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An island hunted by demons: the controversy between John Webster and Joseph Glanvill and the philosophic and religious unfolding of demonology in Restoration England (1660-1680)

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Bruno Galeano de Oliveira Goncalves
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Laura de Mello e Souza; Modesto Florenzano; Renato de Andrade Lessa
Advisor: Laura de Mello e Souza

From the controversy between John Webster (1610-1682) e Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680) about witchcraft as diabolical pact it is proposed to comprehend in some sort the meaning that demonology could acquire in Restoration England and to relate the polemics of both to the decline of the witches\' persecution. Demonology is understood as a controversial literature endowed of cognitive and social dimensions and dedicated to the preternatural, that is, to events that would be in the border between natural and supernatural. The works of demonology would appropriate in a eclectic way the arguments, theories and episodes from different sources and would organize them into some essential topics. Demonology was related to different places, times and fields of knowledge, specially to natural philosophy and theology. Keeping that in mind, Webster\'s and Glanvill demonology treatises, The displaying of supposed witchcraft (1677) and Saducismus triumphatus (1688), were studied in parallel, put in conflict, related to other works of the authors, associated with the demonological controversies and with the intellectual and historical context. The controversy between Webster and Glanvill showed that demonology presented itself as a manner of defending philosophical and religious compromises that were related to the rise of modern science and religious diversity in England. However, despite this flexibility, demonology declined as skepticism of the authorities about the crime of witchcraft advanced and the experience was turn into experimentation. The end of the witch trials made impossible for demonology to adapt to more strict, and unreachable, requirements of evidence. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 09/04573-0 - An island haunted by demons and illusions: religious and cientific controversies in english demonology (1650s-1730s)
Grantee:Bruno Galeano de Oliveira Gonçalves
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master