The history of witchcraft and sorcery has attracted a great deal of interest and debate, but until now studies have been largely from the Anglo-Saxon perspective. This book shows how that approach has blurred our understanding and definition of the issues involved, and sheds new light on the history of witchcraft in England. What had thus far been seen as peculiar to England is here shown to be characteristic of much of northern Europe. Taking into account major new developments in the historiography of witchcraft--in methodology, and in the chronological and geographical scope of the studies--the authors explore the relationship between witchcraft, law, and theology; the origins and nature of the witch's sabbath; the sociology and criminology of witch-hunting; and the comparative approach to European witchcraft. An impressive amount of archival work by all of the contributors has produced an indispensable guide to the study of witchcraft, of interest not only to historians, but to anthropologists, criminologists, psychologists, and sociologists.
`possesses the virtue of presenting a wealth of material in terms of a coherent analytical framework'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`makes a superb contribution to historical scholarship' Times Literary Supplement
`Retains a freshness of approach largely because it contains so many interesting studies ... All the essays have something valuable to contribute to our understanding.' History Today
`welcome treatment in English of witch-hunting in Scandinavia ... a substantial contribution to what is proving to be yet another wave of serious new studies on both the witch-craze and forms of the Inquisition in early modern Europe' A.D. Wright, University of Leeds, European History Quarterly, Vol. 22 (1992)
'will be helpful to scholars and advanced students already conversant with scholarly literature regarding witchcraft'
Robert C. Figuera, Lander College, History, Summer 1992
'a balanced, broad analysis, which sheds further light on one of the more irrational, yet strangely understandable phenomena of western history and sociology ... This collection provides a major aid to understanding human fears, and the propensities of mankind to establish cause for its ills. Clearly this study of witchcraft goes far beyond the traditional observations or conclusions long accepted by social scientists.'
Robert Nossen, University of Pittsburgh, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, XXXIV (1993)
'... a valuable book which stems from a symposium held in Stockholm in 1984. ... the publication of a revised English traslation is to be welcomed, since it adds a new dimension to the literature on the subject currently available to English language readers. ... the papers in this volume provide much useful food for thought. The book deserves to be widely read.'
Michael Hunter Birkbeck College, London EHRR Shorter Notices April '94
`This collection of essays is of consideable importance for any comparative study of witch hunting in Europe.'
List of figures; List of maps; List of tables; Introduction; I: Witchcraft, Law, and Theology: Witchcraft and Catholic theology; Protestant demonology: Sin, superstition, and society (c.1520-c.1630); Inquisitorial law and the witch; II: Origins of the Witches' Sabbath: Deciphering the Sabbath; Satanic myths and cultural reality; 'Fantastical and Devilishe Persons': European witch-beliefs in comparative perspective; 'The Ladies from Outside': An archaic pattern
of the Witches' Sabbath; III: Witch-Hunting in Scandinavia and other Peripheries: Hungary: The accusations and the universe of popular magic; Estonia I: Werewolves and poisoners; Estonia II: The
crusade against idolatory; Sweden: The mass burnings (1668-76); Finland: The male domination; Denmark: The Sociology of accusations; Norway: The criminological context; Iceland: Sorcerers and Paganism; Portugal: A scrupulous inquisition; IV: Conclusions: Scandinavian witchcraft in Anglo-American context; The comparative approach to European witchcraft; Notes on contributors; Bibliography of secondary works; Index