On the Demon-Mania of Witches.Jean Bodin Jean Bodin (1530–1596) was a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement (not to be confused with the English Parliament) of Paris and professor of Law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty. . Abridged, trans. and ed. Randy A. Scott and Jonathan L. Pearl. (Renaissance and Reformation Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme is a bilingual (English and French), multidisciplinary journal devoted to what is currently called the early modern world (see early modern period). Texts in Translation, 7.) Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies The Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (CRRS) is a library and research and teaching centre in Victoria University in the University of Toronto, in Canada, devoted to the study of the period from approximately 1350 to 1700. , 1995. 218 pp. $12. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 0-969-5125-7.
It is one of the enduring perplexities of the European witch hunts that some of the most learned and innovative thinkers of the era were also the most vehement and apparently credulous cred·u·lous
1. Disposed to believe too readily; gullible.
2. Arising from or characterized by credulity. See Usage Note at credible. witchmongers. As this translation of On the Demon-Mania of Witches reveals, Jean Bodin may embody that contradiction more powerfully than any of his contemporaries. First published in French in 1580, the Demon-Mania was actively reissued and widely translated during the following century and clearly ranked as one of Bodin's most popular works. Since that time, however, it has usually been segregated from the rest of his pioneering studies in political and economic theory, relegated to a position of anomaly within the Bodin oeuvre (11).
This translation is, remarkably, the first in English. Although considerably abridged, the full force of Bodin's argument (presented in four subdivided books) is barely diminished by the absence of a handful of chapters and the conducting polemic against German physician Johann Weyer. The complex philosophical and theological content of book 1 immediately establishes Bodin's audience as elite and highly learned, and considerable editorial labor was required to make this portion of the treatise intelligible for a contemporary reader. Certainly the most startling star·tle
v. star·tled, star·tling, star·tles
1. To cause to make a quick involuntary movement or start.
2. To alarm, frighten, or surprise suddenly. See Synonyms at frighten. passage here is an anonymous personal narrative describing daily visitations by a protective spirit or guardian angel guardian angel
believed to protect a particular person. [Folklore: Misc.]
See : Angel
term for Christian namesake who watches over a young child. [Christianity: Misc.]
See : Guardianship ; Bodin scholars have long assumed this to be an account of the author's own peculiar spiritual odyssey (59-62). This passage deepens the contradictory quality of the Demon-Mania by underscoring the contrast between Bodin's singular spirit of tolerance towards diverse religious beliefs and his adamant intolerance towards accused witches. Moreover, as one element of Bodin's unorthodox system of personal religious beliefs, this narrative asks us to examine more closely those aspects of his background that made the author himself vulnerable to charges of deviance.
Books 2 and 3 address a familiar array of magical practices, witch crimes and mysterious phenomena, as well as licit and illicit means of responding to presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. occult afflictions. More loosely argued than either the first or last books, these chapters are steeped in folk knowledge, local anecdote and personal testimony. One of the most interesting debates in witchcraft studies examines the witch hunts as the convergence of elite forms of knowledge with folk culture and local practices, and the Demon-Mania offers us an especially productive site for investigating the fusion of high and low discourses. Anecdotal material is the most generic component of witchcraft treatises, although Bodin's extraordinary accumulation of these stories (many of which the editors have judiciously omitted) would seem to exceed the demands of rational persuasion and take the reader into the domain of narrative pleasure for its own sake.
The fourth book provides concrete recommendations about legal procedure, including a series of strategies for convicting witches through circumstantial evidence circumstantial evidence
In law, evidence that is drawn not from direct observation of a fact at issue but from events or circumstances that surround it. If a witness arrives at a crime scene seconds after hearing a gunshot to find someone standing over a corpse and holding a , testimony from suspect witnesses, deceiving and psychologically intimidating the accused, and various forms of torture. This is certainly the most compelling section of the Demon-Mania, in part because it was the most consequential in immediate social terms. Book 4 exhibits a constant strain between scrupulous and erudite er·u·dite
Characterized by erudition; learned. See Synonyms at learned.
[Middle English erudit, from Latin legal considerations, and a competing impulse of selective disregard for traditional legal standards: "In a criminal action, and especially in this crime of witchcraft . . . the judge must get the truth by every means that he can imagine" (191). Bodin lays out an apparently precise calculus for weighing proofs, presumptions, testimony and confessions, and yet it is difficult to see how any suspect could have escaped unscathed from his finely-tuned legal machinery. The editor's introduction contexualizes Bodin's position by reviewing the religious and political turmoil in France that shaped his view of authority (10-14), arid by explaining that his recommendations were consistent with judicial procedures employed in witchcraft cases throughout Europe (24-26). Even with such contexualizing frameworks, however, the ingenuity and severity with which Bodin has designed his techniques of judicial intimidation and pursuit remain appalling.
The editorial apparatus provided in this abridged translation is modest, but entirely in keeping with the purpose of the publisher's series, which is to produce scholarly translations suitable for students and non-specialists (an index, descriptions of omitted chapters, and a list of articles which specifically address the Demon-Mania would be welcome). There is an abundance of material here that will be accessible and provocative to any reader, while scholars who bring to this text more particular knowledge of theology, classical or Renaissance philosophy, jurisprudence, folk culture, demonology de·mon·ol·o·gy
1. The study of demons.
2. Belief in or worship of demons.
3. A list or catalog of one's enemies: or the history of the witch hunts, will find it rich and disquieting dis·qui·et
tr.v. dis·qui·et·ed, dis·qui·et·ing, dis·qui·ets
To deprive of peace or rest; trouble.
Absence of peace or rest; anxiety.
Uneasy; restless. , manifestly worthy of further scrutiny and debate.
JULIA M. GARRETT University of California, Santa Barbara History
The predecessor to UCSB, Santa Barbara State College, focused on teacher training, industrial arts, home economics, and foreign languages. Intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State