The Witchcraft Reader: 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Witchcraft Reader

3rd Edition

Edited by Darren Oldridge


392 pages

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Paperback: 9781138565425
pub: 2019-09-10
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138565401
pub: 2019-09-10
Available for pre-order

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The Witchcraft Reader offers a wide range of historical perspectives on the subject of witchcraft in a single, accessible volume, exploring the enduring hold that it has on human imagination.

The witch trials of the late Middle Ages and the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have inspired a huge and expanding scholarly literature, as well as an outpouring of popular representations. This fully revised and enlarged third edition brings together many of the best and most important works in the field. It explores the origins of witchcraft prosecutions in learned and popular culture, fears of an imaginary witch cult, the role of religious division and ideas about the Devil, the gendering of suspects, the making of confessions, and the decline of witch beliefs. An expanded final section explores the various "revivals" and images of witchcraft that continue to flourish in contemporary western culture.

Equipped with an extensive introduction that foregrounds significant debates and themes in the study of witchcraft, providing the extracts with a critical context, The Witchcraft Reader is essential reading for anyone with an interest in this fascinating subject.

Table of Contents

General Introduction; Part 1 Medieval Origins; 1 Witch Trials in Medieval Europe; 2 The Demonisation of Medieval Heretics; 3 Witchcraft and Reform in the Late Middle Ages; 4 The Malleus Maleficarum and the Construction of Witchcraft; 5 Ulrich Molitor and the Imagery of Witchcraft; Part 2 Witchcraft, magic and fear; 6 The Experience of Bewitchment; 7 Spirits in Popular Belief; 8 Witches and Charmers in Scotland; 9 The Medical Effects of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe; 10 Weather, Hunger and Fear: Origins of the European Witch-Hunts in Climate, Society and Mentality; Part 3 The idea of a witch cult; 11 Margaret Murray’s Witch Cult; 12 Heartland of the Witchcraze; 13 From Dream Cult to Witches’ Sabbath; 14 The Alternative World of the Witches' Sabbat; 15 Inversion, Misrule and the Meaning of Witchcraft; Part 4 Witchcraft and the Reformation; 16 Protestant Witchcraft, Catholic Witchcraft; 17 A Lutheran Response to Witchcraft and Magic; 18 Anabaptists and the Devil; Part 5 Witchcraft and Authority; 19 Pierre De Lancre and the Basque Witch-Hunt; 20 State-Building and Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe; 21 Witchcraft, Confessionalism and Authority; Part 6 Witchcraft, Possession and the Devil; 22 The Devil and the German People; 23 The Devil and Familiar Spirits in English Witchcraft; 24 The Social Meanings of Demonic Possession; 25 Ecstasy, Possession, Witchcraft; 26 Johann Weyer and the Devil; Part 7 Witchcraft and Gender; 27 Women and Witchcraft before the "Great Witch-Hunt"; 28 The Myth of the Persecuted Female Healer; 29 Damned Women in Puritan New England; 30 Women, Witnesses and Witches; 31 Masculinity and Male Witches in Old and New England; Part 8 Reading Confessions; 32 Witchcraft Confessions and Demonology; 33 Witches, Wives and Mothers; 34 Oedipus and the Devil; Part 9 The Decline of Witchcraft; 35 The Decline of Witchcraft Prosecutions; 36 The Decline of the Witchcraft Pamphlet; 37 Urbanization and the Decline of Witchcraft: An Examination of London; 38 Witchcraft after the Witch Trials; Part 10 Witchcraft Today; 39 Modern Witches and Their Past; 40 Wicca as Witchcraft; 41 Witchcraft and Satanic Abuse; 42 Harry Potter in America; 43 Modern Western Images of Witches

About the Editor

Darren Oldridge is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Worcester. He has written extensively on religion and belief in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His most recent publications include The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England (2016) and Strange Histories (2nd ed. 2018).

About the Series

Routledge Readers in History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / General
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century