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world beyond the concerns of politics and religion. This attempt to claim neutrality for natural knowledge was of course of great interest to many in post Civil War England, who wished to put a crucial part of intellectual thought potentially beyond the kind of catastrophic divisions of the 1640s and 1650s. But, in practice, an important component of the attempt at neutrality was political. As Schaffer has noted, Now, the exclusions which surrounded and defined natural philosophy in seventeenth-century England involved various elements: the construction of a purely

in The Enlightenment and religion
Open Access (free)
The historian and the male witch

Foundations (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1972), 182–183. 14 Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England (repr. London: Penguin, 1991 [Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971]), 679. Alan Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A Regional and Comparative

in Male witches in early modern Europe

’s point of view. The motive behind the sorcery in all of these cases appears to have been the overturning of the sorcerer’s position of dependency and powerlessness. When a neigh-bour’s child fell ill, her cow was bewitched to stop giving milk, or a bear attacked her cattle, she was often forced to go to the sorcerer to ask for mercy, a request that was usually granted. Unlike the counter-sorcery in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century

in Witchcraft Continued

Demons, 150. Yet Nider himself does not gender witches consistently, and his most fully described maleficus, the arch-witch Staedelin, is a man. It is likely, however, that here we glimpse a contradiction between Nider’s own conception of witchcraft, and the beliefs and experiences of his informant, Peter Gruyères of Bern. See Blauert, 57–9. J.A. Sharpe, “Witchcraft and Women in Seventeenth Century England: Some Northern Evidence,” Continuity and Change 6 (1991): 179–99; 194. See also Sharpe, Witchcraft in Seventeenth Century Yorkshire: Accusations and Countermeasures

in The Malleus Maleficarum and the construction of witchcraft
A case study in the construction of a myth

deist. He was so labelled by his opponents on account of his ‘unsparing attacks’ on the ‘High Church party’.19 Indeed, given the dissenting orientation of the works of Trenchard, Dennis and Howard, it is difficult to accept that their intention ‘was to fragment the narrow Christocentric view of the past’.20 On the contrary, these men wished to cleanse the Christian priesthood by prompting a return to an original Christocentric and apostolic form of Church government. In the politico-ecclesiastical tension of late-seventeenth-century England, some Dissenters and fellow

in The Enlightenment and religion
Gender and contemporary fantasies of witchcraft

, ‘Niederstetten 1676’). On the gendered division of household labour, see Ahrendt-Schulte, Zauberinnen in der Stadt Horn, pp. 35–42, 225–227; Briggs, Witches and Neighbours, pp. 267–269; Purkiss, The Witch in History, pp. 91–118; Sharpe, ‘Witchcraft and women in seventeenth-century England’, pp. 188–192; Wunder, ‘Er ist die Sonn’, sie ist der Mond’, pp. 89–117. We can see it clearly around the issue of dairying and childbirth in the Wettringen witchcraft case of 1652, see pp. 150–156. The important educative influence of women over their children is discussed pp. 94–96. RStA

in Witchcraft narratives in Germany
The discourse of spirits in Enlightenment Bristol

and Gareth Roberts (eds), Witchcraft in Early Modern Scotland (Exeter, 2000). Historians are now following suit, for example: Peter Elmer, ‘ “Saints or Sorcerers”: Quakerism, Demonology and the Decline of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century England’, in Barry et al. Witchcraft, pp. 145–79; Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 1997); Malcolm Gaskill, Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2000) and Stuart Clark (ed.), Languages of Witchcraft (Basingstoke, 2001). W. B. Carnochan, ‘Witch-Hunting and

in Beyond the witch trials