Current Issue Abstracts
Volume 17, Number 3, Winter 2022
This article discusses the emergence of demonological elements in specific cases in the Trial of the knights Templar between 1307 and 1312. It focuses on the elements of demonic sexuality, and the Devil's appearance in an animal form, both forerunners of the later Witches' Sabbath imagery. I argue that although these elements were not a complete novelty to medieval heresiological thought and inquisitorial practice, with the Trial of the Templars, they were considerably elaborated. Importantly, these motifs did not constitute a firm and integral part of the early fourteenth century inquisitorial thought about heresy; they appeared in a very limited number of recorded depositions of the Templars, produced under unusual circumstances. In these extraordinary cases, I show that unexperienced investigators deviated from the standard reservoir of heresiological knowledge, combining it with information from different kinds of sources about the possibilities of demonic activity. This should be considered an important pattern in the transformation of late Medieval thought about heresy into the theory of diabolical Witchcraft.
This article explores the use of food as an essential fictional trigger of time-bending enchantments in two Iberian exempla from frametale narratives—Don Juan Manuel's Castilian fourteenth-century El Conde Lucanor and Isaac Ibn Sahula's Hebrew thirteenth-century Mešal Haqadmonī (a possible source for Don Juan Manuel).. In both "Exenplo XI" and "The Crow's Story" a knowledgeable student seeks out a teacher adept in the magical arts. The students are hospitably greeted by their prospective teachers and either offered or promised a certain food item—roasted partridges or wine—before they descend into a subterranean space unknowingly entering an illusionary reality meant to test their moral fiber. This article compares the use of food in the two stories and illuminates the particularity of the differences connected to the cultural complex of partridges.
During the nineteenth century, America was entranced by the new religious movement known as spiritualism—the practice of communicating with spirits of the dead through mediums. This article examines how spiritualist newspapers that advocated for the abolition of slavery and other reforms managed to voice support for John Brown and his legendary 1859 raid at Harper's Ferry while also maintaining their commitment to non-violence. The spiritualist movement necessarily had a divided view of Brown (most of the press admired him for his cause even if they disliked his methods), but they were not unwilling to pass on the words of his spirit. I show that the spiritualist press represented his spirit (post-mortem) in ways politically useful but antithetical to how he lived his life.
MATERIA MAGICA: SOURCES AND MATERIALS OF MAGICAL CULTURES
Global Tantra: Religion, Science, and Nationalism in Colonial Modernity by Julian Strube (review)
Mattering the Invisible: Technologies, Bodies, and the Realm of the Spectral ed. by Diana Espírito Santo and Jack Hunter (review)
Secrecy: Silence, Power, and Religion by Hugh B. Urban (review)
Reformation, Revolution, Renovation: The Roots and Reception of the Rosicrucian Call for General Reform by Lyke de Vries (review)
William Lethaby, Symbolism and the Occult by Amandeep Kaur Mann (review)
Zachary R. Schwarze
High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies by Erik Davis (review)
Poisoned Wells: Accusations, Persecution, and Minorities in Medieval Europe, 1321–1422 by Tzafrir Barzilay (review)