Magic And Impotence In The Middle Ages

Hardcover | January 26, 2006

byCatherine Rider

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Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages investigates the common medieval belief that magic could cause impotence, focusing particularly on the period 1150-1450. The subject has never been studied in detail before, but there is a surprisingly large amount of information about it in four kindsof source: confessors' manuals; medical compendia that discussed many illnesses; commentaries on canon law; and theological commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Although most historians of medieval culture focus on only one or two of these kinds of source, a broader comparison revealsthat medieval writers held surprisingly diverse opinions about what magic was, how it worked, and whether it was ever legitimate to use it.Medieval discussions of magically caused impotence also include a great deal of information about magical practices, most of which have not been studied before. In particular, these sources say a great deal about popular magic, a subject which has been particularly neglected by historians becausethe evidence is scanty and difficult to interpret. Magic and Impotence makes new information about popular magic available for the first time.Magic and Impotence also examines why the authors of legal, medical, and theological texts were so interested in popular magical practices relating to impotence. It therefore uses magically caused impotence as a case-study to explore the relationship between elite and popular culture. Inparticular, this study emphasizes the importance of the thirteenth-century pastoral reform movement, which sought to enforce more orthodox religious practices. Historians have often noted that this movement brought churchmen into contact with popular beliefs, but this is the first study todemonstrate the profound effect it had on theological and legal ideas about magic.

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Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages investigates the common medieval belief that magic could cause impotence, focusing particularly on the period 1150-1450. The subject has never been studied in detail before, but there is a surprisingly large amount of information about it in four kindsof source: confessors' manuals; medical compe...

Catherine Rider is at Research Fellow in Medieval History, Christ's College, Cambridge.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:268 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.82 inPublished:January 26, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199282226

ISBN - 13:9780199282227

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. 'My Lady Knows Impious Things': Impotence Magic in the Ancient World3. 'What Adulterous Women Do': The Early Middle Ages, c.800-c.11004. Impotence Magic Enters the Academic World 1100-11905. How to Bind a Man or Woman: Impotence in the Magical Texts6. 'Everywhere on Earth, Certain Idolatries Reign': Pastoral Literature 1200-14007. Annulment Procedures and Frivolous Cures: Canon Law 1190-14008. Necromancers, Confessions, and the Power of Demons: Theology 1220-14009. Herbs and Magic: Medicine 1240-140010. Impotence Magic and the Rise of WitchcraftConclusionAppendixesBibliographyIndex