Medieval Magic

Sophie Page, Catherine Rider. The Routledge History of Medieval Magic. Routledge. (1 Feb. 2018)
In recent decades scholars have paid increasingly serious attention to the issue of magic in the medieval period. Moving beyond simplistic notions of witchcraft and supernatural folklore, this Research Companion provides an up-to-date assessment and overview of the latest academic research. Contributions from leading historians of medieval magic demonstrate that a wide range of people were engaged in magical activities from all groups in society, and that a great variety of magical texts were in circulation. Many of these texts have now been edited and recent scholarship has focused on the often sophisticated ways in which their authors, practitioners and critics engaged with religious concerns and ideas about the cosmos.

Current historiography has also increased our understanding of the routes by which Arabic, Hebrew and Greek magic texts entered the Latin West and were disseminated, and this important subject is also addressed in the volume, helping illuminate the relationship between learned magic and witchcraft trials, and explaining why positive attitudes to magic co-existed with the persecution of magical practitioners at the end of the Middle Ages. This volume provides both an overview of the current state of scholarship into medieval magic, and a springboard for further research. It will prove an invaluable resource to anyone wishing to better understand the middle ages generally, and the place of magic within it more specifically.