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Witches and Witch-Hunts: A Global History (Themes in History) [Paperback]

Wolfgang Behringer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 24.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2004 Themes in History
In this major new book, Wolfgang Behringer surveys the phenomenon of witchcraft past and present. Drawing on the latest historical and anthropological findings, Behringer sheds new light on the history of European witchcraft, while demonstrating that witch–hunts are not simply part of the European past. Although witch–hunts have long since been outlawed in Europe, other societies have struggled with the idea that witchcraft does not exist. As Behringer shows, witch–hunts continue to pose a major problem in Africa and among tribal people in America, Asia and Australia. The belief that certain people are able to cause harm by supernatural powers endures throughout the world today. Wolfgang Behringer explores the idea of witchcraft as an anthropological phenomenon with a historical dimension, aiming to outline and to understand the meaning of large–scale witchcraft persecutions in early modern Europe and in present–day Africa. He deals systematically with the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of witches, as well as with the process of outlawing witch–hunts. He examines the impact of anti–witch–hunt legislation in Europe, and discusses the problems caused in societies where European law was imposed in colonial times. In conclusion, the relationship between witches old and new is assessed. This book will make essential reading for all those interested in the history and anthropology of witchcraft and magic.

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Witches and Witch-Hunts: A Global History (Themes in History) + Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (1 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745627188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745627182
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 15.5 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 302,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"An eye–opening accomplishment ... [Behringer′s] careful and nuanced volume attests to the erstwhile human tendency, still tragically prominent, to succumb to paranoid fantasies about one′s neighbours, colleagues and constituents: to accuse them of being in league with dark forces; to work to isolate, hound and even expunge them from the body politic." Journal of Genocide Research "Wolfgang Behringer establishes the importance of a truly global history of witchcraft. Setting aside familiar Western notions, he deploys a more comprehensive definition of witchcraft as the malicious use of evil magic. He brilliantly sketches the history of European witch–hunting and uses this to illuminate the twentieth–century struggle against witches in many parts of the post–colonial world such as South America, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. This book marks a real advance in our understanding of witchcraft, and a remarkable and astute blending of anthropology with history." H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia "Witchcraft has recently been the subject of an enormous amount of research and yet some of its main issues still need reappraisal. This book makes a compelling case for re–examining witchcraft in a fundamental way by reconnecting the new historical scholarship with the discipline of anthropology and treating the subject in a world perspective and as a universal phenomenon. Already Europe′s leading expert on the early modern witchcraft trials, Wolfgang Behringer not only gives us a superb overview of where our knowledge of them currently stands but takes us on a global tour of witchcraft in modern societies. Unexpectedly, we discover how much the European and non–European experience have had in common." Stuart Clark, University of Wales Swansea

From the Back Cover

In this major new book, Wolfgang Behringer surveys the phenomenon of witchcraft past and present. Drawing on the latest historical and anthropological findings, Behringer sheds new light on the history of European witchcraft, while demonstrating that witch–hunts are not simply part of the European past. Although witch–hunts have long since been outlawed in Europe, other societies have struggled with the idea that witchcraft does not exist. As Behringer shows, witch–hunts continue to pose a major problem in Africa and among tribal people in America, Asia and Australia. The belief that certain people are able to cause harm by supernatural powers endures throughout the world today. Wolfgang Behringer explores the idea of witchcraft as an anthropological phenomenon with a historical dimension, aiming to outline and to understand the meaning of large–scale witchcraft persecutions in early modern Europe and in present–day Africa. He deals systematically with the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of witches, as well as with the process of outlawing witch–hunts. He examines the impact of anti–witch–hunt legislation in Europe, and discusses the problems caused in societies where European law was imposed in colonial times. In conclusion, the relationship between witches old and new is assessed. This book will make essential reading for all those interested in the history and anthropology of witchcraft and magic.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read 12 Aug 2014
By Read Up
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great book on what I found is a very unpopular topic in history. I liked how he split up the causes into different themes to give a complete causal explanation (the best one I found by far) and also how he dedicates a chapter to appreciating that individual witch hunts were caused by unique events, e.g. one unfortunate local murder which was blamed on witchcraft. The chapter on religious impacts is particularly clear and excellent.
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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars i really couldn't get into this book 14 Aug 2012
By chantal lavigne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
i found it every hard to get into the book they were all over the place and as soon as u figure u understand what going on it changed . i really would recommmend this book .
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