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Fearful Spirits, Reasoned Follies – The Boundaries of Superstition in Late Medieval Europe - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Fearful Spirits, Reasoned Follies: The Boundaries of Superstition in Late Medieval Europe

Michael D. Bailey

Abstract

Superstitions are commonplace in the modern world. Mostly, however, they evoke innocuous images of people reading their horoscopes or avoiding black cats. Certain religious practices might also come to mind—praying to St. Christopher or lighting candles for the dead. In medieval Europe superstitions were considered serious offenses, violations of essential precepts of Christian doctrine or immutable natural laws. This book explores the concept of superstition as it was understood and debated in the Middle Ages. It traces Christian thinking about superstition from the patristic period through t ... More

Keywords: superstitions, medieval Europe, Middle Ages, Christianity, superstitious beliefs, superstitious practices, ritual magic, healing charms, European modernity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780801451447
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801451447.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael D. Bailey, author
Associate Professor of History, Iowa State University