The devil's dominion : magic and religion in early New England


The devil's dominion : magic and religion in early New England

Richard Godbeer

Cambridge University Press, 1993

1st pbk.ed

  • : pbk

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 13



Based on the author's thesis, Brandeis University

Includes bibliographical references and indexes



The Devil's Dominion examines the use of folk magic by ordinary men and women in early New England. The book describes in vivid detail the magical techniques used by settlers and the assumptions which underlaid them. Godbeer argues that layfolk were generally far less consistent in their beliefs and actions than their ministers would have liked; even church members sometimes turned to magic. The Devil's Dominion reveals that the relationship between magical and religious belief was complex and ambivalent: some members of the community rejected magic altogether, but others did not. Godbeer argues that the controversy surrounding astrological prediction in early New England paralleled clerical condemnation of magical practice, and that the different perspectives on witchcraft engendered by magical tradition and Puritan doctrine often caused confusion and disagreement when New Englanders sought legal punishment of witches.


  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. 'Magical experiments': divining, healing and destroying in seventeenth-century New England
  • 2. 'The serpent that lies in the grass unseen': clerical and lay opposition to magic
  • 3. 'Entertaining Satan': sin, suffering, and countermagic
  • 4. 'Sinful curiosity': astrological discourse in early New England
  • 5. 'Insufficient grounds for conviction': witchcraft, the courts, and countermagic
  • 6. 'Rape of a whole colony': the 1692 witch-hunt
  • Epilogue
  • Appendices.

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