Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750 (Hardback)
  • Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750 (Hardback)
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Enchanted Europe: Superstition, Reason, and Religion 1250-1750 (Hardback)

(author)
£59.00
Hardback 488 Pages / Published: 18/03/2010
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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, how to 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 mocked traditional 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 offers 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 of popular 'superstition' in the European mind.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199257829
Number of pages: 488
Weight: 879 g
Dimensions: 241 x 164 x 33 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Fresh and exciting...a significant contribution to the history of ideas. * Ronald Hutton, Financial Times *
Enchanted Europe gives the history of superstition this strong, if necessarily teleological shape, together with some much needed rigour. It also shifts the history of Europe's intellectual disenchantment from its usual focus on the fortunes of magic and witchcraft... these are considerable achievements. * Stuart Clark, Times Literary Supplement *
Thorough and enthralling * Steve Craggs, Northern Echo *
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 our understanding 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 *

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