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Between the Living and the Dead
A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age

by Éva Pócs

Éva Pócs is associate professor at Janus Pannonius University, Pécs, Hungary, and also president of the Folklore Section of the Hungarian Ethnographic Society.

"The first original and significant Central European contribution to this field of scholarship."
- Gábor Klaniczay, Collegium Budapest

"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."
- Choice

In examining the relics of European shamanism in early modern age sources, the techniques and belief-systems of mediators found in the records of witch-craft trials from the 16th-18th centuries, the author's goal was to explore the kinds of communication systems known to early modern Hungarians, the role of these systems in the everyday life of the village, and how they were connected to contemporary European systems. In addition, the author investigates the relations and changes of paradigm of the systems defined. The book represents a contribution to the most up-to-date international research into historical anthropology and the study of religions, drawing on Eastern European material and literature not previously included. On the basis of her material and analysis, the author contributes a number of new details, identifying new types of mediators and sys-tems which function right up to the twentieth century.

Ginzburg's well-known theory on the witches' Sabbath is complemented by the typological description of a Central and Eastern European dual shamanism and is modified to a degree by the connections and changes of paradigm she establishes between the cult of the dead, witchcraft, shamanism, and Christianity.

 

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

1998
250 pages
ISBN 978-963-9116-18-4 cloth $39.95 / €33.95 / £27.95
ISBN 978-963-9116-19-1 paperback $21.95 / €18.95 / £13.95

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