Tag Archives: repression

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages

Witchcraft in the Middle Ages by Jeffrey Burton Russell, the 1992 fourth printing paperback from Cornell University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jeffrey Burton Russell Witchcraft in the Middle Ages from Cornell University Press

“All the known theories and incidents of witchcraft in Western Europe from the fifth to the fifteenth century are brilliantly set forth in this engaging and comprehensive history. Building on a foundation of newly discovered primary sources and recent secondary interpretations, Professor Russell first establishes the facts and then explains the phenomenon of witchcraft in terms of its social and religious environment, particularly in relation to medieval heresies. He treats European witchcraft as a product of Christianity, grounded in heresy more than in the magic and sorcery that have existed in other societies. Skillfully blending narration with analysis, he shows how social and religious changes nourished the spread of witchcraft until large portions of medieval Europe were in its grip—’from the most illiterate peasant to the most skilled philosopher or scientist.’ A significant chapter in the history of ideas and their repression is illuminated by this book. Our growing fascination with the occult gives the author’s affirmation that witchcraft arises at times and in areas afflicted with social tensions a special quality of immediacy.” [via]


Pax Hominibus Bonae Voluntatis by Aleister Crowley in International, Dec 1917.

“The idea of resisting repression is a totally wrong one. Christ submitted willingly to what is generally admitted to be the greatest crime ever perpetrated, although, as he himself explained, he had twelve legions of angels actually mobilized, which would have made as short work of the Romans as the angels of Mons did of the Germans in the early part of the war.” [via]