Eradicating the Devil's Minions: Anabaptists and Witches in Reformation Europe, 1535-1600

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9780802091550: Eradicating the Devil's Minions: Anabaptists and Witches in Reformation Europe, 1535-1600
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As a religious sect, the Anabaptists were seen to practice unusual rituals and follow an eccentric set of beliefs. One story, for instance, purports that an Anabaptist prophet, claiming to have visited heaven, persuaded his followers to run naked through the streets of Amsterdam. Eradicating the Devil's Minions investigates these beliefs in the context of Reformation Europe, a time in which persecution, religious intolerance, and witch-hunting were rampant.

Focusing primarily on the Habsburg-controlled regions of Europe, Gary K. Waite argues that the persecution of Anabaptists did not go hand in hand with the outbreak of witch-hunts in the mid-sixteenth century. Rather, distrust of Anabaptists predated the first major witch panic of 1562-3, and Waite suggests that the virulent propaganda against Anabaptist heretics helped convince governments of the existence of a diabolical threat. Although Anabaptists rejected religious magic, they were consistently demonized by Catholic and Lutheran polemicists.

Eradicating the Devil's Minions is an investigation into the roots of religious intolerance in Reformation Europe, and a unique examination of mass hysteria and social extremism.

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'Already a leading authority in the history of heresy, Gary K. Waite offers challenging new ways to integrate the early modern witch hunts in the broader anti-heretical developments of the Reformation era.Eradicating the Devil's Minionssheds valuable light on a wealth of topics, including attitudes to miracles, debates over the sacraments - notably baptism, popular magic, shamanism and religious charisma - and the entire rhetoric of demonization.'

-Stuart Clark, Professor of History, University of Wales, Swansea

From the Inside Flap:

‘Already a leading authority in the history of heresy, Gary K. Waite offers challenging new ways to integrate the early modern witch hunts in the broader anti-heretical developments of the Reformation era. Eradicating the Devil’s Minions sheds valuable light on a wealth of topics, including attitudes to miracles, debates over the sacraments – notably baptism, popular magic, shamanism and religious charisma – and the entire rhetoric of demonization.’

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Waite, Gary K.
Published by University of Toronto Press, S (2007)
ISBN 10: 0802091555 ISBN 13: 9780802091550
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