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Magic in the Middle Ages

Richard Kieckhefer

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Cambridge University Press
30 November 2021
How was magic practiced in medieval times? How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterized this fascinating period? This much revised and expanded new edition of Magic in the Middle Ages surveys the growth and development of magic in medieval Europe. It takes into account the extensive new developments in the history of medieval magic in recent years, featuring new material on angel magic, the archaeology of magic, and the magical efficacy of words and imagination. Richard Kieckhefer shows how magic represents a crossroads in medieval life and culture, examining its relationship and relevance to religion, science, philosophy, art, literature, and politics. In surveying the different types of magic that were used, the kinds of people who practiced magic, and the reasoning behind their beliefs, Kieckhefer shows how magic served as a point of contact between the popular and elite classes, how the reality of magical beliefs is reflected in the fiction of medieval literature, and how the persecution of magic and witchcraft led to changes in the law.
By:  
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   3rd Revised edition
Dimensions:   Height: 228mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   500g
ISBN:   9781108796897
ISBN 10:   1108796893
Pages:   250
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. Introduction: Magic as a crossroads; 2. The classical inheritance; 3. The twilight of paganism: Magic in Norse and Irish culture; 4. The common tradition of medieval magic; 5. The romance of magic in courtly culture; 6. Arabic learning and the occult sciences; 7. Invocation and conjuration of angels; 8. Conjuration of demons; 9. Prohibition, condemnation, and prosecution.

Richard Kieckhefer is Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor of Religious Studies, and Emeritus Professor of History at Northwestern University, where his work focuses on the history of late medieval religious culture and the history of magic and witchcraft, with particular focus on the late Middle Ages. His published books include European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300-1500 (1976), Repression of Heresy in Medieval Germany (1979), Unquiet Souls: Fourteenth-Century Saints and their Religious Milieu (1984), Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer's Manual of the Fifteenth Century (1997), and Theology in Stone: Church Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley (2004).

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