Article

The First Wave of Trials for Diabolical Witchcraft

Richard Kieckhefer

in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199578160
Published online May 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199578160.013.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 The First Wave of Trials             for Diabolical Witchcraft

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This article discusses the first wave of trials for diabolical witchcraft. It suggests that when we examine the trials in a particular region, and when we read late medieval writings about witchcraft, we find that ideas were brought together in discernible but fragile coalescence, then sometimes diffused over broader areas, and in the process fused with ideas taken from different sources; and when we look back at the cluster which was once formed, we may find that in its diffusion it has become attenuated, with key notions abridged or omitted. The article suggests some of the ways this more complex pattern of coalescence and attenuation, diffusion, and fusion is reflected in sources from the late medieval West. It shows that what late medieval witch-hunters and demonologists bequeathed to early modern Europe was not a fixed set of convictions and anxieties, but a more complex network of issues that called to be resolved, and which eventually were, at great cost.

Keywords: witchcraft; Lausanne paradigm; witch trials; classic paradigm

Article.  9933 words. 

Subjects: History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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