26 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Shallow but informative,
This review is from: Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England (Penguin History) (Paperback)
This book comes highly recommended and is indeed a milestone in the merging of sociology and history in the late sixties. It is however, badly in need of revision. Thomas's book has been rightly criticised for an unduly shallow sociological approach to religious and magical phenomena for the period covered. With little or no genuine interpretative inquiry from the author, the book rapidly descends into 'list-making' under generic headings. As such, it fasincates with its archeological unearthing of details but ultimately bores this reader with its undue emphasis on repetition. For a stimulating, critically robust and sophisticated approach to particular instances of 'witchcraft', please read Carlo Ginzburg's ECSTASIES.