Witchcraft and Inquisition in Early Modern Venice

Witchcraft and Inquisition in Early Modern Venice

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In early modern Europe, ideas about nature, God, demons and occult forces were inextricably connected and much ink and blood was spilled in arguments over the characteristics and boundaries of nature and the supernatural. Seitz uses records of Inquisition witchcraft trials in Venice to uncover how individuals across society, from servants to aristocrats, understood these two fundamental categories. Others have examined this issue from the points of view of religious history, the history of science and medicine, or the history of witchcraft alone, but this work brings these sub-fields together to illuminate comprehensively the complex forces shaping early modern beliefs.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1 map 4 tables
  • 1139126555
  • 9781139126557

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Witchcraft and the inquisition in the most serene republic; 2. Blackened fingernails and bones in the bedclothes; 3. Appeals to experts; 4. 'Spiritual remedies' for possession and witchcraft; 5. The exorcist's library; 6. 'Not my profession': physicians' naturalism; 7. Physicians as believers; 8. The inquisitor's library; 9. 'Nothing proven': the practical difficulties of witchcraft prosecution; Conclusion.
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Review quote

'This book makes a sterling contribution to the broader debate about early modern mentalities, and as such deserves a wide readership. It will be especially useful to scholars of the Inquisition (there is an excellent overview of how business was conducted in the Venetian tribunal) and to historians of exorcism: the sections on how Venetian exorcists were trained and how they plied their trade are masterful.' Jonathan Wright, Journal of European Studies 'Seitz provides a detailed reconsideration of Venetian witch trials, focusing on medical understandings rooted in inquisitorial procedure and popular mentalities ... makes a significant contribution to the history of medicine in early modern Italy, and one welcomes a future expansion of his findings.' David Lederer, Bulletin of the History of Medicine
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