The History of Evil in the Early Modern Age : 1450–1700 CE book cover
1st Edition

The History of Evil in the Early Modern Age
1450–1700 CE

ISBN 9781032095141
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

The third volume of The History of Evil encompasses the early modern era from 1450–1700. This revolutionary period exhibited immense change in both secular knowledge and sacred understanding. It saw the fall of Constantinople and the rise of religious violence, the burning of witches and the drowning of Anabaptists, the ill treatment of indigenous peoples from Africa to the Americas, the reframing of formal authorities in religion, philosophy, and science, and it produced profound reflection on good and evil in the genius of Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, Teresa of Avila, and the Cambridge Platonists.

This superb treatment of the history of evil during a formative period of the early modern era will appeal to those with interests in philosophy, theology, social and political history, and the history of ideas.

Table of Contents

Editors and contributors

Series Introduction



Daniel Robinson


1. Towards a History of Evil: Inquisition and Fear in the Medieval West

Teofilo F. Ruiz

2. Witchcraft

Daniel Robinson

3. Medicine

Daniel Robinson

4. Magic and the Sciences during an Age of Change
Peter Maxwell-Stuart

5. Niccolò Machiavelli

Cary J. Nederman and Guillaume Bogiaris

6. Luther

Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth

7. John Calvin on Evil

Paul Helm

8. Evil within and Evil without: Teresa of Avila Battles the Devil

Bárbara Mujica

9. Anabaptists

Gerald J. Mast

10. Francis Bacon

John Henry

11. Shakespeare and Evil
Claire Landis

12. Hobbes and Evil

Geoffrey Gorham

13. Descartes on Evil

Zbigniew Janowski

14. Milton

Dennis Danielson

15. Baruch Spinoza on Evil

Eugene Marshall

16. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Marcy P. Lascano

17. Cambridge Platonism

Charles Taliaferro

18. Indigenous Peoples

Kenneth H. Lokensgard

19. Religious Authority and Power: Rituals of Conflict in Africa

Bala Saho

20. Representations

Charles Taliaferro and Jil Evans


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Daniel Robinson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Georgetown University, USA and a Fellow of the Faculty of Philosophy, Oxford University, UK.

Chad Meister is Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Bethel College, USA.

Charles Taliaferro is Professor of Philosophy at St Olaf College, USA.


This excellent collection provides a road map for those interested in studying the concept of evil in early modern culture. Evil for whom, one might ask? Evil according to what creed, and in what circumstance? Such questions animate the book’s principal aim, which is to show the period’s wide variety of perspectives on the subject, from the intensely theological to the profoundly secular, from the Devil to Thomas Hobbes. The volume is easy to recommend for its depth and vitality, and—too—because the editors allow room for the possibility that evil is not solely a historical phenomenon. Ryan Stark, Corban University, USA