Witchcraft in the Middle Ages: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic ACT

November 16, 2015 - Comment

Professor Russell fills a real gap in the literature. He does so with the scholarly probity and sound good sense that are the absolute prerequisites for any serious work on the subject, and he has composed his book for the general reader as well as the specialist … In the course of his narrative, Russell

Professor Russell fills a real gap in the literature. He does so with the scholarly probity and sound good sense that are the absolute prerequisites for any serious work on the subject, and he has composed his book for the general reader as well as the specialist … In the course of his narrative, Russell successfully lays to rest any number of erroneous “well-known facts,” [and] demonstrates that classical witchcraft was largely a creature of Christianity and that heresy was the strongest influence on its development as an idea. [Quoted from “History”]

Comments

John L Murphy says:

Defined by their enemies An eminent historian of demonology and heresy relates these to this misunderstood and elusive phenomenon. Russell argues for the reality of witches. He shows how they “usually acted as they were supposed to act.” That is, the fluidity of definitions applied by medieval clerics and then inquisitors pressured dissenters to adapt the terms by which they were marginalized, persecuted, and often executed.He interprets historical, verifiable witchcraft along a continuum. Rejecting the…

J. W. Kennedy says:

Interesting but Dry It’s a historical overview on the evolution of witchcraft through the middle ages, from the perspective of a historian who doesn’t seem to believe in magic, yet nevertheless admits there was _something_ going on. The style is dry and academic, with lots of big words from sociological and psychological jargon. At times it reads like a doctorial thesis.The first two chapters are a sort of preperatory overview of the subject, with brief mentions of the ancient middle-Eastern and…

History Nut says:

Good Book, But Outdated This book isn’t exactly graduate level, but it helps if you are. And even if you’re not, you’ll figure it out. Simply, you should own this book. Will you refer to it every day? Not likely, but it’s one of the best ‘general’ studies of witchcraft out there, even if it is becoming somewhat outdated. But still a fantastic “MUST OWN” reference material! And despite the fact that it is getting a little outdated, Russell is an important scholar whose ideas you should be familiar with if you’re…

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