Battling demons: witchcraft, heresy, and reform in the late Middle Ages

Front Cover
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003 - History - 200 pages
0 Reviews
"The fifteenth century is more than any other the century of the persecution of witches." So wrote Johan Huizinga more than eighty years ago in his classic Autumn of the Middle Ages. Although Huizinga was correct in his observation, modern readers have tended to focus on the more spectacular witch-hunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Nevertheless, it was during the late Middle Ages that the full stereotype of demonic witch-craft developed in Europe, and this is the subject of Battling Demons.

At the heart of the story is Johannes Nider (d. 1438), a Dominican theologian and reformer who alternateD/persecuted heretics and negotiated with them -- a man who was by far the most important church authority to write on witchcraft in the early fifteenth century. Nider was a major source for the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, or Hammer of Witches (1486), the manual of choice for witch-hunters in late medieval Europe. Today Nider's reputation rests squarely on his witchcraft writings, but in his own day he was better known as a leader of the reform movement within the Dominican order and as a writer of important tracts on numerous other aspects of late medieval religiosity, including heresy and lay piety. Battling Demons places Nider in this wider context, showing that for late medieval thinkers, witchcraft was one facet of a much larger crisis plaguing Christian society.

As the only English-language study to focus exclusively on the rise of witchcraft in the early fifteenth century, Battling Demons will be important to students and scholars of the history of magic and witchcraft and medieval religious history.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

THE LIFE OF JOHANNES NIDER
11
WITCHCRAFT IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHANNES NIDER
29
Hussites Free Spirits
55
Copyright

2 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information