|Oxford, Bodleian MS. Douce 332, Guillaume de Lorris, Roman de la Rose|
In this course, we will explore magic, witchcraft, and the demonic as understood, employed, and feared in medieval Christian and Jewish communities. Our emphasis will be on the relationship between literate and “folk” ideas and practices; intersections with formal religious practice; and forms of social control, including counter-magic, proscription, and inquisition. You can expect to gain an overview of current scholarship in the field, to develop familiarity with the primary sources and methods for interpreting them, and to engage both of these things in the construction of a substantive research paper. The course is a seminar, meaning that students will be expected to interact with the material and each other in discussion on a regular basis.
Students are expected to attend and participate in every class. If you know that you will miss class because you are sick or are away from school for an emergency, please try to let me know ahead of time, if possible, via phone or e-mail. More than three unexcused absences during the semester may result in a lower overall grade in addition to an unsatisfactory class participation grade. All reading is to be completed by Tuesday of the week in which it is assigned. Graded work for the seminar will include class participation (30%); weekly response papers (30%), and a final research paper (40%). Students will also be expected to initiate discussion on one week's reading. The class participation grade will be based on attendance, the level of your preparedness to discuss the material, your presentation to the class/discussion leading during your assigned week, and your general involvement in the seminar. Please note that students must complete all written work in order to receive a passing grade for the class.
Note: University policy is that students have the right to be excused from class for the observance of religious holidays. However, it is your responsibility to notify faculty ahead of time and to arrange to make up any work you might miss. If you plan to miss class for this reason, you must let me know at the beginning of the semester.
All students should familiarize themselves with the Boston University Undergraduate Academic Conduct Code or College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Academic Conduct Code as appropriate and adhere to it. Please see also my plagiarism policy.
Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters, eds., Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History, 2nd ed. revised by Edward Peters (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). pbk ISBN 9780812217513
Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion, Forward by Moshe Idel (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). pbk ISBN 9780812218626
Ivan Marcus, Rituals of Childhood: Jewish Acculturation in Medieval Europe (Yale University Press, 1998). pbk ISBN 978-0300076585
Michael Bailey, Battling Demons: Witchcraft, Heresy, and Reform in the Late Middle Ages (Penn State Press, 2003). pbk ISBN 978-0271022260
Peter A. Morton, ed., and Barbara Dahms, trans., The Trial of Tempel Anneke: Records of a Witchcraft Trial in Brunswick, Germany, 1663 (University of Toronto Press, 2005). pbk ISBN 978-1551117065
Carlo Ginzburg, Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). pbk ISBN 978-0801843860
Copies of required books will be held on 24 hour reserve in Mugar Library.
Bengt Ankerloo and Stuart Clark, eds., Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002). pbk ISBN 978-0812217865
I will not be assigning readings from this book, but it is a great reference if you are looking for a concise summary of the issues and historiography.
A number of readings are available in pdf format on the Blackboard site or linked directly to the course syllabus. Please bring all readings to class on both Tuesday and Thursday each week. You may either print out web/Blackboard readings or bring your laptop/ipad/tablet to class.
Response Papers: Students will be asked to write weekly 1- to 2-page response papers, due in class each Tuesday. Students may opt out of this assignment any two weeks of the semester (i.e., you will write ten responses over the course of the semester). Each response will be worth a possible 10 points for a total of 100 points over the course of the semester.
Final Paper: Students will write a final research paper on a topic of their own choosing. Undergraduate papers should be 12-15 pages long, graduate papers should be 15-20 pages long. Guidelines may be found below.
Discussion Leading: There is a sign up sheet on the Blackboard Assignment Page for discussion leading. Take a look and choose a week that works for you in terms of topic, schedule, or both. By 11 PM Monday night of the week you are on, you should post a brief paragraph highlighting some of your thoughts on the document(s), book, or article on which you'll be leading discussion, including several questions for classmates to ponder. In class, you will give a presentation of no more than 10 minutes and will be given the opportunity to manage discussion. Feel free to contribute graphics, timelines, etc.
Gideon Bohak, Ancient Jewish Magic, 8-69 [Blackboard]; Selections from the Gospel According to Mark, Acts of the Apostles
Gideon Bohak, Ancient Jewish Magic, 351-434 [Blackboard]; Michael Morgan, trans., Sepher Ha-Razim, pp.17-59 [Blackboard]; Edward Peters, Witchcraft in Europe, pp. 41-57; Apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul
Karen Jolly, Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context, pp. 1-34; 97-174 [Blackboard]; Gregory the Great on mission to the English
Joshua Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition, pp.ix- xxx; 1-77; 145-180
Sep 29: We will not meet (Rosh Hashanah)
Trachtenberg, Jewish Magic and Superstition, pp. 184-190; Elisheva Baumgarten, Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe, pp. 43-49; 117-118 [Blackboard]; Ivan Marcus, Rituals of Childhood
Moshe Idel, Golem: Jewish Magical and Mystical Traditions on the Divine Anthropoid, pp. 1-43; pp. 47-95; 165-195 [Blackboard]
Edward Peters, Witchcraft in Europe, pp. 58-86; 103-105; 112-132; 139-148; Depictions of magic and witchcraft in trial records
Oct 22: We will not meet; students should arrange individual meetings on research papers this week
Michael Bailey, Battling Demons
Nov 1: Research Paper Proposals Due in Class
Peters, Witchcraft in Europe, 176-229
Peter A. Morton, Ed. and Barbara Dahms, trans., The Trial of Tempel Anneke: Records of a Witchcraft Trial in Brunswick, Germany, 1663
Carlo Ginzburg, Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Nov 22: Annotated Bibliographies Due in Class
Nov 24: Thanksgiving--have a good break!
Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, pp. 641-663 [Blackboard]; Michael Bailey, "The Age of Magicians: Periodization in the History of European Magic," Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, Vol. 3 (2008), pp. 1-28 [Blackboard]; Edward Peters, Witchcraft in Europe, pp. 392-448, docs 61; 62; 64; 65; 66; 69 (and their introductions) only
Thursday, Dec 15: Final Papers Due. Submit to Blackboard dropbox by 11:59 PM