Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

L'imaginaire Du Sabbat: Edition Critique Des Textes Les Plus Anciens (1430 C.-1440c.)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

L'imaginaire Du Sabbat: Edition Critique Des Textes Les Plus Anciens (1430 C.-1440c.)

Article excerpt

L'imaginaire du sabbat: Edition critique des textes les plus anciens (1430 c.-- 1440 c.). Edited by Martine Ostorero, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, and Kathrin Utz Tremp, in collaboration with Catherine Chene. [Cahiers lausannois d'histoire medievale,Vol. 26.] (Lausanne: Universite de Lausanne, Section d'histoire, Faculte des Lettres. 1999. Pp. 571. Frs. 65.-.)

Were one to fix a date to the emergence of the idea of demonic witchcraft in Western Europe, the decade of the 1430's would be an obvious choice. Within the space of only a few years, five important sources were written describing in clear detail the basic stereotype of witchcraft that would persist throughout the great witch-hunts of subsequent centuries. The authors described not just acts of malevolent magic, but sorcerers acting as members of widespread heretical cults, gathering at secret conclaves, worshiping demons, and engaging in various execrable acts. In short, they depicted, for the first time, the image of the witches' sabbath.

The origins of the idea of the sabbath have been attracting increased scholarly attention for over a decade, ever since the publication of Carlo Ginzburg's provocative and problematic study Storia notturna (1989-in English as Ecstasies, 1991). The present volume performs a valuable function by bringing together all the major early sources in which this idea first appeared. These are: the Lucerne chronicler Hans Frund's report on witchcraft in the diocese of Sion in 1428, selections from the Dominican theologian Johannes Nider's Formicarius, the brief anonymous tract Errores gazariorum, the French secular judge Claude Tholosan's treatise Ut magorum et maleficiorum errores manifesti ignorantibus fiant, and a section from Martin Le Franc's long poem Le Champion des Dames.

For each source, a scholarly edition of the original text is provided, along with a facing-page French translation (except in the case of Martin Le Franc's Champion, originally written in French). …

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