9780582080690

The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780582080690

  • ISBN10:

    058208069X

  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1995-04-04
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Summary

This famous book focuses on the great age of witch-hunting in Europe (and colonial America) between 1450 and 1750. It examines why the witch-trials took place; how many trials and victims there were, and where; why their incidence was so uneven in Europe; who accused whom; and why witch-hunting eventually petered out. In the process it illuminates the social, economic and political history of early modern Europe, and in particular the position of women within it. For this Second Edition, Brian Levack has revised his text to take account of scholarship since 1987. The notes and references have been greatly expanded, and the entire text reset.

Author Biography

Brian Levack grew up in a family of teachers in the New York metropolitan area. From his father, a professor of French history, he acquired a love for studying the past, and he knew from an early age that he too would become a historian. He received his B.A. from Fordham University in 1965 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1970. In graduate school he became fascinated by the history of the law and the interaction between law and politics, interests that he has maintained throughout his career. In 1969 he joined the History Department of the University of Texas at Austin, where he is now the John Green Regents Professor in History. The winner of several teaching awards, Levack teaches a wide variety of courses on British and European history, legal history, and the history of witchcraft. For eight years he served as the chair of his department, a rewarding but challenging assignment that made it difficult for him to devote as much time as he wished to his teaching and scholarship. His books include The Civil Lawyers in England, 1603-1641: A Political Study (1973), The Formation of the British State: England, Scotland and the Union, 1603-1707 (1987), and The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (1987 and 1995), which has been translated into eight languages.

His study of the development of beliefs about witchcraft in Europe over the course of many centuries gave him the idea of writing a textbook on Western civilization that would illustrate a broader set of encounters between different cultures, societies, and ideologies. While writing the book, Levack and his two sons built a house on property that he and his wife, Nancy, own in the Texas hill country. He found that the two projects presented similar challenges: it was easy to draw up the design, but far more difficult to execute it. When not teaching, writing, or doing carpentry work, Levack runs along the jogging trails of Austin, and he has recently discovered the pleasures of scuba diving.

Table of Contents

List of Tables, Maps and Plates
vii
Preface viii
Preface to the Second Edition x
Introduction
1(26)
The meaning of witchcraft
4(7)
The reality of witchcraft
11(10)
The size of the hunt
21(6)
The Intellectual Foundations
27(41)
The cumulative concept of witchcraft
29(21)
The Devil
29(6)
The pact with the Devil
35(3)
The sabbath
38(6)
Flight
44(5)
Metamorphosis
49(1)
The dissemination of belief
50(10)
The challenge of the Renaissance
60(4)
Witchcraft and the fear of rebellion
64(4)
The Legal Foundations
68(32)
Changes in criminal procedure
69(7)
Torture
76(8)
Witchcraft and the secular courts
84(9)
Witchcraft and the local courts
93(7)
The Impact of the Reformation
100(25)
The new religious outlook
103(11)
The fear of the Devil
103(3)
Personal sanctity, guilt and witchcraft
106(3)
The attack upon superstition, paganism and magic
109(3)
Witchcraft and the godly state
112(1)
The Bible and witchcraft
113(1)
Religious conflict
114(6)
The Reformation and the decline of witchcraft
120(5)
The Social Context
125(35)
The geographical and social setting
128(5)
Who were the witches?
133(23)
Sex
133(8)
Age
141(4)
Marital status
145(4)
Social and economic status
149(3)
The personality of the witch
152(2)
Witches as rebels
154(2)
Social change and the great witch-hunt
156(4)
The Dynamics of Witch-Hunting
160(25)
The preconditions
161(6)
The triggers
167(5)
The development of hunts
172(5)
Individual prosecutions and small hunts
172(1)
Medium-sized hunts
173(1)
Large hunts
174(3)
The end of witch-hunts
177(8)
The Chronology and Geography of Witch-Hunting
185(48)
Chronological patterns
185(6)
Geographical patterns
191(39)
West and west-central Europe
192(8)
The British Isles
200(6)
Scandinavia
206(8)
East-central and eastern Europe
214(8)
Southern Europe
222(8)
Conclusion
230(3)
Decline and Survival
233(28)
Judicial changes
236(3)
The new mental outlook
239(7)
The new religious climate
246(2)
Social and economic change
248(2)
The survival and revival of witchcraft
250(11)
Bibliographical Note 261(9)
Bibliography 270(15)
Map 285(3)
Index 288

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