Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Paperback | October 21, 1999

byStuart Clark

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This is a work of fundamental importance for our understanding of the intellectual and cultural history of early modern Europe. Stuart Clark offers a new interpretation of the witchcraft beliefs of European intellectuals based on their publications in the field of demonology, and shows howthese beliefs fitted rationally with many other views current in Europe between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Professor Clark is the first to explore the appeal of demonology to early modern intellectuals by looking at the books they published on the subject during this period. After examining the linguistic foundations of their writings, the author shows how the writers' ideas about witchcraft (and aboutmagic) complemented their other intellectual commitments--in particular, their conceptions of nature, history, religion, and politics. The result is much more than a history of demonology. It is a survey of wider intellectual and ideological purposes, and underlines just how far the nature ofrationality is dependent on its historical context.

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From the Publisher

This is a work of fundamental importance for our understanding of the intellectual and cultural history of early modern Europe. Stuart Clark offers a new interpretation of the witchcraft beliefs of European intellectuals based on their publications in the field of demonology, and shows howthese beliefs fitted rationally with many other...

Stuart Clark is at University of Swansea.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:October 21, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198208081

ISBN - 13:9780198208082

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Customer Reviews of Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A devil of a good book Clark has done a fantastic job of surveying the beliefs and social impact of demonology and witchcraft. His extensive footnotes provide ample explanations and sources for further reading. He structures his arguments well, providing explanations of key ideas that are necessary for the development of his ideas. The length of the book means that almost every topic is dealt with at some point. Clark really impressed me when he started out with a brief explanation of performative speech acts and Neoplatonism as a means of understanding the beliefs in magic at the time. This is an excellent tool for those interested in witchcraft and demonology, for scholarly as well as personal interests.
Date published: 2002-03-21

Extra Content

Table of Contents

PART I : LANGUAGE 1. Witchcraft and Language 2. Festivals and Sabbaths 3. Dual Classification 4. Contrariety 5. Inversion6. The Devil, God's Ape 7. Witchcraft and Wit-Craft 8. Women and Witchcraft 9. Unstable MeaningsPART II : SCIENCE 10. Witchcraft and science 11. The Devil in Nature 12. The Causes of Witchcraft 13. Believers and Sceptics 14. Natural Magic 15. Demonic Magic 16. Prerogative Instances (1) 17. Prerogative Instances (2) 18. The Magical Power of Signs 19. Witchcraft and theScientific RevolutionPART III: HISTORY 20. Witchcraft and History 21. Postremus Furor Satanae 22. Eschatology 23. The Life and Times of the Antichrist 24. The Witch as Portent 25. Witch-Cleansing 26. Understanding Possession 27. Possession, Exorcism, and History28. Before LoudunPART IV: RELIGION 29. Witchcraft and Religion 30. Cases of Conscience 31. Popular Magic 32. Superstition 33. Reformation34. Acculturation by Text 35. Protestant Witchcraft, Catholic WitchcraftPART V: POLITICS 36. Politics and Witchcraft 37. Magistrates and Witches 38. Inviolability 39. The Charisma of Office 40. Mystical Politics 41. Marvellous Monarchy 42. Spectacles of Disenchantment 43. Kingcraft and Witchcraft 44. Bodin's Political DemonologyPostscript Bibliography Index

Editorial Reviews

`Clarke is showing something of a break with the historiographical trends which have prevailed in witchcraft studies over the last twenty years.'J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2,