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The Witch Craze in Britain, Europe and North America, 1580-1750

Keith (M.A. Military History)
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(327)
Just in time for Halloween - learn about the REAL Wtichcraze which plagued Europe during the 17h Century Crisis.

Class experience

US Grade 6 - 9
Beginner - Intermediate Level
Determine how the after-effects of the 1688 Revolution, Indian threats, economic crisis and social tensions led to the witch craze
Discuss the events of the Salem Witch Trials
Analyse the influence of Cotton Mather on the growing hysteria of the witch craze in Salem
Assess the reasons for the ending of the witch hunt, specifically Increase Mather’s and Governor Phips’ rolesDetermine the impact of the Thirty Years War on the witch craze in Bamberg
Identify those that were affected by the witch hunts 
Discuss the roles of Prince-Bishop von Dornheim and Friedrich Förner in the Bamberg Witch Trials
Analyse how Emperor Ferdinand II and the arrival of the Swedish Army ended the witch trials in Bamberg
I have taught this subject as part of higher level European History courses of study for the past 30 years in both private and public school settings to prepare students for challenging external examinations (I.B./GCSE/A-Level/AP). 
Homework Offered
Sample "independent study" will be provided which is totally optional for the student.
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
rian Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (1987)

Joseph Klaits, Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (1985)
BFl566/K53/1985 - good, recent survey of witchhunts, with bibliography

H.R. Trevor Roper, European Witch Craze of the 16th & 17th C.
- famous older essay: theory of thin "mountain air" as source of w/c delusions

E. William Monter ed, European W/C anthology of primary & secondary material

Alan Kors & Edward Peters, W/C in Europe, 1100-1700:
A Documentary History- anthology of basic w/c documents; new edition 2001

Henry Charles Lea, Materials Toward a History of W/C (3 vols) -
reference work; notes for his unwritten history of w/c, published posthumously

Anthropological background:

Lucy Mair, Witchcraft - survey of anthropological literature
on African witchcraft; last chapter on European situation

Mary Douglas (ed) Witchcraft Confessions & Accusations(1970)
articles drawing on diverse tribal belief systems

E.E. Evans Pritchard, Witchcraft, Oracles & Magic among the Azande (1937) -
classic account of Azande witch beliefs

History of demonology:

 Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Ones (Reference)

 Jeffrey Burton Russell, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to
 Primitive Christianity (1977)

 J. B. Russell, Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (1981)

 J. B. Russell, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (1984)

 Entry on the Problem of Evil" in Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Reference)

D.P. Walker, Unclean Spirits: Possession & Exorcism in France & England (1981)

Fernando Cervantes, The Devil in the New World: the impact of diabolism in
New Spain (1994) on demonization of new world peoples

W/C as fertility cult: Margaret Murray and her critics

Margaret Murray, The Witch Cult of Western Europe (1921) and The God of the Witches;
 see also her article in Encylopedia Britannica 1929 edition (through 1960's)

Arno Runeberg, Witches, Demons and Fertility (1947)

Elliot Rose, A Razor for a Goat (1962)

J. B. Russell, History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, Pagans (1980) 
   Chap on 20th C. Witch Revivals (Leland, Crowley, Gardner & Wicca)

Norman Cohn, "The Non-Existent Society of Witches," in 
Europe's Inner Demons definitive critique of Murray

Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath (1989 Italian/1991 English)

General reference

Richard Golden (ed) Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (2006) BF1566 .E56 2006 v.1 -4
 availalbe in Suzzallo Reference Section for  Library Use Only (LUO)


Learned Magical Tradition and the Faust Legend

Palmer, P.M. and More, R.P., The Sources of the Faust Tradition from Simon
 Magus to Lessing (1936): primary sources for Faust legend

Frances Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (espec first half)

Richard Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages(1990) 

Valerie Flint, Magic in the Early Middle Ages

Wayne Shumaker, Occult Sciences in the Renaissance

Medieval Witch Beliefs  Norman Cohn Europe's Inner Demons: (1970)

Richard Kieckhefer, European Witch Trials (Berkeley 1976)- important discussion of
 pre-1500 trials; makes useful distinctions between popular & learned witch beliefs

J. B. Russell, Witchcraft in Middle Ages (1972) - general account of medieval events, but unlike
most other historians, Russell believes there really was a "devil-worshipping sect" in Middle Ages

Edward Peters, The Magician, the Witch and the Law: on extension of medieval legal jurisdiction over
sorcery and witchcraft

Sydney Anglo, "Evident Authority & Authoritative Evidence: The Malleus Maleficarum,"
Sydney Anglo (ed) The Damned Art: Essays in the Literature of Witchcraft (1977)



James Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England

Keith Thomas, Religion & the Decline of Magic (1971) (N.B.: 600+ pages)
work of major importance which re-interprets the relationship between late medieval religion,
the Protestant Reformation and English witch trials; extensivediscussion of magical beliefs &
astrology; important chapters on sociological context of English witchcraft accusations
(especially Ch 15-16"The Making of a Witch")

Alan Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor-Stuart England (1970)
- important sociological/historical study of trials in Essex, 1560-1680; most extensive
statistical analysis of patterns behind accusations, trials & convictions for w/c, with
numerous variables examined (e.g. gender, class, place of origin)

Wallace Notestein, History of Witchcraft in England 1588-1718 (1911) - early but reliable general account


Christina Larner, Enemies of God: Witch-Hunt in Scotland (1981) - sociologicallysophisticated studY of
witch trials; discussion of social perception of witchcraft as female crime.

Colonial America:

Boyer & Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed - examines social patterns underlying
Salem accusations & trials

John Demos, Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England
(1982) - psychological & sociological approach to New England witch beliefs

John Demos, "Underlying themes in w/c of l7th C. New England,"
American Historical Review Vol. 75 (1970) pp. 1311-1320

Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman (1987): role of "anomalous"
property inheritance in accusations against New England women

Chadwick Hansen, Witchcraft at Salem (1969)- general account of Salem trials

Marion Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts (1950)- general account of Salem trials

Richard Weisman, Witchcraft, Magic and Religion in 17th Century Massachusetts
(1984) - good sociological study of pre-Salem trials

Marc Mappen, Witches & Historians: Interpretations of Salem (1980) BFl576/M34

Germany: several other important titles in German (references available)

H.C. Erik Midelfort, Witch-Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684 (1972) -
major work on German witch trials, good on large panic trials.

H.C. Erik Midelfort, "Were there really witches?" in Robert M. Kingdon (ed.) Transition & Revolution in
 Early Modern Europe (1974) - concise attempt to answer this basic question in German context 

Christopher Friedrichs, Urban Society in  Age of War: Nordlingen 1580-1720 (1979) -chap on witch trials

R.J.W. Evans, Making of Hapsburg Monarchy (1979) - chapter on campaign against popular magic & w/c

Kunze, The High Road to the Stake (1986) - reconstruction of a single German witch trial.

Roper, Lyndal "Witchcraft & Fantasy in Early Modern Germany,"History Workshop #32  (1991),
pp. 19-43 on post-partum accusations against "lying-in maids."  Now included in her Oedpius and the Devil.

Lyndal Roper, Witch Craze  (2005)  on German witch trials, especially on role of older women

France & Switzerland:

Robert Muchembled, "The Witches of the Cambresis, " in James Obelkevich, (ed.)
Religion & the People, 800-l700, (1979), pp. 22l-276: trials in NE France near
Belgium where trial of Suzanne Gaudry occurred (Kors & Peters, #57)

Robin Briggs, Witches and Neighbors (1996) excellent book on Duchy of Lorraine

R. Briggs, Communities of Belief, on “spontaneous” confessions to diabolical pact Ch 1-3

E. William Monter, Witchcraft in France & Switzerland (1976) focuses on 16th-17th
century trials in area of southwestern France known as Jura

E. William Monter, "Patterns of W/C in the Jura," Journal of Social History Vol. II (1972) pp. 435-451

Spain:  Julio Caro Baroja, World of the Witches (1964) chap on Spanish trials

Gustav Henningsen, The Witches' Advocate (1980) (N.B.: 600+ pages)
- massive study of the Spanish trials & Fra Alonso Salazar, Inquisitor who put a stop
to witch-hunting in Spain in the early 17th century

Maria Tausiet, “Witchcraft as Metaphor: Infanticide & its Translations in Aragon in 16-17th C”
Stuart Clark (ed), Languages of Witchcraft, pp 179-95


Carlo Ginzburg, Night Battles: W/C & Agrarian Cults in 16-17 C Italy (1983) on benandanti & Inquisition

Ruth Martin, Witchcraft in Venice, 1550-1650 (1988) - urban sorcery

Mary O'Neil, "Magical Healing, Love Magic & Inquisition/16 C Modena," in  
Stephen Haliczer, Inquisition & Soc in E Mod Europe (1987) pp. 88-114

William Monter, Ritual Myth and Magic in Early Modern Europe

Midwives: (Harley, Greilshammer & Green will be on e -reserve)

D. Harley, "Historians as demonologists: the myth of the midwife-witch,"
Social History of Medicine, Vol 3 (1990) pp. 1-26 (Health Sci Libr)

Myriam Greilsammer, "The midwife, the priest & the physician: subjugation of midwives in Low Countries
Middle Ages,"Journal of Medieval & Ren. Studies, Vol. 21 (1991) pp. 285-323 (Suzz Periodicals)

Monica Green, "Women's Medical Practice & Health in Medieval Europe,"
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society Vol. 154 (1989) pp. 434-473

E. William Monter "The Pedestal & the Stake: Courtly Love & Witchcraft, "
in Renata Bridenthal (ed), Becoming Visible: Women in European History (1977) -
on ambivalent attitudes to women in European culture

Thomas Forbes, The Midwife & the Witch (1966) -discusses the medical role of
midwives & how they frequently came to be accused as witches (dated use with caution)

Gregory Zilboorg, The Medical Man & the Witch during the Renaissance (1935) -
16th C. medicine & w/c theory  (dated; use with caution)
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(327)
Over the past 30 years I have taught I.G.C.S.E, A-Level, I.B., and A.P. History throughout the Atlantic region in both private and public school settings. During that time I have instructed students in a variety of rigorous exam subjects . I am a... 
Group Class


weekly or $75 for 5 classes
1x per week, 5 weeks
55 min

Completed by 4 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 9-14
3-18 learners per class

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