Between the Living and the Dead

A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age
ISBN: 
978-963-9116-18-4
cloth
$39.95 / €33.95 / £27.95
Translated by Szilvia Rédey and Michael Webb
Publication date: 
2008
250 pages

Éva Pócs, one of the most highly respected scholars of historical anthropology, has undertaken extensive research on the history of folk beliefs connected with communication and the supernatural sphere. In this book, she examines the relics of European shamanism in early modern sources, and the techniques and belief-systems of mediators found in the records of witchcraft trials from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The book explores the various communication systems known to early modern Hungarians, describes the role of these systems in everyday village life, and shows how they were connected to contemporary European systems, as well as new types of mediators and systems which function right up to the twentieth century.

 

Representing a major contribution to the most up-to-date international research, Eva Pocs draws on significant East European material and literature not previously co-ordinated with that from the West.

Contents

Introduction.

Chapter 1: The limitations and potential of the documentary sources

Chapter 2: General conditions for communication with the supernatural

Chapter 3: The belief figure of the witch

Chapter 4: The malefactor witch

Chapter 5: The alternative world of the witches’ sabbat Chapter 6: The healing witch Chapter 7: The enemies of the witch

Afterword. 

Bibliography

"Fascination with the phenomenon of medieval witchcraft and witch hunting has produced a plethora of works detailing new discoveries and theories in a continuing attempt to understand one of Europe's most enduring historical legacies. Until recently, however, English-language works have neglected Southeastern European regions. This newly translated work by Pócs begins to fill some gaps while providing valuable insights into parallels between this region and Western Europe. Pócs argues that fairies, magicians, seers and witches each played a dualistic mediatory role in the life of the early modern Hungarian village. Rather than seeing these systems of mediation as evolving from benevolent to demonic, she convincingly shows that they were interactive and concurrent. Excellent bibliography."
“Éva Pócs has a deserved reputation as an important scholar of folk beliefs in East Central Europe … we can be thankful to George Soros and the efforts of the Central European University Press for bringing sorely needed and significant new findings on Hungary to an English audience. Pócs’ contribution to the debate on witchcraft and popular beliefs certainly meets these criteria and should be well received.”

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