Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Witch Beliefs and Witch Trials in the Middle Ages: Documents and Readings by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

In 1901 a rich collection of extracts from documents relating to witch beliefs and witch trials in the Middle Ages - Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung in Mittelalter -- was published in Bonn. Most of the original documents are in Latin, with some in medieval German and French, and it has been left largely untranslated, making the material inaccessible, and neglected. This new translation of the key documents will enable students and scholars to look afresh at this crucial period in the development of attitudes towards witchcraft. Through the translated extracts we can see the beliefs and activities which had been formally condemned by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, but which had not yet become subject to widespread eradicating pogroms, start to be allied with heresy and with changing conceptions of demonic activity. The extensive introductory essay gives the reader the historical, theological, intellectual and social background and contexts of the translated documents. The translations themselves will all have introductory notes. This volume will contribute significantly to our understanding of the witchcraft phenomenon in the Middle Ages.

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