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Paperback European Witch Craze in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century and Other Essays Book

ISBN: 0061314161

ISBN13: 9780061314162

European Witch Craze in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century and Other Essays

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Format: Paperback

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Essays by noted historian H.R. Trevor Roper. The NY Times wrote: "A really splendid assault on the witch-craze in early modern Europe... This is real history; it teaches truths and insights - and only... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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The first resource for European witch-craze

"...I know that some critics may object. They may say that the witch-craze is a disgusting subject, below the dignity of history. To them I would reply that, disgusting or not, it is also a historical fact...Ugly though it may be, we can no more overlook it...than we can overlook the equally ugly phenomenon of anti-semitism in `contemporary' history..." Hugh Redwald Trevor-Roper, the son of a doctor, was educated at Charter House and Christ Church, Oxford. From 1937-1939 he was Research Fellow of Merton College. After the war he returned to Oxford as a Student of Christ Church, and in 1957 was appointed Regius Professor of Modern History. In `The European Witch-Craze of the 16th and 17th Centuries', Professor Trevor-Roper questions why, early modern Europe had regressed since the Dark Ages. In this collection of essays Roper is not merely concerned with witch-beliefs, with the elementary village credulities that anthropologists discover in all times and at all places; Roper sees the craze as a form of social intolerance - the witch, like the Jew, cast first as the non-conforming scapegoat of feudal society and later as a victim of conflicting ideologies. The subject in this book is then not with only beliefs, which are universal, but the witch-craze itself, which is limited in space and in time; and by the `witch-craze' Roper refers to `...the inflammation of those beliefs, the incorporation of them, by educating men, into a bizarre but coherent intellectual system which, at certain socially determined times gave to otherwise unorganized peasant credulity a centrally directed, officially blessed persecuting force...' He goes on to show why attacks on details of the craze could never touch its real nature, the real nature being rooted in a coherent cosmology and social structure accepted even by critics of the persecution. He legitimately studies how those beliefs are motivated and how they should be interpreted. I found the result of Roper's study to be a brilliant, well-sourced witty collection of essays that not only explore but also endeavor to explain the phenomenon of the witch-craze - a fanatastic starting point for anyone studying the witch-craze!
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