Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead, and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds

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9780415404921: Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead, and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds

Strange Histories presents a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European and North American history and explains how they made sense to people living at the time. 

From grisly anecdotes about ghosts, to stories of witches and werewolves, the book uses case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period and provides fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It shows how such occurences fitted in quite naturally with the "common sense" of the time and offers explanations of these riveting and ultimately rational phenomena.

What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? This question and many more are answered in the fascinating book.

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About the Author:

Darren Oldridge is a lecturer in history at University College Worcester. He is the editor of The WItchcraft Reader.

From Publishers Weekly:

Despite the spooky title and cover art, this is not a collection of Gothic ghost stories or fireside tales. These accounts of pre-modern beliefs (spanning the late Middle Ages to the late 17th century) employ serious scholarship. Oldridge contends that examining the so-called "strange" beliefs of the past can help us achieve a richer understanding of history. "If we can begin to understand why a French judge warned people about demonically possessed apples in 1602," he writes, "we might start to unravel the intellectual context in which he lived." But more importantly, Oldridge hopes that grasping the context of these beliefs will encourage readers to take a critical look at their own preconceived ideas. If the book suffers from anything, it is an intellectual earnestness and over-seriousness most evident in Oldridge’s constant insistence that the majority of the people he writes about were acting with "good intentions." For example, in a chapter on the rationale behind the execution of heretics in Medieval times, Oldridge notes that "the pious desire to retrieve souls from damnation could, of course, conceal more worldly motives for suppressing dissent, but it would be unduly cynical to assume this was normally the case." In moments like this, it seems that Oldridge’s single-minded adherence to his thesis—that "bizarre" past behavior and beliefs are entirely rational when taken in context—blinds him to the instances when people may very well have had impure motivations. That said, this is still a fascinating historical study that encourages self-reflection.
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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Strange Histories presents a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European and North American history and explains how they made sense to people living at the time. From grisly anecdotes about ghosts, to stories of witches and werewolves, the book uses case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period and provides fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It shows how such occurences fitted in quite naturally with the common sense of the time and offers explanations of these riveting and ultimately rational phenomena. What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? This question and many more are answered in the fascinating book. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780415404921

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Book Description Taylor Francis Ltd, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Strange Histories presents a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European and North American history and explains how they made sense to people living at the time. From grisly anecdotes about ghosts, to stories of witches and werewolves, the book uses case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period and provides fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It shows how such occurences fitted in quite naturally with the common sense of the time and offers explanations of these riveting and ultimately rational phenomena. What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? This question and many more are answered in the fascinating book. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780415404921

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Book Description Taylor & Francis Ltd. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Strange Histories: The Trial of the Pig, the Walking Dead and Other Matters of Fact from the Medieval and Renaissance Worlds, Darren Oldridge, Strange Histories presents a serious account of some of the most extraordinary occurrences of European and North American history and explains how they made sense to people living at the time. From grisly anecdotes about ghosts, to stories of witches and werewolves, the book uses case studies from the Middle Ages and the early modern period and provides fascinating insights into the world-view of a vanished age. It shows how such occurences fitted in quite naturally with the "common sense" of the time and offers explanations of these riveting and ultimately rational phenomena. What made reasonable, educated men and women behave in ways that seem utterly nonsensical to us today? This question and many more are answered in the fascinating book. Bookseller Inventory # B9780415404921

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