HISTORIA NOTURNA CARLO GINZBURG PDF

Having read Ginzburg before, I bought this with some disappointed expectation of delving more deeply into European witchcraft. Indeed, the author does begin with an examination of the phenomenon, but most of the books travels far afield from its starting point. Still, the starting point--getting at the beliefs of those accused of witchcraft themselves--is interesting. Most studies of witchcraft have focused on the record, records kept by inquisitors and persecutors, treating the accused either as poor, deluded individuals or as practitioners of pre-Christian religions a thesis commonly identified with Margaret Murray.

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Having read Ginzburg before, I bought this with some disappointed expectation of delving more deeply into European witchcraft. Indeed, the author does begin with an examination of the phenomenon, but most of the books travels far afield from its starting point. Still, the starting point--getting at the beliefs of those accused of witchcraft themselves--is interesting. Most studies of witchcraft have focused on the record, records kept by inquisitors and persecutors, treating the accused either as poor, deluded individuals or as practitioners of pre-Christian religions a thesis commonly identified with Margaret Murray.

Ginzburg, however, believes that by separating out of the record assertions not fitting the expectations of the persecuting authorities one can approach some sense of what the "witches" themselves believed. To some extent, in the first couple of chapters, he does just this, but this just provides a point from which he can cast his net--widely. Again and again the text comes back to questions of transmission.

Do the common beliefs he treats result from diffusion, from derivation from a common source or "from structural characteristics of the human mind" p. Insofar as he comes down to any side, he tends toward the second alternative, supplemented by diffusion and common sociological factors such as gender roles. The Jungian hypothesis of a collective unconscious is dismissed not so much for being false as for being inherently vague and undemonstrable. One sideline of his argument, the notion that the use of naturally occurring psychedelic agents was common an hypothesis which might lend some weight to the Jungian , is only treated briefly and inconclusively at the very end of the text.

Although I was mightily impressed by the scholarship embodied in this book and in its copious notes, I was ultimately left unsatisfied.

The shamanistic argument is an old and familiar one, itself open to accusations of nebulous vagueness. In the end this book is most valuable as a somewhat rambling case study of how such research into origins might proceed and what considerations ought accompany such. Ginzburg sure makes a goddamn good argument for it. To his credit, though, even when he spirals down rabbit-holes of morphology and metaphor and symbol, which largely prove his thesis right, at least incidentally, he still has the verve to pull back from catechizing his own thesis.

This book should fascinate pretty Does much of European apprehensions and lore about the supernatural derive from a remote Eurasian substratum of possibly shamanic beliefs and rites, dating back to Paleolithic times? This book should fascinate pretty much everybody. The skinny: stuff like witches, sabbaths, shapeshifting, hell, even freaking Cinderella, all manifest commonly across much of Eurasia and in early modern times, during witch interrogations and the inquisition some tantalizing little nuances in testimony give a window into a long world, vanished but extant if only literally in dreams.

How do benandanti of the Friuli and Livonian werewolves have the same experience battling evil sorcerers and sorceresses for the fertility of their crops come together? What is the connection of "the good folk", followers of a nocturnal goddess who, if unblindfolded will basically destroy the world with all sorts of other good folk, faeries, sprites, Thor, Oedipus, and shit as far afield as China!?! If you want to know the answers to those things, this is probably the book for you.

Insane and endlessly fascinating. His argument is strongest when confined to Europe and interpreting Roman- and Medieval-era texts. When he moves eastward, however, he lost me a bit, and I found Part 3, Chapter 2, "Skin and Bones" difficult to follow. Fancy stuff.

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Vimi Similar authors to follow Again another percepective of witchcraft, but this time through the eyes of those being accused. This page was last edited on 20 Novemberat May 22, Ari Eris rated it hkstoria it. Jean Pierre Riouxp. This book should fascinate pretty much everybody.

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