Journal or Book Title
Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft
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.
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University of Pennsylvania Press
Bailey, Michael D., "Satan hérétique: Histoire de la démonologie (1280-1320) (review)" (2006). History Publications. 33.