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Salem possessed the social origins of witchcraft thesis

Additional Information In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: The criticalreviewercouldreadilyaddto thislistof complaints. If thisbookisa sampleof whatjournalistscando whenthey turn their talentsto the writingof politicalhistory,professional historians haveno competitionto fear. The authorsuseimpressively richdemographic detailto supportthethesis thatthe witchtrialsare bestexplainedassymptoms of typicalsocialtensionsin provincial townsatthetime. According to BoyerandNissenbaum, Salemvillagers playedroles determinedbyeconomic, geographic, andstatus interests.

In the firstthe authorsprovideprofilesin remarkable detailofboththepro-Parris factioninSalemVillageandtheopposing group. Boyer andNissenbaum argueconvincingly thatsupporters of the witchtrialsusuallywere membersof the pro-Parrisfaction.

  • To the eighteenth century;
  • Their analysis provides an invaluable insight into the social history of New England generally, and the factions of Salem Village that led to the tragic events of 1692, in particular;
  • Their handling of economic, familial, and spatial relationships within Salem Village is both sophisticated and imaginative;
  • Through such a reconstruction of the factional village of Salem, Boyer and Nissenbaum explain the Salem witchcraft episode from within the larger history of the transformation to a modern capitalist society, and the divisions and conflicts that naturally arose from this change;
  • All of his major articles andessays arepresented;
  • In opposition to the Putnam faction, the Porters opposed the minister and wanted greater association with the town of Salem.

More importantly,they demonstratethat both pro- and anti-Parrisfactionsweredirectcontinuations of long-standing divisions in thecommunity. Eventheauthors' treatmentoftheapparentrefutationoftheirthesis - mostof thoseaccusedof witchcraft were not leadersof the anti-Parisfaction the 'obvious' targets - restson a carefulappreciation of the wayin whichthe high incidence of prior upwardor downwardsocial mobilityof theaccused wasindicative of potentialconflictwiththeir accusers.

In thesecond partof thebooktheauthorsadmitandthenattempttoexplainhow Salemwitchcraft wasnotdetermined entirelybymaterialfactors thataffectedallof New England.

  • The same villagers who stood with the Putnams to support Parris and petition for an independent church for the village, show up as complaints on witchcraft indictments in 1692;
  • Adair'sconcern[br ideas,especially thoserelatingto politicalmotivation,illuminated numerousinsightsregardingthe emergenceof early republicanideology;
  • Adair'sconcern[br ideas,especially thoserelatingto politicalmotivation,illuminated numerousinsightsregardingthe emergenceof early republicanideology;
  • New York Review of Books A large achievement.

But in confessing to the unique featuresof Salemwitchcraft,the authorssuggest that it isonlythe frequencywith whichtypicalsocialtensions were resolved by extrememeasures suchashangings that isunusual. To explainSalem Village'satypicality, the authorsacknowledge the needto shift to the methodsof literatureandreligious history.

Forexample,theyarguethatsince ministerial leadership did notsucceed incalming the frenzy, the outburstswere not therefore the lastgaspof mediaevalwitchcraft theirargumentin asserting SalemVillage's typicality butinstead theearliest of the revivalsthatclimaxedasa 'greatawakening' a generationlater.

The authorsassert thatthereasonfor thisearly'revival's' bizarreform issimplythatReverendSamuel Parrisimpartedhiseccentric style ofleadership toit. Similarly theauthors notethat the magistrates' odd willingness to admitevidence that by modernlegalstandards would be consideredspecious was simplyan attempt 'to fit this ancient crime [witchcraft] into a rational intellectual framework.

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Samuel Parris is forcedbytheauthorstobe'ultimatelyarepresentative manof histime. During his productivelife he wrote numerousarticlesthat havebeen and still are widely reprintedin avarietyof collections andquotedin allrecentmonographs. The value ofthepresent collection rests withincorporating allofthemoreimportantpreviously published articles, plustwounpublished, intoahandsomely presented commemorativevolumededicated toatruly seminal mind.

Adair'sconcern[br ideas,especially thoserelatingto politicalmotivation,illuminated numerousinsightsregardingthe emergenceof early republicanideology.

Salem possessed : the social origins of witchcraft

Never parochialor provincial,he wasintrigued by the rhetoricinherited by the revolutionary war erafrom Britishliberalthought Turner, Rossiter, and Boorstin notwithstanding and stressed the continuityof ideasin the westernintellectual heritagewhileappreciating, betterthanmost,theirpragmatic adaptation byahandful ofextremely giftedtechnicians.

There isnotafirst-rate monograph covering this period in whichAdair's name doesnot appear in numerouscitations. There is a personal ironyto all of thisfor, asTrevor Colbournindicates in the Introduction, Adair neverpublished a majorfull-lengthbookandatleastononeinstance felt that 'theworldof scholarship, asyouknow,ratesonemediocre monograph asmoreof a scholarlyachievement than a dozenbrilliant articles.

  1. The authors reveal a complex set of relationships between persons allied with the growing mercantile interests of Salem Town and those linked to the subsistence-based economy of outlying Salem Village.
  2. After the publication of Salem Possessed, however, we could use such a rehearsal.
  3. The authorsassert thatthereasonfor thisearly'revival's' bizarreform issimplythatReverendSamuel Parrisimpartedhiseccentric style ofleadership toit.
  4. Adair'sconcern[br ideas,especially thoserelatingto politicalmotivation,illuminated numerousinsightsregardingthe emergenceof early republicanideology. According to Boyer and Nissenbaum, the village split into two factions.

It documents thesource from whichBailyn,Wood,Colbourn,tonamebutafew,received somuchinspiration. Nevertheless, Adair speaksfor Adair and that iswhat counts. All of his major articles andessays arepresented: If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click 'Authenticate'.

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  1. There isnotafirst-rate monograph covering this period in whichAdair's name doesnot appear in numerouscitations.
  2. Forexample,theyarguethatsince ministerial leadership did notsucceed incalming the frenzy, the outburstswere not therefore the lastgaspof mediaevalwitchcraft theirargumentin asserting SalemVillage's typicality butinstead theearliest of the revivalsthatclimaxedasa 'greatawakening' a generationlater.
  3. In their reconstruction of the socio-economic conditions that contributed to the intense factionalism in Salem Village, Boyer and Nissenbaum have made a major contribution to the social history of colonial New England… [They] have provided us with a first-rate discussion of factionalism in a seventeenth-century New England community. More importantly,they demonstratethat both pro- and anti-Parrisfactionsweredirectcontinuations of long-standing divisions in thecommunity.
  4. Similarly theauthors notethat the magistrates' odd willingness to admitevidence that by modernlegalstandards would be consideredspecious was simplyan attempt 'to fit this ancient crime [witchcraft] into a rational intellectual framework. The stark immediacy of what happened in 1692 has obscured the complex web of human passion which had been growing for more than a generation before building toward the climactic witch trials.

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