Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century England
Witchcraft, astrology, divination and every kind of popular magic flourished in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from the belief that a blessed amulet could prevent the assaults of the Devil to the use of the same charms to recover stolen goods. At the same time the Protestant Reformation attempted to take the magic out of religion, and scientists were developing new explanations of the universe. Keith Thomas's classic analysis of beliefs held on every level of English society begins with the collapse of the medieval Church and ends with the changing intellectual atmosphere around 1700, when science and rationalism began to challenge the older systems of belief.
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parts of seventeenth-century England still used cow-dung as fuel.12) In the
hundred and fifty years before the great visitation of 1665 there were only a
dozen years when London was free from plague. Some people were thought to
have died ...
A few physicians noticed that rats came out of their holes at times of plague,19
but they did not associate them with the disease; indeed, by urging that cats and
dogs be killed in order to check infection, they may have actually worsened the ...
At Hitchin the minister blamed the plague of 1665 on the local prostitute.32 Most
of those who saw plague as the product of divine wrath assumed that God
worked through natural causes, bringing the epidemic by contagion or by the ...
He had maintained in a published work that the plague only struck sinful men
and that no believer would die of it unless he was lacking in faith. Fatalism of this
kind was actively combated by the authorities.40 Nevertheless, some persons ...
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Cunning Men and Popular Magic
Magic and Religion
its Practice and Extent
its Social and Intellectual Role
Astrology and Religion
THE APPEAL TO THE PAST 13 Ancient Prophecies WITCHCRAFT
the Crime and its History
Witchcraft and Religion
The Decline of Magic
Prayer and Prophecy 6 Religion and the People
The Making of a Witch
Witchcraft and its Social Environment