Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief / Edition 1

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Overview

This important collection of essays brings together both established figures and new researchers to offer fresh perspectives on the ever controversial subject of the history of witchcraft. Using Keith Thomas's Religion and the Decline of Magic as a starting point, the contributors explore the changes of the last twenty-five years in the understanding of early modern witchcraft, and suggest new approaches, especially concerning the cultural dimensions of the subject. Witchcraft cases must be understood as power struggles, over gender and ideology as well as social relationships, with a crucial role played by alternative representations. Witchcraft was always a contested idea, never fully established in early modern culture but much harder to dislodge than has usually been assumed. The essays are European in scope, with examples from Germany, France and the Spanish expansion into the New World, as well as a strong core of English material.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essential reading on the history of European witchcraft." Richard M. Golden, Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521638753
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Series: Past and Present Publications Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction: Keith Thomas and the problem of witchcraft 1
2 'Many reasons why': witchcraft and the problem of multiple explanation 49
3 Witchcraft studies in Austria, Germany and Switzerland 64
4 State-building and witch hunting in early modern Europe 96
5 The devil's encounter with America 119
6 'Saints or sorcerers': Quakerism, demonology and the decline of witchcraft in seventeenth-century England 145
7 The descendants of Circe: witches and Renaissance fictions 183
8 Witchcraft and fantasy in early modern Germany 207
9 The devil in East Anglia: the Matthew Hopkins trials reconsidered 237
10 Witchcraft in early modern Kent: stereotypes and the background to accusations 257
11 Patriarchal reconstruction and witch hunting 288
12 Witchcraft repealed 309
13 On the continuation of witchcraft 335
Index 353
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