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The Miraculous ConformistValentine Greatrakes, the Body Politic, and the Politics of Healing in Restoration Britain$
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Peter Elmer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199663965

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663965.001.0001

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Healing, Witchcraft, and the Body Politic in Restoration Britain

Healing, Witchcraft, and the Body Politic in Restoration Britain

(p.111) 5 Healing, Witchcraft, and the Body Politic in Restoration Britain
The Miraculous Conformist

Peter Elmer

Oxford University Press

This chapter extends the analysis of Greatrakes cures to include discussion of his own peculiar explanation for the success of his cures, which he construed as a form of exorcism. Greatrakes, as described here, was something of an expert in all things demonological and had formerly played a prominent role in one of Ireland's best-documented witch trials. Similar interests permeated the thinking of many of his most committed followers. The chapter concludes by arguing, paradoxically, that belief in witchcraft at this period was characteristically invoked in order to promote religious reconciliation and unity among Anglicans and dissenters.

Keywords:   Greatrakes, Youghal, Witchcraft, demonology, preternatural, Boyle, eirenic, dissent, healing

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