Heresy and magic in Early Modern Europe

This course explores some of the most prevalent, radical and dangerous ideas in early modern Europe: heretical and occult beliefs. Among the topics we study are demonic and angelic magic, astrology, mysticism, pornography, and the Inquisition. The course uses historical, literary, sociological and psychological approaches to discuss a variety of texts and images. 

Indicative class topics  

  • Introduction to mentalities and early modern society - the Bible and scriptural scholarship; prophecy and millenarian beliefs 
  • Hermeticism and the ancient wisdom - the belief in a tradition of esoteric and occult knowledge
  • Demons and the Devil - demonic possession,  witchcraft and black magic
  • Angels - angelology and angel magic
  • Astrology and alchemy
  • Mysticism - Jewish Cabbala, numerology and mathematics
  • Sex and pornography 
  • Inquisitions - the Spanish and Roman inquisitions
  • Sects and heresies in early modern England
  • Conclusion. 

15 credits at level 4

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First class: Wed 25-Apr-18 11am-1pm

Class location Central London
Class code SSHC441H4AAA

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