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Instruments of darkness : witchcraft in early modern England

Author: J A Sharpe
Publisher: Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, ©1996
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Instruments of Darkness takes readers back to a time when witchcraft was accepted as reality at all levels of society. James Sharpe draws on legal records and other sources to reveal the interplay between witchcraft beliefs in different parts of the social hierarchy. Along the way, he offers disturbing accounts of witch-hunts, such as the East Anglian trials of 1645 - 47 that sent more than 100 people to the  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: J A Sharpe
ISBN: 0812216334 9780812216332
OCLC Number: 36776390
Notes: Originally published: London : Hamish Hamilton, 1996.
Description: xiv, 364 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Contents: pt. 1. Witchcraft in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England --
1. Witchcraft and Elite Mentalities --
2. Witchcraft in Popular Culture --
3. The Theological and Legal Bases for Witch-hunting --
pt. 2. Five Themes --
4. Patterns of Prosecution and Punishment --
5. England's Mass Witch-hunt: East Anglia, 1645-7 --
6. Accusations, Counter-measures and the Local Community --
7. Women and Witchcraft --
8. Possession --
pt. 3. The Problem of Decline --
9. The Growth of Judicial Scepticism --
10. A Changing Religious Context --
11. Science and the Decline of Witchcraft.
Responsibility: James Sharpe.

Abstract:

"Instruments of Darkness takes readers back to a time when witchcraft was accepted as reality at all levels of society. James Sharpe draws on legal records and other sources to reveal the interplay between witchcraft beliefs in different parts of the social hierarchy. Along the way, he offers disturbing accounts of witch-hunts, such as the East Anglian trials of 1645 - 47 that sent more than 100 people to the gallows. He tells how poor, elderly women were most often accused of witchcraft and challenges feminist claims that witch-hunts represented male persecution by showing that many accusers were themselves women." "Prosecution of witches gradually declined with increasing skepticism among jurists, new religious attitudes, and scientific advances that explained away magic. But for two hundred years, thousands participated in one of history's most notorious persecutions. Instruments of Darkness is a fascinating case study that deepens our understanding of this age-old cultural phenomenon and sheds new light on one society in which it occurred."--Jacket.

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