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Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European…
by Robin Briggs
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140144382, Paperback)This remarkable history of European witchcraft explores the persecutions against its supposed practitioners in the late Middle Ages. Even at the time, writes Briggs, many thought the inquisitions against witchcraft absurd, but still thousands died, mostly women, mostly poor. Examining contemporary accounts and court records -- 300 of them from the duchy of Lorraine alone -- Briggs notes that the inquisition heightened divisions between the educated and the uneducated classes, "as their world views polarized to the point where vast areas of what had once been common belief were stigmatized as superstition."
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:05 -0400)
"In his remarkable and compelling interpretation of the course and causes of the fear and persecution of witches that bedeviled Europe for centuries, Briggs draws on the latest research into the local realities underlying the phenomenon. In particular, he employs his own extensive work in the rich archives hidden away in those Franco-German borderlands in which so many cases became known. Briggs reveals how ordinary people diverted ordinary and not-so-ordinary grievances into a complex structure of blaming and scapegoating. Villagers inhabited a harsh and dangerous world, where real and fantastic fears mingled." "Through his study of real cases and real lives, individual hysteria and disillusionment, institutional skepticism and opposition, Briggs skillfully and stylishly traces the ways in which beliefs about witchcraft responded to changes in European society. Witches and Neighbors is an illuminating social and cultural history of a period all too often darkened by myth and misinformation."--Book jacket of hardcover edition.
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