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This volume comprises English translations of two fundamentally important texts on magic and witchcraft in the fifteenth century: Johannes Hartlieb's Book of All Forbidden Arts and Ulrich Molitoris's On Witches and Pythonesses. Written by laymen and aimed at secular authorities, these works advocated that town leaders and royalty alike should vigorously uproot and prosecute practitioners of witchcraft and magic. Though inquisitors and theologians promulgated the witch trials of late medieval times, lay rulers saw the prosecutions through. But local officials, princes, and kings could be unreliable; some were skeptical about the reality and danger of witchcraft, while others dabbled in the occult themselves. Borrowing from theological and secular sources, Hartlieb and Molitoris agitated against this order in favor of zealously persecuting occultists. Organized as a survey of the seven occult arts, Hartlieb's text is a systematic treatise on the dangers of superstition and magic. Molitoris's text presents a dialogue on the activities of witches, including vengeful sorcery, the transformation of humans into animals, and fornication with the devil. Taken together, these tracts show that laymen exerted significant influence on ridding society of their imagined threat. Precisely translated by Richard Kieckhefer, Hazards of the Dark Arts includes an insightful introduction that discusses the authors, their sources and historical environments, the writings themselves, and the influence they had in the development of ideas about witchcraft.
As the author notes, `The early-modern European witch-hunts were neither orchestrated massacres nor spontaneous pogroms. Alleged witches were not rounded up at night and summarily killed extra-judicially or lynched as the victims of mob justice. They were executed after trial and conviction with full legal process'. In this concise but highly-informed account of the persecution of witches, Gregory Durston demonstrates what a largely ordered process was the singling-out or hunting-down of perceived offenders. How a mix of superstition, fear, belief and ready explanations for ailments, misfortune or disasters caused law, politics and religion to indulge in criminalisation and the appearance of justice. Bearing echoes of modern-day `othering' and marginalisation of outsiders he shows how witchcraft became akin to treason (with its special rules), how evidentially speaking storms, sickness or coincidence might be attributed to conjuring, magic, curses and spells. All this reinforced by examples and detailed references to the law and practice through which a desired outcome was achieved. In another resonance with modern-times the author shows how decisions were often diverted into the hands of witch-hunters, witch-finders (including self-appointed Witchfinder General, Matthew Hopkins), witch-prickers and other experts as well as the quaintly titled `cunning-folk' consulted by prosecutors and `victims'. Crimen Exceptum (crimes apart). A straightforward and authoritative guide. Shows the rise and fall of prosecutions. Backed by a wealth of learning and research.
In this major new book, Wolfgang Behringer surveys the phenomenon of witchcraft past and present. Drawing on the latest historical and anthropological findings, Behringer sheds new light on the history of European witchcraft, while demonstrating that witch-hunts are not simply part of the European past. Although witch-hunts have long since been outlawed in Europe, other societies have struggled with the idea that witchcraft does not exist. As Behringer shows, witch-hunts continue to pose a major problem in Africa and among tribal people in America, Asia and Australia. The belief that certain people are able to cause harm by supernatural powers endures throughout the world today.
Wolfgang Behringer explores the idea of witchcraft as an anthropological phenomenon with a historical dimension, aiming to outline and to understand the meaning of large-scale witchcraft persecutions in early modern Europe and in present-day Africa. He deals systematically with the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of witches, as well as with the process of outlawing witch-hunts. He examines the impact of anti-witch-hunt legislation in Europe, and discusses the problems caused in societies where European law was imposed in colonial times. In conclusion, the relationship between witches old and new is assessed.
This book will make essential reading for all those interested in the history and anthropology of witchcraft and magic.
In a culture where the supernatural possessed an immediacy now
strange to us, magic was of great importance both in the literary
and mythic tradition and in ritual practice. Recently, ancient
magic has hit a high in popularity, both as an area of scholarly
inquiry and as one of general, popular interest. In Magic,
Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds Daniel Ogden
presents three hundred texts in new translations, along with brief
but explicit commentaries. This is the first book in the field to
unite extensive selections from both literary and documentary
sources. Alongside descriptions of sorcerers, witches, and ghosts
in the works of ancient writers, it reproduces curse tablets,
spells from ancient magical recipe books, and inscriptions from
magical amulets. Each translation is followed by a commentary that
puts it in context within ancient culture and connects the passage
to related passages in this volume. Authors include the well known
(Sophocles, Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle, Virgil, Pliny) and the
less familiar, and extend across the whole of Greco-Roman
This highly original and engaging book by French historian Robert
Muchembled, is a journey through time and space in search of the
changing perception and significance of the devil in Western
The author takes the story back to the 13th century, when visual
images of Satan first started to appear, and forward to the 20th
Century, dealing with, among others, the place of the diabolical in
the films of Stanley Kubrick, including "Eyes Wide Shut," The
changing figures of Evil over time are shown to correlate with the
way in which men conceive of their destinies and the future of
their civilisation. Fascination with the diabolical having reached
its height in the witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, by
the enlightenment, begins to show signs of decline, a process which
has continued up to today. The result of this process, for modern
western society, is a subtle metamorphosis of the notion of the
devil from fear of Satan, into an internal demon, "the demon
within" characterised by a distrust of oneself and ones desires. It
is this conception of the diabolical that is visible today in our
interest in the supernatural, exorcism, and for example, in the
role of the "devlish good" in advertising.
A rich, vivid history of a topic that never ceases to intrigue.
Provides a new insight into Crowley's life as a magician and literary figure. identifies and gives an analysis of Crowley's poetry. places him to the context of Edwardian Britain's addiction to the cult of pan. Paul Newman is a well established author and expert on the occult. he is the editor of Abraxus magazine.
This is the first systematic attempt to analyse key aspects of ancient Greek philosophy in their original context of mystery religion, and magic. Peter Kingsley brings to light new evidence recently uncovered about ancient Pythagoreanism and its influence on Plato, and reconstructs the transmission of Pythagorean ideas from the Greek West down to the alchemists and magicians of Egypt, and from there into the Islamic world.
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