Document Type

Book Review

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

Winter 2006

Journal or Book Title

Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

Volume

1

Issue

2

First Page

244

Last Page

246

DOI

10.1353/mrw.0.0073

Abstract

In this rich and informative study, Alain Boureau breathes new intellectual life into an old task—to explain the major European witch hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by reference to conditions in late medieval European society. Such founding fathers of the field of witchcraft studies as the American Henry Charles Lea and the German Joseph Hansen argued that the mentalities and legal procedures that supported early modern witch-hunting stemmed directly from the repressive qualities of the medieval church. More recently, a number of European and American scholars (including myself ) have focused on the earliest witch hunts and major treatises on witchcraft from the fifteenth century. It is widely recognized that these [End Page 244] trials and particularly these treatises were premised on authorities’ overt hereticization of demonic magic and even more fundamentally on a growing concern over the scope and reality of demonic power in the world. Boureau proposes to examine the origins of these conditions. The critical shift, he argues, came during the pontificate of John XXII (1316–34), and was rooted in a number of intellectual developments stretching back into the late thirteenth century.

Comments

This is a book review from Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 1 (2006): 244, doi:10.1353/mrw.0.0073. Posted with permission.

Rights

All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations used for purposes of scholarly citation, none of this work may be reproduced in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher. For information address the University of Pennsylvania Press, 3905 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4112.

Copyright Owner

University of Pennsylvania Press

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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