The last thirty years has seen a burgeoning of studies on the problem of witchcraft in early modern Europe. At least in part, though, these witch persecutions were a consequence of a more general preoccupation with the Devil evident in Europe from the early fifteenth century. From this point forth, the Devil and his minions were popularly ascribed a new potency in the natural world, and assumed a new immediacy in European social, political and religious affairs.
“The Devil in Society in the Premodern World” to be held at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies (Toronto) brings together 94 scholars from 16 different countries and an array of disciplinary backgrounds to present their findings on the origins, nature and consequences of this new obsession with the world of the Devil. Particularly, speakers will probe these issues by examining important questions relating to the changing place of the Devil in theology and spirituality, art and literature, science and medicine, gender relations, Europe’s relationship with the wider world, constructions of morality and sin, and in notions of comedy.
Keynote speakers include: Audrey Meaney (Cambridge Univ.) and Richard Kieckhefer ((Northwestern University)
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