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Magic And The Body

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that early modern magic expressed the interconnectedness of the body physical and the body social. This embodiment assigned cultural meanings to somatic states; for example illness could be caused by witchcraft and cured by healing magic. The relationship between the behaviour of ?immoral? people and the somatic experience of illness has been so far best researched in the field of sexual immorality and the chapter briefly focuses on this before moving back to the witchcraft trials. In the eighteenth century, the body was not restricted to its physicality as in our modern medical understanding, but instead represented the broader social self. The chapter argues that this understanding of the somatic provides us with a new perspective on witchcraft and magical practices. Finally, it argues that all body fluids were suitable for use in magical practices.

Keywords: body fluids; early modern magic; healing magic; illness; immoral people; sexual immorality; social self; somatic states; witchcraft trials



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