Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750 by Euan Cameron

Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750

byEuan Cameron

Paperback | September 16, 2011

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Since the dawn of history people have used charms and spells to try to control their environment, and forms of divination to try to foresee the otherwise unpredictable chances of life. Many of these techniques were called 'superstitious' by educated elites. For centuries religious believers used 'superstition' as a term of abuse to denounce another religion that they thought inferior, or to criticize their fellow-believers for practising their faith 'wrongly'. From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, scholars argued over what 'superstition' was, howto identify it, and how to persuade people to avoid it. Learned believers in demons and witchcraft, in their treatises and sermons, tried to make 'rational' sense of popular superstitions by blaming them on the deceptive tricks of seductive demons. Every major movement in Christian thought, from rival schools of medieval theology through to the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, added new twists to the debates over superstition. Protestants saw Catholics as superstitious, and vice versa. Enlightened philosophers mockedtraditional cults as superstitions. Eventually, the learned lost their worry about popular belief, and turned instead to chronicling and preserving 'superstitious' customs as folklore and ethnic heritage. Enchanted Europe is the first comprehensive, integrated account of western Europe's long, complex dialogue with its own folklore and popular beliefs. Drawing on many little-known and rarely used texts, Euan Cameron constructs a compelling narrative of the rise, diversification, and decline ofpopular 'superstition' in the European mind.

About The Author

Euan Cameron received his B.A. and D.Phil. degrees from Oxford University. He was a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford from 1979 to 1986, and a member of the Department of History of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne from 1985 to 2002. Since 2002 he has been Henry Luce III Professor of Reformation Church History at Union Theologi...
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Title:Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750Format:PaperbackDimensions:488 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.64 inPublished:September 16, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199605114

ISBN - 13:9780199605118

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1: Discerning and Controlling Invisible Forces: The Image of 'Superstition' in the Literature1. The Problems of Pre-Modern Life2. A Densely Populated Universe3. Helpful Performances: The Uses of Ritual4. Insight and Foresight: Techniques of DivinationPart 2: The Learned Response to Superstitions in the Middle Ages: Angels and Demons5. The Patristic and Early Medieval Heritage6. Scholastic Demonology in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries7. The Demonological Reading of Superstitions in the Late Middle Ages: Areas of Consensus8. The Demonological Reading of Superstitions in the Late Middle Ages: Areas of Difference and Disagreement9. The pastoral use of the scholastic critique of superstitionsPart 3: Superstitions in Controversy: Renaissance and Reformations10. Some Renaissance Christian Humanists and 'Superstition'11. Magic, the Fallen World, and Fallen Humanity: Martin Luther on the devil and superstitions12. Prodigies, Providences and Possession: the 16th-century Protestant Context13. The Protestant Critique of Consecrations: Catholicism as Superstition14. The Protestant Doctrine of Providence and the Transformation of the Devil15. Reformed Catholicism: Purifying Sources, Defending TraditionsPart 4: The Cosmos changes shape: Superstition is re-defined16. Demonology becomes an open subject in the 17th century17. Defending the 'invisible world': the campaign against 'Saducism'18. Towards the Enlightenment

Editorial Reviews

`Enchanted Europe is a major contribution to the religious and intellectual history of late medieval and early modern Europe...a striking intervention in a debate that has lately been in danger of stagnation. Euan Cameron has written an immensely learned book that greatly advances ourunderstanding of the mental universe of the early modern intelligentsia and seems set to stimulate ongoing discussion of its challenging subject.' Alexandra Walsham, Journal of Ecclesiastical History