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Witchcraft and its Transformations c.1650–c.1750$
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Ian Bostridge

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206538.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 September 2021

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes

(p.38) 2 Thomas Hobbes
Witchcraft and its Transformations c.1650–c.1750

Ian Bostridge

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Thomas Hobbes’ views on witchcraft. In the second chapter of his Leviathan he made an apparently fleeting reference to the subject of witchcraft. Another well-known Hobbesian dictum on witchcraft was recorded by Margaret Cavendish from Hobbes’ conservation with her husband, Duke William Cavendish. This chapter suggests that Hobbes’ opinion on witchcraft involved the tension between rational belief and empirical procedures. However, he maintained witchcraft as a crime, one of rebellion joined with malice.

Keywords:   Thomas Hobbes, witchcraft, Margaret Cavendish, rational belief, rebellion, crime

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