online exhibition

rare book library



theology & witchcraft

The impact of theological writings on the development of the modern mind should not be underestimated. Indeed there was a rich interplay between theology and natural philosophy and theology and philosophy. (See for instance the works by Baxter and Stillingfleet.) There was also a diversity of styles in theological writings, from systematic theological treatises such as those of John Owen to sermons, from ecclesiastical histories to polemical diatribes.

This section displays a broad cross-section of theological works including those of the leading English Puritans, one of the leading Biblical scholars of the 17th century, James Ussher, and some of the leading controversialists such as Stillingfleet. Another feature of early modern life was the controversy over witchcraft. The Rare Book Library has substantial holdings in witchcraft literature from the period and only a small sample of the most central works is on display here. They include accounts of witch trials, defences of the phenomenon of witchcraft and attacks on those who believe in the witches, such as Samuel Butler's Hudibras.

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