The Devil's Dominion

The Devil's Dominion : Magic and Religion in Early New England

3.47 (48 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Devil's Dominion examines the use of folk magic by ordinary men and women in early New England. The book describes in vivid detail the magical techniques used by settlers and the assumptions which underlaid them. Godbeer argues that layfolk were generally far less consistent in their beliefs and actions than their ministers would have liked; even church members sometimes turned to magic. The Devil's Dominion reveals that the relationship between magical and religious belief was complex and ambivalent: some members of the community rejected magic altogether, but others did not. Godbeer argues that the controversy surrounding astrological prediction in early New England paralleled clerical condemnation of magical practice, and that the different perspectives on witchcraft engendered by magical tradition and Puritan doctrine often caused confusion and disagreement when New Englanders sought legal punishment of more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139242857
  • 9781139242851

Review quote

'Godbeer shows us that popular belief in magic underlay most accusations of witchcraft, even in the Salem epidemic, and he also shows that popular belief did not necessarily ascribe the efficacy of magic, and by consequence of witchcraft, to the devil.' Edmund S. Morgan, The New York Review of Books 'Godbeer gives a cogent analysis of the political and religious climate that led to the Salem outbreak, acknowledging other historians' extensive work in this area while presenting his own argument in the context of surviving folk practices.' Tidesshow more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; Preface; Introduction; 1. 'Magical experiments': divining, healing and destroying in seventeenth-century New England; 2. 'The serpent that lies in the grass unseen': clerical and lay opposition to magic; 3. 'Entertaining Satan': sin, suffering, and countermagic; 4. 'Sinful curiosity': astrological discourse in early New England; 5. 'Insufficient grounds for conviction': witchcraft, the courts, and countermagic; 6. 'Rape of a whole colony': the 1692 witch-hunt; Epilogue; more

Rating details

48 ratings
3.47 out of 5 stars
5 8% (4)
4 44% (21)
3 35% (17)
2 12% (6)
1 0% (0)
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