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Thinking with Demons : The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe - Stuart Clark

Thinking with Demons

The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Paperback

Published: 1st February 2000
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This is a work of fundamental importance for our understanding of the intellectual and cultural history of early modern Europe. Stuart Clark offers a new interpretation of the witchcraft beliefs of European intellectuals based on their publications in the field of demonology, and shows how these beliefs fitted rationally with many other views current in Europe between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Professor Clark is the first to explore the appeal of demonology to early modern intellectuals by looking at the books they published on the subject during this period. After examining the linguistic foundations of their writings, the author shows how the writers' ideas about witchcraft (and about magic) complemented their other intellectual commitments--in particular, their conceptions of nature, history, religion, and politics. The result is much more than a history of demonology. It is a survey of wider intellectual and ideological purposes, and underlines just how far the nature of rationality is dependent on its historical context.

`This massive and rich book is brimming with suggestions for future researchers. Clark's bibliography is itself a contribution to witchcraft scholarship. Thinking with Demons will become a classic.' Richard M Golden, Religious Studies Review, Vol 27, No 2, April 2001 `This is intellectual history at its best. Clark reads and understands the demonological writings between the late fifteenth and early eighteenth centuries on their own terms' Richard M Golden, Religious Studies Review, Vol 27, No 2, April 2001 `Clarke is showing something of a break with the historiographical trends which have prevailed in witchcraft studies over the last twenty years.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. This is a subtle exposition, informed but not distorted by an awareness of linguistic theory. J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. `a formidable intellectual achievement ... it is doubtful if any current witchcraft scholar could equal the breadth of Clark's acquaintance with both works of demonology and more recent publications. He displays deep erudition with a light touch: the book, for all its length and the profundity of its scholarship, is a pleasure to read.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. `a rich and exciting exposition of a belief system.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. `Anybody who still believes that witchcraft was a marginal or unimportant aspect of European history should spend a weekend reading this book. They will emerge from the exercise with a clearer notion of what first rate intellectual history is like.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies Vol.14, No.3. `deeply considered and weighty arguments based on dauntingly wide reading.' Ian Maclean, Stud. Hist.Phil.Sci. Vol.31, No.2. `this is an ambitious and thematically broad book which constitutes a formidable intellectual achivement.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `Clarke is showing something of a break with the historiographical trends which have prevailed in witchcraft studies over the last twenty years.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `Thinking with Demons, which offers a lot more than the basics, will intimidate many undergraduates, but will provide them with conclusive proof that witchcraft was not just a matter of village squabbles. It will also remind their teachers of the sheer complexity and pervasiveness of demonological thought.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `this is an ambitious and thematically broad book which constitutes a formidable intellectual achivement.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `it is doubtful if any current witchcraft scholar could equal the breadth of Clark's acquaintance with both works of demonology and more recent publications. He displays deep erudition with a light touch: the book, for all its length and the profondity of its scholarship, is a pleasure to read.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `Anybody who still believes that witchcraft was a marginal or unimportant aspect of European history should spend a weekend reading this book. They will emerge from the exercise with a clearer notion of what first rate intellectual history is like.' J.A. Sharpe, Renaissance Studies, Vol.14, No.2, `a tour de force' David Wootton, LRB 11/11/99 `It is a major accumulation of information about western European writings on witchcraft ... It will be a text consulted and cited by many subsequent scholars on witchcraft.' T. O. Beidelman, Anthropos `This is a massive work. It covers far more ground than its title indicates...It is good, in these days of soundbites, "dumbing-down" and widespread intellectual sloth, to come upon such a monument of scholarship. The time, determination and care that must have gone into creating it are most impressive--and so is the result. Th ehopes and fears, doubts and certainties of the early modern intelligentsia come powerfully alive. Anyone who wishes to enter imaginatively into that mental world might well start by reading this remarkable book.' The Obsever review section of all the books on the subject that have recently appeared, this is perhaps the most remarkable, raising our understanding of ideas about witchcraft to a new level of sophistication. It is based on massive research in the learned literature of demonology in the period.../ ... Clark's erudition is combined with intense methodological sophistication.../ ... there is no doubt that IThinking with DemonsI willl force us to reconsider the place of witchcraft in early modern ideas, and thus to think more deeply about the nature of those ideas themselves./ Michael Hunter, Birkbeck College, London University, Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol 22, no 1 , May 1998.

PART I : LANGUAGE 1. Witchcraft and Language 2. Festivals and Sabbaths 3. Dual Classification 4. Contrariety 5. Inversion 6. The Devil, God's Ape 7. Witchcraft and Wit-Craft 8. Women and Witchcraft 9. Unstable Meanings PART II : SCIENCE 10. Witchcraft and science 11. The Devil in Nature 12. The Causes of Witchcraft 13. Believers and Sceptics 14. Natural Magic 15. Demonic Magic 16. Prerogative Instances (1) 17. Prerogative Instances (2) 18. The Magical Power of Signs 19. Witchcraft and the Scientific Revolution PART III: HISTORY 20. Witchcraft and History 21. Postremus Furor Satanae 22. Eschatology 23. The Life and Times of the Antichrist 24. The Witch as Portent 25. Witch-Cleansing 26. Understanding Possession 27. Possession, Exorcism, and History 28. Before Loudun PART IV: RELIGION 29. Witchcraft and Religion 30. Cases of Conscience 31. Popular Magic 32. Superstition 33. Reformation 34. Acculturation by Text 35. Protestant Witchcraft, Catholic Witchcraft PART V: POLITICS 36. Politics and Witchcraft 37. Magistrates and Witches 38. Inviolability 39. The Charisma of Office 40. Mystical Politics 41. Marvellous Monarchy 42. Spectacles of Disenchantment 43. Kingcraft and Witchcraft 44. Bodin's Political Demonology Postscript Bibliography Index

ISBN: 9780198208082
ISBN-10: 0198208081
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 848
Published: 1st February 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.27 x 16.46  x 4.39
Weight (kg): 1.18