DE LA DEMONOMANIE DES SORCIERS.

(Paris: Jacques du Puys, 1580). 229 x 152 mm. (9 x 6"). 14 p.l., 252 leaves. FIRST EDITION.

19th century brown calf, covers gilt with single fillet border and central arabesque, raised bands flanked by gilt rules, spine panels with gilt floral ornament, gilt titling. With woodcut printer's device to title page. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of F. Renard; title page with ink notation dated 1609 and ink library stamp. Caillet 1269; Yve-Plessis 843. Spine and head of rear board lightly sunned, joints a little worn, extremities a bit rubbed, leaves a shade less than bright, isolated minor foxing or rust spots, occasional wormholes in gutter margin (not affecting text), other trivial imperfections, but still an excellent copy, generally clean and fresh with ample margins.

Reflecting the author's strong need to protect society from sorcery, this is the first appearance of a manual for judges in witchcraft trials and a landmark work notable for its particularly hard-line support of the prosecution and persecution of witches. French jurist Jean Bodin (1529-96) was highly educated in the humanist tradition, and his works on political philosophy and economics were much respected and highly influential--which makes his belief in witchcraft and strong support of witch hunting all the more puzzling and lamentable. As judge in numerous witch trials, Bodin formulated one of the earliest legal definitions of a witch: "one who knowing God's law tries to bring about some act through an agreement with the Devil." Robbins describes him as "an unmitigated bigot" who did not shrink from torturing women, children, or invalids in order to obtain confessions. According to Bodin, normal protections afforded criminal defendants must be dispensed with, as "not one out of a million witches would be accused or punished, if regular legal procedure were followed." Death by burning was the appropriate punishment, and any judge who did not impose a sentence of death on a sorcerer should, in Bodin's view, be put to death himself. Because of his prominence as a scholar, Bodin's writings on witchcraft were persuasive at a time when skepticism about the supernatural was on the rise, and "Demonomanie" had appeared in 20 editions in four languages by 1600. Our sought-after first printing is uncommon in the appealing condition seen here.
(ST12781e)

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PJP Catalog: CA20BF.086

DE LA DEMONOMANIE DES SORCIERS. WITCHCRAFT, JEAN BODIN.
DE LA DEMONOMANIE DES SORCIERS.

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