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Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria

Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria
Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe


Part of Past and Present Publications

  • Date Published: November 2003
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521525107

£ 49.99

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About the Authors
  • This is a major study by a leading scholar in the field of continental witchcraft studies. Based on an intensive search through central and local legal records for south-eastern Germany, an area extending well beyond but including present-day Bavaria, the author has compiled a thorough overview of all known prosecutions for witchcraft in the period 1300–1800. He shows conclusively that witch-hunting was not a constant or uniform phenomenon, and that three-quarters of all known executions for witchcraft were concentrated in the years 1586–1630, years of particular dearth and famine. The book investigates the social and political implications of witchcraft, and how the mechanisms of persecution served as a rallying cry for partisan factionalism at court. The author also explores the mentalities behind witch-hunting, emphasizing the complex religious debates between believers and sceptics, and Catholics and Protestants.

    • One of the largest and most comprehensive studies of witchcraft ever undertaken
    • Provides an important analysis of prosecutions for witchcraft over a period of 500 years
    • Available for the first time in English in a translation by two scholarly, expert translators
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… ranks alongside earlier ground-breaking works such as those of Thomas, Macfarlane or Midelfort as essential reading for all serious students of the subject'. Bob Scribner, English Historical Review

    'Well-nigh definitive as a study of witchcraft prosecutions in south-east Germany between the late Middle Ages and the end of the eighteenth century, Behringer's work also throws dazzling light on the religious, cultural and socio-political background of continental witch-hunting as a whole.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    '… a tour de force of historical research and writing …'. Journal for the Academic Study of Magic

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2003
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521525107
    • length: 504 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 37 mm
    • weight: 0.951kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 3 maps 15 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Moving toward a social history of witchcraft
    3. The wave of persecutions around 1590
    4. The struggle for restraint, 1600–30
    5. Perpetuation through domestication, 1630–1775
    6. The final Catholic debate
    7. Conclusions
    8. Sources and literature.

  • Author

    Wolfgang Behringer, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn


    J. C. Grayson

    David Lederer

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