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Authors: Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

In 1997, Stuart Clark published the first monograph since the time of Jules Michelet to focus on pre-modern ideas about witches. The language of belief in witchcraft studies betrays an anachronistic, modernist and dismissive approach to a mental universe quite different from our own. This book makes the male witch visible, to construct him as a historical subject, as a first step toward a deeper understanding of the functions and role of gender in pre-modern European witch-hunting and ideas about witches. The overtly political dimension to the study of witches in early modern Europe demands a high level of consciousness and reflexivity regarding language, representation, and meaning. William Monter provides a wealth of data about male witches, in an 'unremarkable province' close to 'the heart of northern and western Europe'. Here, men comprised the majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft. The book examines cases in which men were accused of witchcraft. The examples are drawn from several different regions, in order to test conventional generalisations about male witches. The agency theory posits that actors always have choices; 'agent-centred' morality proposes a novel twist on both traditional Kantian internalist categories. The problems of both male and female witches' agency and selfhood are discussed. The book also presents data compiled from ten canonical works, and a brief discussion of demonological illustrations. Finally, it addresses the question of what it means to label a man as a witch within a framework that explicitly and implicitly feminised witchcraft.

Open Access (free)
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

, thus implying sceptical distance in the sense that the ideas in question, while sincerely held,were not only fallacious but also entirely subjective.We do not mean to suggest that Satan-worshipping witches actually flew across the early modern European skies. Rather, we concur with anthropologist Gilbert Lewis: ‘The very word “belief” often implies, in its use, a judgement about the uncertain truth or reliability of that

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

assumptions, methodologically speaking, is to impart too much significance to the often-cited fact that women comprised 75 to 80 per cent of those tried for witchcraft in early modern Europe. This figure represents an estimate that covers continental Europe, the British Isles, and the American colonies, over a period of roughly three hundred years: it masks the crucial fact that ratios of male to female witches were extremely

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Agency and selfhood at stake
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

to her sources. In her much-reviewed and highly original collection Oedipus and the Devil: Witchcraft, Sexuality and Religion in Early Modern Europe , Roper approached the topic of witchcraft confessions and their recantation from a psychoanalytic perspective. One of Roper’s great accomplishments in this book, composed of nine substantial and thematically related articles or chapters, was to call into question traditional

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Rothenburg, 1561–1652
Author: Alison Rowlands

Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into ‘witch-crazes’ in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city that experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The book explores the factors that explain the absence of a ‘witch-craze’ in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges the existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a narrative style, the study invites a wide readership to share in the drama of early modern witch trials.

Open Access (free)
The historian and the male witch
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

were not related, most had criminal records for other felonies … witchcraft was not the original charge but was added on to make the initial accusation more heinous [original italics]. 27 In her survey of early modern European women and gender, Merry Wiesner presents a variation of this argument, stating that ‘male suspects were generally relatives of the accused

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

worthy of further investigation. In short, simplistic portrayals of the relationship between gender and witchcraft in early modern Europe do not reflect the complex and untidy state of affairs that even the briefest overview reveals. In the third chapter, we examined issues of agency and resistance with an eye to placing witches’own self-understandings and motivations, as they professed them, at the

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
The gendering of witchcraft
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

So far, we have concentrated on constructing the male witch as a valid historical subject. In this final chapter, we wish to change gear and attempt to answer the question of how early modern Europeans, specifically witchcraft theorists, made sense of male witches. Given that they generally associated witchcraft more strongly with women than with men, it seems at first rather odd that early modern

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Open Access (free)
Demonological descriptions of male witches
Lara Apps and Andrew Gow

different category of evil-doer from female witches; regardless of sex, they were all witches first and foremost. Images Images of witches provide additional evidence for the capacity of early modern Europeans to conceive of male witches. Demonological treatises were rarely illustrated, 53 but some of those that were offer further proof that witches were not believed to be exclusively or

in Male witches in early modern Europe
Visions of episcopacy in seventeenth-century France

This book explores how conceptions of episcopacy (government of a church by bishops) shaped the identity of the bishops of France in the wake of the reforming Council of Trent (1545–63). It demonstrates how the episcopate, initially demoralised by the Wars of Religion, developed a powerful ideology of privilege, leadership and pastorate that enabled it to become a flourishing participant in the religious, political and social life of the ancien regime. The book analyses the attitudes of Tridentine bishops towards their office by considering the French episcopate as a recognisable caste, possessing a variety of theological and political principles that allowed it to dominate the French church.