Read The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe: Culture, Cognition and Everyday Life by Edward Bever OwenDavies Jonathan Barry Willem de Blécourt Online

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This book explores the elements of reality in early modern witchcraft and popular magic through a combination of detailed archival research and broad-ranging interdisciplinary analyses. The book complements and challenges existing scholarship, offering unique insights into this murky aspect of early modern history....

Title : The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe: Culture, Cognition and Everyday Life
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ISBN : 9781403997814
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 648 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe: Culture, Cognition and Everyday Life Reviews

  • Brian
    2019-03-09 10:41

    The 'realities' to which Bever's title refers comprise the ritualized activities of early-modern magical practitioners both professional and casual, the social dynamics of the small communities which motivated those practices, and, in an exceptionally interdisciplinary turn for the field of social history, the psychological and neuro-physical processes that, through the viscerally real experiences and effects they generated, both informed and responded to practitioners' undertakings, thus phenomenologically justifying the entire edifice of the animist, magically-responsive worldview. While the prosecutorial concept of a global diabolic conspiracy appears to have been little more than a paranoid delusion cobbled together from learned elites' theological assumptions and misinterpretation of folk-practices, the specific acts of illicit magic for which individuals were interrogated and punished often had a basis in physical reality, and claims of harm caused through occult means were not necessarily slander or pure fantasy. By the same token, the eventual decline in formal accusations of malicious sorcery reflects real changes in individual behavior (especially that of women), conditioned by the environment engendered by the persecutions themselves, as well as the general amelioration of socioeconomic conditions, as the austerities and suffering of everyday life were major contributors to the kind of interpersonal stresses that might motivate maleficium. However, as Bever concludes, because the end of prosecutions for practicing magic reflected the dwindling of that very practice, the modern western world has likely been largely deprived of an entire psycho-physical adaptive apparatus that had been available to its forebears.