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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Paperback)
  • Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Paperback)
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Paperback)

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£94.00
Paperback 845 Pages / Published: 21/10/1999
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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 how these 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 about magic) 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 of rationality is dependent on its historical context.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198208082
Number of pages: 845
Weight: 1166 g
Dimensions: 234 x 155 x 43 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This massive and rich book is brimming with suggestions for future researchers. Clark's bibliography is itself a contribution to witchcraft scholarship. Thinking with Demons will become a classic. * Richard M Golden, Religious Studies Review, Vol 27, No 2, April 2001 *
This is intellectual history at its best. Clark reads and understands the demonological writings between the late fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries on their own terms * Richard M Golden, Religious Studies Review, Vol 27, No 2, April 2001 *
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.3. *
This is a subtle exposition, informed but not distorted by an awareness of linguistic theory. J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3.
a formidable intellectual achievement ... it is doubtful if any current witchcraft scholar could equal the breadth of Clark's acquaintance with both works of demonology and more recent publications. He displays deep erudition with a light touch: the book, for all its length and the profundity of its scholarship, is a pleasure to read. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. *
a rich and exciting exposition of a belief system. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. *
Anybody who still believes that witchcraft was a marginal or unimportant aspect of European history should spend a weekend reading this book. They will emerge from the exercise with a clearer notion of what first rate intellectual history is like. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. *
deeply considered and weighty arguments based on dauntingly wide reading. * Ian Maclean, Stud. Hist.Phil.Sci. Vol.31, No.2. *
this is an ambitious and thematically broad book which constitutes a formidable intellectual achivement. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, *
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, *
Thinking with Demons, which offers a lot more than the basics, will intimidate many undergraduates, but will provide them with conclusive proof that witchcraft was not just a matter of village squabbles. It will also remind their teachers of the sheer complexity and pervasiveness of demonological thought. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, *
this is an ambitious and thematically broad book which constitutes a formidable intellectual achivement. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, *
it is doubtful if any current witchcraft scholar could equal the breadth of Clark's acquaintance with both works of demonology and more recent publications. He displays deep erudition with a light touch: the book, for all its length and the profondity of its scholarship, is a pleasure to read. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, *
Anybody who still believes that witchcraft was a marginal or unimportant aspect of European history should spend a weekend reading this book. They will emerge from the exercise with a clearer notion of what first rate intellectual history is like. * J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, *
a tour de force * David Wootton, LRB 11/11/99 *
It is a major accumulation of information about western European writings on witchcraft ... It will be a text consulted and cited by many subsequent scholars on witchcraft. * T. O. Beidelman, Anthropos *
This is a massive work. It covers far more ground than its title indicates...It is good, in these days of soundbites, "dumbing-down" and widespread intellectual sloth, to come upon such a monument of scholarship. The time, determination and care that must have gone into creating it are most impressive-and so is the result. Th ehopes and fears, doubts and certainties of the early modern intelligentsia come powerfully alive. Anyone who wishes to enter imaginatively into that mental world might well start by reading this remarkable book. * The Obsever review section *
of all the books on the subject that have recently appeared, this is perhaps the most remarkable, raising our understanding of ideas about witchcraft to a new level of sophistication. It is based on massive research in the learned literature of demonology in the period.../ ... Clark's erudition is combined with intense methodological sophistication.../ ... there is no doubt that IThinking with DemonsI willl force us to reconsider the place of witchcraft in early modern ideas, and thus to think more deeply about the nature of those ideas themselves./ Michael Hunter, Birkbeck College, London University, Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol 22, no 1 , May 1998.

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