Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits in the Early Modern Period

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Michelle Brock
573 g
216x151x27 mm
Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic

Investigates the discursive and experiential frameworks which allowed people to recognize and understand preternatural beings
Theory and Practice in Early Modern Epistemologies of the Preternatural; Michelle Brock and David Winter.- Part I: Knowing in Theory.- Knowing the Spirit(s) in the Dutch Radical Reformation: From Physical Perception to Rational Doubt, 1536-1690; Gary Waite.- Hell and Fairy: The Differentiation of Fairies and Demons within British Ritual Magic of the Early Modern Period; Daniel Harms.- Preternatural Peasants and the Discourse of Demons: Xenoglossy, Superstition, and Melancholy in Early Modern Spain; Andrew Keitt.- Testing for Demonic Obsession: Goclenius, Scribonius, and the Lemgo Witchcraft Trial of 1583; Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter.- The Damned Trinity: Judas, the Devil, and the Hell-Beast in Russian Iconography; Dmitriy Antonov.- Part II: Knowing in Practice.- Curious Companions: Spirit Conjuring and Alchemy in the Sixteenth Century; Frank Klaassen.- Edward Terry and the Demons of India; Richard Raiswell.- Jesuit Missionaries and the Accommodationist Demons of New France; Mairi Cowan.- Angels, Devils, and Discernment in Early Modern Scotland; Martha McGill.- Discerning Spirits in the Early Enlightenment: The Case of the French Prophets; Michael B. Riordan.- Afterword: The Science of Knowing Spirits: Rationality and the Invisible World; Nancy Mandeville Caciola.- Index.
This book explores the manifold ways of knowing-and knowing about- preternatural beings such as demons, angels, fairies, and other spirits that inhabited and were believed to act in early modern European worlds. Its contributors examine how people across the social spectrum assayed the various types of spiritual entities that they believed dwelled invisibly but meaningfully in the spaces just beyond (and occasionally within) the limits of human perception. Collectively, the volume demonstrates that an awareness and understanding of the nature and capabilities of spirits-whether benevolent or malevolent-was fundamental to the knowledge-making practices that characterize the years between ca. 1500 and 1750. This is, therefore, a book about how epistemological and experiential knowledge of spirits persisted and evolved in concert with the wider intellectual changes of the early modern period, such as the Protestant Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.