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Witchcraft and its Transformations c.1650–c.1750$
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Ian Bostridge

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206538.001.0001

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Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes

Chapter:
(p.38) 2 Thomas Hobbes
Source:
Witchcraft and its Transformations c.1650–c.1750
Author(s):

Ian Bostridge

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206538.003.0003

This chapter examines Thomas Hobbes’ views on witchcraft. In the second chapter of his Leviathan he made an apparently fleeting reference to the subject of witchcraft. Another well-known Hobbesian dictum on witchcraft was recorded by Margaret Cavendish from Hobbes’ conservation with her husband, Duke William Cavendish. This chapter suggests that Hobbes’ opinion on witchcraft involved the tension between rational belief and empirical procedures. However, he maintained witchcraft as a crime, one of rebellion joined with malice.

Keywords:   Thomas Hobbes, witchcraft, Margaret Cavendish, rational belief, rebellion, crime

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