1st Edition

The Science of Demons Early Modern Authors Facing Witchcraft and the Devil

Edited By Jan Machielsen Copyright 2020
    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    344 Pages
    by Routledge

    Witches, ghosts, fairies. Premodern Europe was filled with strange creatures, with the devil lurking behind them all. But were his powers real? Did his powers have limits? Or were tales of the demonic all one grand illusion? Physicians, lawyers, and theologians at different times and places answered these questions differently and disagreed bitterly.

    The demonic took many forms in medieval and early modern Europe. By examining individual authors from across the continent, this book reveals the many purposes to which the devil could be put, both during the late medieval fight against heresy and during the age of Reformations. It explores what it was like to live with demons, and how careers and identities were constructed out of battles against them – or against those who granted them too much power. Together, contributors chart the history of the devil from his emergence during the 1300s as a threatening figure – who made pacts with human allies and appeared bodily – through to the comprehensive but controversial demonologies of the turn of the seventeenth century, when European witch-hunting entered its deadliest phase.

    This book is essential reading for all students and researchers of the history of the supernatural in medieval and early modern Europe.

    Introduction: The Science of Demons

    Jan Machielsen

    Part 1: Beginnings

    1. The Inquisitor’s Demons: Nicolau Eymeric’s Directorium Inquisitorum
    Pau Castell Granados

    2. Promoter of the Sabbat and Diabolical Realism: Nicolas Jacquier’s Flagellum hereticorum fascinariorum
    Martine Ostorero

    Part 2: The First Wave of Printed Witchcraft Texts

    3. The Bestselling Demonologist: Heinrich Institoris’s Malleus maleficarum
    Tamar Herzig

    4. Lawyers versus Inquisitors: Ponzinibio’s De lamiis and Spina’s De strigibus
    Matteo Duni

    5. The Witch-Hunting Humanist: Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola’s Strix
    Walter Stephens

    Part 3: The Sixteenth-Century Debate

    6. ‘Against the Devil, the Subtle and Cunning Enemy’: Johann Wier’s De praestigiis daemonum
    Michaela Valente

    7. The Will to Know and the Unknowable: Jean Bodin’s De La Démonomanie
    Virginia Krause

    8. Doubt and Demonology: Reginald Scot’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft
    Philip C. Almond

    9. Demonology and Anti-Demonology: Binsfeld’s De confessionibus and Loos’s De vera et falsa magia
    Rita Voltmer

    10. A Royal Witch Theorist: James VI’s Daemonologie
    P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

    11. Demonology as Textual Scholarship: Martin Delrio’s Disquisitiones magicae
    Jan Machielsen

    Part 4: Demonology and Theology

    12. ‘Of Ghostes and Spirites Walking by Nyght’: Ludwig Lavater’s Von Gespänsten
    Pierre Kapitaniak

    13. A Spanish Demonologist During the French Wars of Religion: Juan de Maldonado’s Traicté des anges et demons
    Fabián Alejandro Campagne

    14. Scourging Demons with Exorcism: Girolamo Menghi’s Flagellum daemonum
    Guido Dall’Olio

    15. The Ambivalent Demonologist: William Perkins’s Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft
    Leif Dixon

    16. Piety and Purification: The Anonymous Czarownica powołana
    Michael Ostling

    Part 5: Demonology and Law

    17. An Untrustworthy Reporter: Nicolas Remy’s Daemonolatreiae libri tres
    Robin Briggs

    18. The Mythmaker of the Sabbat: Pierre de Lancre’s Tableau de l’inconstance des mauvais anges et démons
    Thibaut Maus de Rolley and Jan Machielsen

    19. An Expert Lawyer and Reluctant Demonologist: Alonso de Salazar Frías, Spanish Inquisitor
    Lu Ann Homza

    Critical Editions and English Translations of Demonological Texts


    Jan Machielsen is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at Cardiff University.

    Emily Cock presenting Jan Machielsen's The Science of Demons: Early Modern Authors Facing Witchcraft and the Devil - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nVJ1iIpT2E

    "This excellent collection of essays on demonology, from a team of leading scholars, can be firmly recommended. The book sweeps us from the medieval beginnings of demonology into the elaborate and Baroque imaginings of witches' sabbats in the early seventeenth century. Fearing witchcraft, writers on demonology created an intellectual system for combating the Devil and his witches as enemies of humankind. The demonologists revealed in this book are terrifyingly sincere - and we need to understand them better." — Julian Goodare, University of Edinburgh, UK

    "The Science of Demons is that rare hybrid: a significant scholarly contribution that is also good fun to read. The demonic realm emerges as a valuable companion to and dark mirror of the clear daylight world. Through examination of nineteen individual demonologists, the collection elaborates on what Stuart Clark calls "thinking with demons." Demons, it turns out, insinuated themselves into every cranny of early modern European thought, from theology to science to entertainment, and from skepticism to belief. They provided early modern thinkers with ways to think across and between disciplinary boundaries and categorical designation, and to resolve the major conundrums of their age. Featuring essays on well-known demonologists and lesser-known figures from peripheral regions, all presented in accessible and often witty form, the collection clarifies much about early modern European intellectual history." — Valerie Kivelson, University of Michigan, USA

    "This book brings together a remarkable group of experts to provide a panoramic survey of demonological literature. It is full of surprising insights and will be a standard work for years to come. A fitting tribute to Stuart Clark, it allows the reader to follow the development of the intellectual discussion of witchcraft and magic over time. An extraordinary achievement." —Lyndal Roper, University of Oxford, UK

    "This splendid volume takes Stuart Clark’s magisterial work on the ways to think with demons as a jumping off point for nineteen fascinating and carefully researched studies of individual works of demonology from the fourteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. These outstanding essays by leaders in the field explore the complex interaction of societal and personal pressures, latent scepticism and local belief, that brought this science of demons to the centre of religious, intellectual and political attention over these centuries, and will immediately become an important new foundation and resource for any endeavouring to understand the historical development of the European witch-hunt." — Charles Zika, The University of Melbourne, Australia

    "This is an extremely effective, expert, and wide-ranging introduction to the early modern “science of demons.” It will be a standard reference for scholars working in this area formany years to come." - Michael D. Bailey, Iowa State University, USA

    "While many of these intellectual biographies tell stories that will be familiar to experts in the field, they do so in a uniformly top-notch fashion. They are engaging, well written, and often highly entertaining. As such, this book will doubtlessly serve as a resource of the first instance for both scholars and students looking to make forays into the field for at least a generation to come. I highly recommend it." - Richard Raiswell, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

    "Accessible, engaging, and profound, [The Science of Demons] offers a precise snapshot of the thought-world of early modern demonological authors …. [It] will soon be recognized as the standard scholarly work on early modern European demonology." - Brendan C. Walsh, The University of Queensland, Australia