Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England

J.A. Sharpe


Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England

Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England

  • Title: Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England
  • Author: J.A. Sharpe
  • ISBN: 9780812216332
  • Page: 181
  • Format: Paperback



They flew through the air, consorted with animals, and made pacts with the devil Witches were as unquestioned as alchemy or astrology in medieval England yet it wasn t until the midsixteenth century that laws were passed against them Now a leading historian of crime and society in early modern England offers the first scholarly overview of witchcraft in that country inThey flew through the air, consorted with animals, and made pacts with the devil Witches were as unquestioned as alchemy or astrology in medieval England yet it wasn t until the midsixteenth century that laws were passed against them Now a leading historian of crime and society in early modern England offers the first scholarly overview of witchcraft in that country in over eighty years, examining how tensions between church, state, and society produced widespread distrust among fearful people.Instruments of Darkness takes readers back to a time when witchcraft was accepted as reality at all levels of society James Sharpe draws on legal records and other sources to reveal the interplay between witchcraft beliefs in different partts in the social hierarchy Along the way, he offers disturbing accounts of witch hunts, such as the East Anglian trials of 1645 47 that sent than 100 people to the gallows He tells how poor, elderly women were most often accused of witchcraft and challenges feminist claims that witch hunts represented male persecution by showing that many accusers were themselves women.Prosecution of witches gradually declined with increasing skepticism among jurists, new religious attitudes, and scientific advances that explained away magic But for two hundred years, thousands participated in one of history s most notorious persecutions Instruments of Darkness is a fascinating case study that deepens our understanding of this age old cultural phenomenon and sheds new light on one society in which it occurred.


Recent Comments "Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in Early Modern England"

The author gives us here a very exhaustive view of witchcraft in that little country we know as England. Not Great Britain, just jolly old England. So you will not see anything here concerning Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. (Although Wales never seems to come up in books dealing with the history of witchcraft).So Sharpe gives us a very focused book. Although continental witchcraft does come up at times for the sake of comparison, this work paints a picture of the peculiarities concerning E [...]

This is a short but informative book by James A. Sharpe, a great historian on the subject. James Sharpe examines why witch hunts occured in early modern England, and looks at contemporary views of witchcraft. James Sharpe provides an overview of the current arguments and schools of thought regarding the period. He also addresses the gender dimensions of the witch persecutions since the majority of people accused of witchcraft in England were women. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is i [...]

I gave Instruments of Darkness 3 stars for the copious amounts of information that it contains and not necessary for the quality of writing. It is completely packed with examples of witchcraft which means that it can get rather boring. Honestly, this book is best when skimmed for the main ideas. But, despite my misgivings as to Sharpe's writing abilities (at least when it comes to readability), the analysis of witchcraft in this book is very compelling. Sharpe does a good job of giving a new per [...]

James Sharpe is a well known historian on the topic of witchcraft in early modern England. The witchcraft trials in England were different from their contiental counterparts and that becomes apparent in this book. Sharpe comes to some great conclusions. Mr. Sharpe analyzed how tensions between church, state, and society were able to produce such widespread fear that led to the witchcraft accusations and trials. I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it. I highly recommend this to anyo [...]

An introduction to both witchcraft in early modern England and what scholars have argued about it. It also includes excerpts from 27 documents from the period, which is a great help to drawing my own conclusions about the period.

Great - erudite and accessible. Lifts the metaphorical lid from some of the ridiculous myths that have grown up around accusations and trials, especially that of the 'swimming' torture. Academic and well researched. Anyone who's remotely interested should read this.

Walks the line between survey and argument well. A bit too critical of Thomas and Macfarlane, but still an excellent and important addition to the historiography of witchcraft.

Great read!


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    Published :2018-01-04T09:31:56+00:00