Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History / Edition 2

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Overview

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 2001

The highly-acclaimed first edition of this book chronicled the rise and fall of witchcraft in Europe between the twelfth and the end of the seventeenth centuries. Now greatly expanded, the classic anthology of contemporary texts reexamines the phenomenon of witchcraft, taking into account the remarkable scholarship since the book's publication almost thirty years ago.

Spanning the period from 400 to 1700, the second edition of Witchcraft in Europe assembles nearly twice as many primary documents as the first, many newly translated, along with new illustrations that trace the development of witch-beliefs from late Mediterranean antiquity through the Enlightenment. Trial records, inquisitors' reports, eyewitness statements, and witches' confessions, along with striking contemporary illustrations depicting the career of the Devil and his works, testify to the hundreds of years of terror that enslaved an entire continent.

Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Thomas Hobbes, and other thinkers are quoted at length in order to determine the intellectual, perceptual, and legal processes by which "folklore" was transformed into systematic demonology and persecution. Together with explanatory notes, introductory essays—which have been revised to reflect current research—and a new bibliography, the documents gathered in Witchcraft in Europe vividly illumine the dark side of the European mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Revisions have made this anthology stronger and even more essential."—Choice

Praise for the first edition:
"Comprehensive, original, scholarly, philosophically searching and meticulously prepared. . . .The volume, copiously illustrated, reveals the shocking impact of the belief in witches on Europe's Middle Ages, and examines the struggles of thinkers . . . to confront the phenomenon on rational terms. This is a major work in the genre."—Publishers Weekly

"Anyone prepared to come to grips with man's most bloody assault on his domestic enemy should read with care this learned, handsome—and sickening book."—John F. Benton

"An indispensable source book."—Choice

Booknews
While acknowledging that one of the medieval texts in the 1972 edition was found to be a forgery, this edition incorporates more recent research on witchcraft's role in early modern European history. These 69 archival, literary, and pictorial sources are grouped, with introductions, by the themes of: christianizing the magical tradition; sorcery in Christendom; Thomas Aquinas on sorcery and the nature of evil; popes, theologians, preachers, lawyers, and judges; the sect of diabolical witches; the hammer of witches; humanists, sorcerers, preachers, and popes; the problem in the Reformation; persecutions in the 17th century; and belief and disbelief in the 16th-18th centuries. Includes 41 illustrations. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812217513
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: The Middle Ages Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 544,091
  • Product dimensions: 1.04 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Charles Kors is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Atheism in France, 1650-1729 and (with Harvey A. Silvergate) The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses. Edward Peters is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his books are Torture and The First Crusade, both also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.
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