HIS 387M • Demonology and Witchcraft
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
This seminar will study the beliefs held by Europeans regarding the powers of the devil and his interactions with human beings, especially witches and demoniacs, during the early modern period (1450-1750). We shall give special attention to the interaction between popular and learned notions of magic and diabolism, the role of demonology in witchcraft prosecutions, and the strength of the skeptical tradition. The reading will include demonological treatises by Heinrich Kramer, Johann Weyer, Jean Bodin, Nicolas Remy, Henri Boguet, Reginald Scot, King James VI, Cotton Mather and Balthasar Bekker. We shall also read the most important scholarly literature on the interpretation of demonological texts.
Members of the seminar will be expected to participate in the weekly discussions, present an oral report, and write a 20-page paper.