The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America - Oxford Handbooks (Paperback)
  • The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America - Oxford Handbooks (Paperback)
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The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America - Oxford Handbooks (Paperback)

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Paperback 644 Pages / Published: 27/11/2014
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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. During these 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 provided the 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 of criminal 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 the field, 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.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198723639
Number of pages: 644
Weight: 1118 g
Dimensions: 247 x 173 x 35 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
a worthwhile contribution to the literature which all concerned with early modern witchcraft will consult with profit. * Michael Hunter, History Today *
the individual contributions are on the whole of a truly excellent standard. The sum of its parts more than suffices to recommend this volume. * Jan Machielsen, English Historical Review *
Editor Levack's balanced volume is a welcome addition to the study of the history of witchcraft ... Highly recommended. * A.E. Leykam, CHOICE *
The essays in this collection succeed well in representing the field in its rich complexity, regional variation and historical contours. The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft offers a broad historiographical entree into witchcraft studies ... as well as an up-to-date glimpse into the debates and claims of the field for scholars seeking a reliable and suitably deep overview ... this volume ranks among the best. * Laura Stokes, History *

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