Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief (Past and Present Publications)

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9780521552240: Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief (Past and Present Publications)

This important new collection of essays offers a wide readership both an up-to-date account of the present state of scholarship on early modern European witchcraft and an indication of the direction of new research. The contributors build on and respond to the issues raised in Keith Thomas' classic study Religion and the Decline of Magic, and suggest a greater emphasis on cultural history, notably issues of power, gender and language. The essays are European in scope, with examples from Germany, France and the Spanish expansion into the New World, as well as a strong core of English material.

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From the Back Cover:

This important collection of essays brings together both established figures and new researchers to offer fresh perspectives on the ever controversial subject of the history of witchcraft. Using Keith Thomas's Religion and the Decline of Magic as a starting point, the contributors explore the changes of the last twenty-five years in the understanding of early modern witchcraft, and suggest new approaches, especially concerning the cultural dimensions of the subject. Witchcraft cases must be understood as power struggles, over gender and ideology as well as social relationships, with a crucial role played by alternative representations. Witchcraft was always a contested idea, never fully established in early modern culture but much harder to dislodge than has usually been assumed. The essays are European in scope, with examples from Germany, France and the Spanish expansion into the New World, as well as a strong core of English material.

Review:

"Essential reading on the history of European witchcraft." Richard M. Golden, Religious Studies Review

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EDITED BY JONATHAN BARRY , MARIANNE HESTER , GARETH ROBERTS
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