Cover image for Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700 : a documentary history
Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700 : a documentary history
Kors, Alan Charles.
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiv, 451 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Witchcraft in Europe, 1100-1700 / Alan Charles Kors. 1972.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1566 .K67 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 2001

The highly-acclaimed first edition of this book chronicled the rise and fall of witchcraft in Europe between the twelfth and the end of the seventeenth centuries. Now greatly expanded, the classic anthology of contemporary texts reexamines the phenomenon of witchcraft, taking into account the remarkable scholarship since the book's publication almost thirty years ago.

Spanning the period from 400 to 1700, the second edition of Witchcraft in Europe assembles nearly twice as many primary documents as the first, many newly translated, along with new illustrations that trace the development of witch-beliefs from late Mediterranean antiquity through the Enlightenment. Trial records, inquisitors' reports, eyewitness statements, and witches' confessions, along with striking contemporary illustrations depicting the career of the Devil and his works, testify to the hundreds of years of terror that enslaved an entire continent.

Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Thomas Hobbes, and other thinkers are quoted at length in order to determine the intellectual, perceptual, and legal processes by which "folklore" was transformed into systematic demonology and persecution. Together with explanatory notes, introductory essays--which have been revised to reflect current research--and a new bibliography, the documents gathered in Witchcraft in Europe vividly illumine the dark side of the European mind.

Author Notes

Alan Charles Kors is Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Atheism in France, 1650-1729 and (with Harvey A. Silvergate) The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses. Edward Peters is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. Among his books are Torture and The First Crusade, both also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The second edition of this classic source book (1st, 1972, covering 1100-1700) retains all the features that made it an indispensable tool for the study of European witchcraft, while also making significant revisions designed to strengthen and broaden its usefulness. The most welcome addition is the anthology's new coverage of pre-12th century texts related to the antecedents of active persecution and hysteria during the so-called witch-craze of the 15th through 17th centuries. By including works by such authors as Augustine and Isidore of Seville, Kors and Peters (both history, Univ. of Pennsylvania) more accurately illustrate the early Christian foundations for the intellectual and social depiction of the witch and his/her relationship to the devil. Twenty-five additional texts create a more noticeably unified and comprehensive overview of European witchcraft; an expanded introduction incorporates and reflects the latest scholarship in the field; revised forewords to individual texts orient the reader to the historical and literary contexts of each selection. While containing fewer illustrations than the first, this edition's selections, reproductions, and chronological organization are notable improvements. Revisions have made this anthology stronger and even more essential to an apprehension of the medieval perception of witchcraft and its role in society. Highly recommended for all libraries; general readers and all academic levels. J. W. Dippmann Central Washington University

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Editionp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introduction: The Problem of European Witchcraftp. 1
I Christianizing the Traditionsp. 41
1 Augustine: On Christian Teachingp. 43
2 Caesarius of Arles: Sermon 54p. 47
3 Isidore of Seville, Etymologiesp. 50
4 Halitgar of Cambrai: The "Roman" Penitentialp. 54
II Sorcery in Christendomp. 58
5 Regino of Prum: A Warning to Bishopsp. 60
6 Burchard of Worms: The Corrector, sive Medicusp. 63
7 Hugh of St. Victor: The Didascaliconp. 67
8 William of Malmesbury: The Sorceress of Berkeleyp. 70
9 Master Gratian: The Decretump. 72
10 John of Salisbury: The Policraticusp. 77
11 Ralph of Coggeshall: The Heretics of Rheimsp. 78
12 Jacobus de Voragine: The Life of St. Justinap. 81
III Thomas Aquinas on Sorcery and the Nature of Evilp. 87
13 From the Summa contra gentilesp. 90
14 From the Summa theologiaep. 96
15 From Quodlibet XIp. 103
16 From the Commentary on the Four Books of Sentencesp. 104
17 Jacopo Passavanti: The Mirror of True Penitencep. 105
IV Popes, Theologians, Preachers, Lawyers, and Judgesp. 112
18 Pope Gregory IX: Vox in Ramap. 114
19 Pope Alexander IV: Sorcery and the Inquisitorsp. 116
20 William, Cardinal of Santa Sabina: Sorcery and the Inquisitorsp. 118
21 Pope John XXII: Sorcery and the Inquisitorsp. 119
22 Nicolau Eymeric: The Directorium inquisitorump. 120
23 The Theology Faculty of the University of Paris Condemns Sorceryp. 127
24 Bernardino of Siena Preaches Against Women Sorcerersp. 133
V The Sect of Diabolical Witchesp. 149
25 Pope Alexander V to Pontus Fougeyron on New Sectsp. 152
26 Pope Eugenius IV: Two Letters on the Pressing Dangerp. 153
27 Johannes Nider: The Formicariusp. 155
28 The Errores Gazariorump. 159
29 Claude Tholosan: Ut magorum et maleficiorum erroresp. 163
30 Martin Le Franc: The Defender of Ladiesp. 166
31 Nicholas Jacquier: A Scourge for Heretical Witchesp. 170
32 Jehan de la Case Is Pardoned for Killing a Witch-Finderp. 172
VI The Hammer of Witchesp. 176
33 Pope Innocent VIII: Summis desiderantes affectibusp. 177
34 Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger: The Malleus Maleficarump. 180
35 Pope Alexander VI: The Pursuit of Witches in Lombardyp. 229
VII Humanists, Sorcerers, Preachers, and Popesp. 230
36 Desiderius Erasmus: A Terrible Case of Sorcery in Orleansp. 231
37 Johann Geiler von Kayserberg: Die Emeisp. 236
38 Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola: Strixp. 239
39 Pope Hadrian VI: On Diabolical Witchcraftp. 245
VIII The Problem of Sorcery and Witchcraft in the Age of the Reformationp. 259
40 Martin Luther: The Two Kinds of Sorcery and the Reformationp. 261
41 John Calvin: Witchcraft and the Reformationp. 265
42 Lambert Daneau: De veneficiisp. 270
43 Martin de Castanega, Tratado muy sotil y bien fundadop. 273
44 Johann Weyer: De praestigiis daemonump. 280
45 Jean Bodin: On the Demon-Mania of Witchesp. 290
46 The Confessions of the Chelmsford Witchesp. 302
47 The Prosecutions at Trierp. 308
48 The Prosecutions in Scotlandp. 318
49 Nicholas Remy, Demonolatryp. 322
IX Witchcraft Prosecutions in the Seventeenth Centuryp. 330
50 Martin Del Rio: Disquisitiones magicarump. 331
51 Ben Jonson: The Masque of Queensp. 334
52 The Trial of Marie Cornup. 345
53 The Prosecutions at Bambergp. 348
54 The Prosecutions at Wurzburgp. 353
55 The Prosecutions at Bonnp. 354
56 The Devils of Loudunp. 355
57 The Trial of Suzanne Gaudryp. 359
58 Cotton Mather: "A Discourse on Witches"p. 367
59 Joseph Glanvill: Sadducismus Triumphatusp. 370
X Belief, Skepticism, Doubt, and Disbelief in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuriesp. 392
60 Reginald Scot: Discoverie of Witchcraftp. 394
61 Michel de Montaigne: "Concerning Cripples"p. 402
62 Benedict de Spinoza: The Political Worksp. 406
63 Alonso de Salazar Frias: A Spanish Inquisitor on Witchcraft and Evidencep. 407
64 Thomas Hobbes: Leviathanp. 419
65 Friedrich Spee: Cautio criminalisp. 425
66 Balthasar Bekker: The Enchanted Worldp. 429
67 The Recantation of the Salem Village Jurorsp. 436
68 Pierre Bayle: Answer to the Questions of a Provincialp. 438
69 Christian Thomasius: Witchcraft and the Lawp. 444
Acknowledgmentsp. 449