Witchcraft by Malcolm GaskillWitchcraft is a subject that fascinates us all, and everyone knows what a witch is - or do they? From childhood most of us develop a sense of the mysterious, malign person, usually an old woman. Historically, too, we recognize witch-hunting as a feature of pre-modern societies. But why dowitches still feature so heavily in our cultures and consciousness? From Halloween to superstitions, and literary references such as Faust and even Harry Potter, witches still feature heavily in our society. In this Very Short Introduction Malcolm Gaskill challenges all of this, and argues that whatwe think we know is, in fact, wrong. Taking a historical perspective from the ancient world to contemporary paganism, Gaskill reveals how witchcraft has meant different things to different people and that in every age it has raised questions about the distinction between fantasy and reality, faith and proof. Telling stories, delving into court records, and challenging myths, Gaskill examines the witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and explores the reinvention of witchcraft - as history, religion, fiction, and metaphor.
Project Muse provides an online collection of scholarly peer-reviewed journals in the humanities and social sciences from not-for-profit publishers.
Expanded access granted by publisher through June 30 (and May 31 in some cases) in response to COVID-19: over 200 additional journals and over 10,000 books
Selected Books on European Witchcraft
The Trial of Tempel Anneke by Peter Morton (Editor); Barbara Dahms (Translator)The accused was Anna Roleffes, known as Tempel Anneke. She was arrested on the charge of witchcraft in June of 1663. She was found guilty and was executed on December 30th that same year. Her trial was long and involved, with many witnesses from several towns and villages. Consisting of direct translations of the trial testimony, "The Trial of Tempel Anneke "portrays a large and varied cast of characters including trades people, farmers, local nobility, village drunkards, and Tempel Anneke herself. Tempel Anneke was in several ways typical of those accused of witchcraft, yet from the testimony she emerges as a complex and controversial figure. She was literate and owned a few books and herbals; she prided herself on her medical and pharmaceutical knowledge and until the final stages of the trial when her confession was extracted under torture, she was sharp, assertive, and even witty in her responses to questioning. This English translation offers direct archival insight into the workings of 17th century law, contemporary understandings of justice, perceptions of natural and magical causes, and above all, the social history of the period. While other witchcraft materials exist, this is the only text available in English that allows students to follow a witchcraft trial from beginning to end. Highly readable, this astonishing narrative is perfectly suited to being read as a complete document. The useful additions of introduction, appendices, glossary, and index provide readers with important background information so that they can engage directly with the material.
The highly-acclaimed first edition of this book chronicled the rise and fall of witchcraft in Europe between the twelfth and the end of the seventeenth centuries. Now greatly expanded, the classic anthology of contemporary texts reexamines the phenomenon of witchcraft, taking into account the remarkable scholarship since the book's publication almost thirty years ago. Spanning the period from 400 to 1700, the second edition of Witchcraft in Europe assembles nearly twice as many primary documents as the first, many newly translated, along with new illustrations that trace the development of witch-beliefs from late Mediterranean antiquity through the Enlightenment. Trial records, inquisitors' reports, eyewitness statements, and witches' confessions, along with striking contemporary illustrations depicting the career of the Devil and his works, testify to the hundreds of years of terror that enslaved an entire continent. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Thomas Hobbes, and other thinkers are quoted at length in order to determine the intellectual, perceptual, and legal processes by which "folklore" was transformed into systematic demonology and persecution. Together with explanatory notes, introductory essays--which have been revised to reflect current research--and a new bibliography, the documents gathered in Witchcraft in Europe vividly illumine the dark side of the European mind.
Call Number: BF1566 .W68 1995
Publication Date: 2000-11-29
Witchcraft and Sorcery by Max G. Marwick (Editor)Part One looks at the different approaches to the topic, and includes an extract from Evans-Pritchard's classic study of the Azande. Part Two samples the rich ethnography of witchcraft, and contains papers on the European and Salem witch-hunts. Part Three looks at theories of witchcraft and particularly at how witchcraft and cultist movements are often indicators of social strain. Part Four looks at the urbanization of modern witchcraft and Part Five at the way in which witch-beliefs throw light on other problems
Call Number: BF1563 .W52 1982
Publication Date: 1987-01-06
Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey B. RussellAll the known theories and incidents of witchcraft in Western Europe from the fifth to the fifteenth century are brilliantly set forth in this engaging and comprehensive history.Building on a foundation of newly discovered primary sources and recent secondary interpretations, Professor Russell first establishes the facts and then explains the phenomenon of witchcraft in terms of its social and religious environment, particularly in relation to medieval heresies. He treats European witchcraft as a product of Christianity, grounded in heresy more than in the magic and sorcery that have existed in other societies. Skillfully blending narration with analysis, he shows how social and religious changes nourished the spread of witchcraft until large portions of medieval Europe were in its grip, "from the most illiterate peasant to the most skilled philosopher or scientist."A significant chapter in the history of ideas and their repression is illuminated by this book. Our growing fascination with the occult gives the author's affirmation that witchcraft arises at times and in areas afflicted with social tensions a special quality of immediacy.
Call Number: BF1569 .R88 1972
Publication Date: 1972-07-31
Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684 by H. C. Erik MidelfortThis book is an analysis of witchcraft and witch hunting as they appeared in southwestern Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Starting from a short analysis of some basic problems in the interpretation of European witchcraft, it proceeds to a study of the shifting denominational views regarding witches and the growth of Catholic orthodoxy. That theoretical vantage yields insight into the patterns in time, space, and confession that characterized all witch hunts in the German Southwest. There follows a narrative analysis of the largest witch hunts and the general crisis of confidence they produced. Analysis is complemented by a summary of what is known about the people accused of witchcraft, as well as an examination of the popular suspicion directed toward old women at the start of most panics and the breakdown of this stereotype as the panics progressed.