The Uses of Supernatural Power

The Uses of Supernatural Power : The Transformation of Popular Religion in Mediaeval and Early Modern Europe

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This book is concerned with aspects of religion, magic and witchcraft in medieval and early modern Europe, with particular reference to Central Europe. Drawing on a range of theoretical and methodological work, the author gives particular attention to the history of the body and of gesture, of symbolism and representation, and shows how these dimensions can be related to religious and mystical beliefs and practices. Among the topics discussed are conflicts in 12th century Christianity and the tensions between popular religion and learned urban Christianity, heretical and non-conformist behaviour in the 12th and 13th centuries, the celestial courts of holy princesses in 13th century Central Europe, shamanistic elements in Central European witchcraft, which beliefs and witch hunting in Hungary in the early modern period and the decline of witches and the rise of vampires in the 18th century Habsburg Monarchy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 250 pages
  • 152 x 229mm | 563g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 figure,, bibliography
  • 0745605583
  • 9780745605586

Table of contents

The carnival spirit - Bakhtin's theory on the culture of popular laughter; religious movements and christian culture - a pattern of centripetal and centrifugal orientations in 11th-13th centuries; fashionable beards and heretic rags; from sacral kingship to self-representation - Hungarian and European royal saints in the 11th-13th centuries; legends as life-strategies for aspirant saints in the later middle ages; the cult of dynastic saints in Central Europe - 14th century Angevins and Luxemburgs; shamanistic elements in Central European witchcraft; witch hunting in Hungary - social or cultural strains?; the decline of witches and the rise of vampires under the 18th century Habsburg monarchy.
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