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The Encyclopedia Of Witchcraft & Demonology Hardcover – November 30, 1988


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Bonanza Books; 1st thus edition. edition (November 30, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517362457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517362457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.4 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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I do of course have an autographed copy of this book!
Elizabeth A Triano
This book is perhaps the most important reference work in its field.
juha@basware.fi
I first read this rare book,in 1988,during high school.
Magickal Merlin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Matthew S. Schweitzer on December 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Rossell Hope Robbins massive 1959 work "Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology" has been reprinted many times but is currently out-of-print. It is indeed a fascinatingly horrible compenidum of information regarding witches, demons, devils, demonologists, inquisitors, judges, hysterias, torture, and murder. It has served for the past 40 odd years as one of the most read and referenced work on the history of witchcraft and demonology, especially by many popular witchcraft authors and historians who continue to use and cite the work today.
The trouble is that much of the scholarship contatined in this work is sadly outdated and lacks information on much of the recent work done in the field of witchcraft studies in the past 20 years. Also, Robbins' work suffers from the same problem that afflicted many other similar early witchcraft histories: bad translations and historical forgeries. It has been shown that many of the early translations of a number of Latin works on witchcraft (particularly those translated by the Rev. Montague Summers) are suspect. Also, several 19th century histories of the witchcraze and the Inquisition that have been used as source material by countless authors, including Robbins, have been proven to be forgeries, particularly the works relating the early 14th century Inquisitorial witch executions in France. Robbins' work has also been criticized by scholars for its lack of objectivity in its history. But this work still remains popular today and understandably so, as it contains many lurid and engaging articles on just about every aspect of the witch hunts from the 15th to the 18th century in Europe and North America. Despite many of its flaws, it is still a useful reference and for that reason it still gets 3 stars, plus I must admit, it maintains some of the mysterious aura surrounding the history of witches and demons that much recent scholarship has tried to dispel, and that makes it fascinating reading, if for the wrong reasons.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By juha@basware.fi on September 24, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book is perhaps the most important reference work in its field. If you have interest in the occult, witchcraft or details not much mentioned in standard history books, I urge you to buy this one. Although its author relies a bit too heavily on documents of the time, the information given in this book is valuable. Also, there is a passage about witchcraft in specific countries, so you might also find out something about your home country that no one bothered to tell you. Read this book, and I can almost guarantee that you'll see the last four centuries in quite a new light.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Syrinx Nailo on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This piece is very informative and gives a graphic representation through illustration & word into the world of Witches, Demons and Sorcerers and their Present Day Counterparts. Not intended for the "Fluffy Bunnies" or the "Charmed Wanna-bes".
Although not as complete as it could be, and biased somewhat as the sources it is drawn from are not all "Witch, Demonoligist, Sorcerer-& their viewpoint related", this is still hands down one I would recommend to any "must have" list.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Ole Bentsen on July 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A long time ago I (by accident) saw this book carried by Terry Gilliam in the 'Spanish Inquisition' sketch by Monty Python. You can spot it under his arm as he gets up from his seat in the bus at the end. Realizing that this has very little do to with the actual review of this book, it nonetheless will tell you that I recognized the cover of the book when walking around in an old bookstore in Boston, grabbed it, and within 2 minutes of reading and skimming I decided that it was worth the $18.00 it cost. It was probably one of the best bargains I ever found, and opened my eyes tremendously.
As the title implies we're talking about an encyclopedia, not a detailed and chronological book, but this did not hamper the book's ability to get inside my head, and touch it in a way that redefined the medieval picture I carried around with me. After spending a few hours going through the book, and picking out specific passages, I realized that I knew nothing about how people were treated not THAT long ago, when someone else accused them of witchcraft, and how hard (impossible) it was to prove ones innocence. A story in the encyclopedia tells of how a woman, owning a black cat was hanged, accused of witchcraft, for 'making' her neighbour's tea taste bad.
If you wish to have just some idea of how impossible it was to prove your innocence, once you were thought a witch, Luc Besson's 'Messenger: Joan of Arc', and the Blackadder episode 'Witchsmeller Pursouivant' will give you an idea of the hopelessness some of the accused must've felt.
The most horrible aspect of the book is the descriptions of how people were tortured back in those days. The only thing we can do is learn from books such as these to insure that such stupidity and ignorance won't be allowed to occur again.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Theo on August 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for an occult primer, look elsewhere. What we have here is an exhaustive history of the witchcraft panic that raged from the medieval period through to surprisingly late in the modern age. While this book is primarily European in orientation, it provides a great deal of information on American phenomena such as the Salem witch trials as well.

As the title suggests, this history is presented in encyclopaedia form: that is, as an alphabetically organized series of entries. However, it does actually provide quite a readable introduction to the field with which it is concerned in a way that most encyclopaedias do not. This is partly because there is a very extensive introduction, and many entries that are themselves quite lengthy. But mostly it's just because the author is a gifted and engaging writer.

Originally published in 1959, this is a book that unfortunately seems to teach truly timeless lessons about humanity. Anyone familiar with the Satanic panic of the 1980s will recognize a great deal in this volume. Substitute "recovered memory" for "spectral evidence" and we're very nearly right back where we started.

Finally, I'd like to add that this book includes more than a few compelling works of art within its pages. While these are printed solely in black and white (which was not always the case with the originals), and are often anachronistic to the accompanying text, they are quite captivating in their own right nonetheless.

If you are at all interested in the witchcraft panic, medieval and renaissance societies and their legal systems, or moral panics in general, this is a book that will find a welcome place on your shelf for many years to come.

Theo.
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