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5 Bodin’s Reception of Johann Weyer in De la Démonomanie des Sorciers

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Chapter Summary

Scholarly assessments of Jean Bodin's reception of Johann Weyer's work have focused primarily on the Réfutation des opinions de Jean Wier, appended to the four books of De la Démonomanie des sorciers just before the work went to press. This reception consists of his unspoken debt to De praestigiis daemonum for documentation of possession as well as his ad hominem attack on Weyer and refutation of his witchcraft hypothesis. Weyer emerges as perhaps the most significant and certainly the most ambivalent contemporary authority in Bodin's De la Démonomanie des sorciers. Weyer's impressive compendium served as a key source sometimes acknowledged, but mostly undisclosed for a number of anecdotes used to give weight to Bodin's claim that the devil was indeed at work in the world. Bodin took a number of anecdotes in Book IV of De praestigiis daemonum, which he apparently read very carefully.

Keywords: De la Démonomanie des sorciers; Jean Bodin's reception; Johann Weyer



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