The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Paperback | December 3, 2014

EditorBrian P. Levack

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The essays in this Handbook, written by leading scholars working in the rapidly developing field of witchcraft studies, explore the historical literature regarding witch beliefs and witch trials in Europe and colonial America between the early fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries. Duringthese years witches were thought to be evil people who used magical power to inflict physical harm or misfortune on their neighbours. Witches were also believed to have made pacts with the devil and sometimes to have worshipped him at nocturnal assemblies known as sabbaths. These beliefs providedthe basis for defining witchcraft as a secular and ecclesiastical crime and prosecuting tens of thousands of women and men for this offence. The trials resulted in as many as fifty thousand executions.These essays study the rise and fall of witchcraft prosecutions in the various kingdoms and territories of Europe and in English, Spanish, and Portuguese colonies in the Americas. They also relate these prosecutions to the Catholic and Protestant reformations, the introduction of new forms ofcriminal procedure, medical and scientific thought, the process of state-building, profound social and economic change, early modern patterns of gender relations, and the wave of demonic possessions that occurred in Europe at the same time. The essays survey the current state of knowledge in thefield, explore the academic controversies that have arisen regarding witch beliefs and witch trials, propose new ways of studying the subject, and identify areas for future research.

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The essays in this Handbook, written by leading scholars working in the rapidly developing field of witchcraft studies, explore the historical literature regarding witch beliefs and witch trials in Europe and colonial America between the early fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries. Duringthese years witches were thought to be evil p...

Brian P. Levack has published widely on English and Scottish legal history and the history of witchcraft prosecutions. His books on witchcraft include The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (3rd ed., 2006) and Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion (2008). He is co-author of Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:644 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.01 inPublished:December 3, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198723636

ISBN - 13:9780198723639

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Table of Contents

Brian P. Levack: IntroductionPart I: Witch Beliefs1. Richard Kieckhefer: Magic and its Hazards in the Late Medieval West2. Hans Peter Broedel: Fifteenth-Century Witch Beliefs3. Edward Bever: Popular Witch Beliefs and Magical Practices4. Gerhild Scholz Williams: Demonologies5. Willem de Blecourt: Sabbath Stories: Towards a New History of Witches' Assemblies6. Walter Stephens: The Sceptical Tradition7. Diane Purkiss: Witchcraft in Early Modern Literature8. Charles Zika: Images of Witchcraft in Early Modern EuropePart II: Witchcraft Prosecutions9. Richard Kieckhefer: The First Wave of Trials for Diabolical Witchcraft10. Thomas Robisheaux: The German Witch Trials11. Robin Briggs: Witchcraft and the Local Communities: The Rhine-Moselle Region12. William Monter: Witchcraft Trials in France13. Hans de Waardt: Witchcraft and Wealth: The Case of the Netherlands14. Tamar Herzig: Witchcraft Prosecutions in Italy15. William Monter: Witchcraft in Iberia16. Malcolm Gaskill: Witchcraft Trials in England17. Julian Goodare: Witchcraft in Scotland18. Michael Ostling: Witchcraft in Poland: Milk and Malefice19. Ildiko Sz. Kristof: Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Hungary20. Valerie Kivelson: Witchcraft Trials in Russia: History and Historiography21. Rune Blix Hagen: Witchcraft Criminality and Witchcraft Research in the Nordic Countries22. Richard Godbeer: Witchcraft in British America23. Iris Gareis: Merging Magical Traditions: Sorcery and Witchcraft in Spanish and Portuguese America24. Brian P. Levack: The Decline and End of Witchcraft ProsecutionsPart III: Themes of Witchcraft Research25. Alison Rowlands: Witchcraft and Gender in Early Modern Europe26. Brian P. Levack: Witchcraft and the Law27. Gary K. Waite: Sixteenth-Century Religious Reform and the Witch-Hunts28. Oscar Di Simplicio: On the Neuropsychological Origins of Witchcraft Cognition: the Geographic and Economic Variable29. Johannes Dillinger: Politics, Sate Building, and Witch-Hunting30. Peter Elmer: Science and Witchcraft31. Peter Elmer: Medicine and Witchcraft32. Sarah Ferber: Demonic Possession, Exorcism, and Witchcraft

Editorial Reviews

"a worthwhile contribution to the literature which all concerned with early modern witchcraft will consult with profit" --Michael Hunter, History Today