Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684: The Social and Intellectual Foundations

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This book is an analysis of witchcraft and witch hunting as they appeared in southwestern Germany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Starting from a short analysis of some basic problems in the interpretation of European witchcraft, it proceeds to a study of the shifting denominational views regarding witches and the growth of Catholic orthodoxy. That theoretical vantage yields insight into the patterns in time, space, and confession that characterized all witch hunts in the German Southwest. There follows a narrative analysis of the largest witch hunts and the general crisis of confidence they produced. Analysis is complemented by a summary of what is known about the people accused of witchcraft, as well as an examination of the popular suspicion directed toward old women at the start of most panics and the breakdown of this stereotype as the panics progressed.