Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe

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This is a major, groundbreaking study by a leading scholar of continental witchcraft studies, now made available to an English-speaking audience for the first time. The author has compiled a thorough overview of all known prosecutions for witchcraft in the period 1300-1800, and shows conclusively that witch hunting was not a constant or uniform phenomenon: three-quarters of all known executions for witchcraft were concentrated in the years 1586-1630. The book also investigates the social and political implications of witchcraft, and the complex religious debates between believers and skeptics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...essential reading for all serious students of the subject." Bob Scribner in English Historical Review

"It is gratifying to have Behringer's immensely valuable work now available in a very able translation. The work presents a rich treatment of the historiographical background and includes a detailed and sophisticated scholarly apparatus. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

"this is the definitive study of witchcraft in southeastern Germany...Owing to its clear thesis and solid archival foundation, this book will be the benchmark by which all future research on the subject will be assessed." Religious Studies Review

"This groundbreaking book by Wolfgang Behringer...essential reading.... ...excellent...." John E. Weakland, History

"All in all, this fine translation of Behringer's important monograph is a welcome addition to the English literature on the subject of the witch-hunts." Gary K. White, Canadian Journal of History

"This is the definitive study of withcraft in southern Germany,...Behringer places Bavarian withcraft in its social, religious, and political contexts. This book belongs in every university library." Religious Studies Review

"Widely and justly hailed in the years following its publication in German in 1987, Wolfgang Behringer's book has become the standard work on witchcraft in Bavaria and has, more broadly, redirected scholarly understandings of trials for the crime. The author succeeded in a remarkable feat. He wrote a painstakingly researched book on the political debates surrounding witchcraft and its prosecution in the Bavarian state...scholars of witchcraft cannot afford to ignore Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria". The Journal of Religion

"...a classic of recent scholarship on witchcraft." -Journal of American Folklore

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521525107
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/17/2002
  • Series: Past and Present Publications Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword; 1. Introduction; 2. Moving toward a social history of witchcraft; 3. The wave of persecutions around 1590; 4. The struggle for restraint, 1600–30; 5. Perpetuation through domestication, 1630–1775; 6. The final Catholic debate; 7. Conclusions; 8. Sources and literature.

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