman gladiators were used as a source of curative blood, for instance. In early modern Europe, a great trade opened up in ancient Egyptian mummies and the fat of executed criminals, plundered as medicinal cure-alls. However, this is the first book to consider the demand for the blood of the executed, the desire for human fat, the resort to the hanged man’s hand, and the trade in hanging rope in the modern era. It ends by look at the spiritual afterlife of dead criminals.

The Witch and the Hysteric: The Monstrous Medieval in Benjamin Christensen's Häxan

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ISBN: 9780692230152 Year: Pages: 84 DOI: 10.21983/P3.0074.1.00 Language: English
Publisher: punctum books
Subject: Performing Arts
Added to DOAB on : 2019-06-12 09:24:41
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Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 Swedish/Danish film Häxan (known under its English title as Witchcraft Through the Ages) has entranced, entertained, shocked, and puzzled audiences for nearly a century. The film mixes documentary with fantasy, history with theatrics, religion and science, the medieval past and modern culture. This uncanny content is compounded by the film’s formal strangeness, a mixture of quasi-documentary with fictional episodes, illustrated lectures alongside docudrama recreations and dreamscapes. Is this a documentary, a horror flick, or both? In this chapbook, authors Doty and Ingham argue that the puzzle of Christensen’s Häxan might be unraveled by attending to the film’s provocative and paradoxical medievalism, its fantasmatic rendering of the witch as a medieval monster. Such monstrous medievalism, moreover, sheds considerable light on the politics of gender and culture once the witch is rendered a female figure in a time out-of-joint.

Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681

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ISBN: 9789198376876 Year: Pages: 360 Language: English
Publisher: Lund University Press
Subject: History --- Languages and Literatures
Added to DOAB on : 2019-03-21 11:21:02
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This book situates witchcraft drama within its cultural and intellectual context, highlighting the centrality of scepticism and belief in witchcraft to the genre. It is argued that these categories are most fruitfully understood not as static and mutually exclusive positions within the debate around witchcraft, but as rhetorical tools used within it. In drama, too, scepticism and belief are vital issues. The psychology of the witch character is characterised by a combination of impious scepticism towards God and credulous belief in the tricks of the witch’s master, the devil. Plays which present plausible depictions of witches typically use scepticism as a support: the witch’s power is subject to important limitations which make it easier to believe. Plays that take witchcraft less seriously present witches with unrestrained power, an excess of belief which ultimately induces scepticism. But scepticism towards witchcraft can become a veneer of rationality concealing other beliefs that pass without sceptical examination. The theatrical representation of witchcraft powerfully demonstrates its uncertain status as a historical and intellectual phenomenon; belief and scepticism in witchcraft drama are always found together, in creative tension with one another.&#xD;

Realizing the Witch

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ISBN: 9780823274871 Year: Pages: 284 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_605860 Language: English
Publisher: Fordham University Press Grant: Knowledge Unlatched
Subject: History
Added to DOAB on : 2016-05-09 11:01:13
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Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan (The Witch, 1922) stands as a singular film within the history of cinema. Deftly weaving contemporary scientific analysis and powerfully staged historical scenes of satanic initiation, confession under torture, possession, and persecution, Häxan creatively blends spectacle and argument to provoke a humanist re-evaluation of witchcraft in European history as well as the contemporary treatment of female “hysterics” and the mentally ill. In Realizing the Witch, Baxstrom and Meyers show how Häxan opens a window onto wider debates in the 1920s regarding the relationship of film to scientific evidence, the evolving study of religion from historical and anthropological perspectives, and the complex relations between popular culture, artistic expression, and concepts in medicine and psychology. Häxan is a film that travels along the winding path of art and science rather than between the narrow division of “documentary” and “fiction.” Baxstrom and Meyers reveal how Christensen’s attempt to tame the irrationality of “the witch” risked validating the very “nonsense” that such an effort sought to master and dispel. Häxan is a notorious, genre-bending, excessive cinematic account of the witch in early modern Europe. Realizing the Witch not only illustrates the underrated importance of the film within the canons of classic cinema, it lays bare the relation of the invisible to that which we cannot prove but nevertheless “know” to be there. This title was made Open Access by libraries from around the world through Knowledge Unlatched.

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