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date: 22 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the role played by medicine and the medical sciences in shaping and making sense of early modern witchcraft. It suggests that despite the interest of members of the healing arts in witchcraft and their engagement in both practical and theoretical aspects of the subject, major historical studies of the relationship between medicine and witchcraft are thin on the ground. There have been few case studies of individual physicians in this respect and only fleeting accounts of the attitude of medical practitioners as a whole to the phenomenon of witchcraft. The answer to this may lie in the tendency of historians to conflate the contribution of doctors to the witchcraft debate with that of scientists or natural philosophers given that the former, particularly those trained at universities, frequently shared a similar education and approach to nature and were themselves often to be found at the forefront of scientific advance in the early modern period.

Keywords: witchcraft, medicine, medical sciences

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