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Part VI - Religious and Sacred Violence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2020

Robert Antony
Guangzhou University
Stuart Carroll
University of York
Caroline Dodds Pennock
University of Sheffield
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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Bibliographic Essay

For general histories of East Asian religions see Kitagawa, Joseph Mitsuo, Religion in Japanese History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966); Lagerwey, John, China: A Religious State (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 2010); and DuBois, Thomas, Religion and the Making of Modern East Asia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011). On Neo-Confucianism see Elman, Benjamin, Duncan, John and Ooms, Herman, Rethinking Confucianism: Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002).

On the legal regulation of religion see Farmer, Edward, Zhu Yuanzhang and Early Ming Legislation: The Reordering of Chinese Society following the Era of Mongol Rule, Sinica Leidensia 34 (Leiden: Brill, 1999); Kuhn, Philip A., Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990); and McMullin, Neil, Buddhism and the State in Sixteenth Century Japan (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984).

On the development of Maitreyan millenarianism in East Asia see Sponberg, Alan and Hardacre, Helen, Maitreya, the Future Buddha (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), and for the evolution of these ideas in China, see Xisha, Ma and Huiying, Meng (eds.), Popular Religion and Shamanism, trans. Chi Zhen and Thomas David DuBois (Leiden: Brill, 2011). For studies of the White Lotus and sectarian tradition see ter, Barend Haar, , The White Lotus Teaching in Chinese Religious History (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1992) and Seiwert, Hubert Michael, Popular Religious Movements and Heterodox Sects in Chinese History (Leiden: Brill, 2003).

Ownby, David, ‘The Heaven and Earth Society as Popular Religion’, Journal of Asian Studies 54.4 (1995), 1023–46 discusses the religious orientation of Triad secret societies in China. On the outbreak of religious rebellion in mid-Qing China see Naquin, Susan’s Shantung Rebellion: The Wang Lun Uprising of 1774 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981) and Millenarian Rebellion in China: The Eight Trigrams Uprising of 1813 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976).

On the destruction of the Enryakuji and Catholics see Tsang, Carol Richmond, War and Faith: Ikkō ikki in Late Muromachi Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007), and on the suppression of Catholics see Elison, George, Deus Destroyed: The Image of Christianity in Early Modern Japan (Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press, 1973).

Bibliographic Essay

Treatments of European heresy and witchcraft changed considerably as studies exploded beginning in the 1960s. The Cathars long appeared as a well-organised heresy, but recent studies indicate the difficulty even of identifying them. Compare Lambert, Malcolm’s Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1976; Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1992) with Moore, R. I.’s The War on Heresy (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012). French scholars have shaken legends of the Cathars: see Zerner, Monique (ed.), L’histoire du catharisme en discussion: le ‘concile’ de saint-Félix, 1167 (Nice: Centre d’études médiévales: Diffusion Librairie Archéologique, 2001).

Russian heresies were not especially important; Fennell, John’s essential A History of the Russian Church to 1448 (Longman: Harlow, 1995) discusses them only briefly. The Schism of 1666 was a social and religious affair but did not engender witch trials. The low number of Russian processes finds its context in Kivelson, Valerie, Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013).

The importance of medieval books, especially the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) of Heinrich Kramer, 1486, is now downplayed in the hunts, although they sometimes played an important role. But, among others, Behringer, Wolfgang, ‘Malleus Maleficarum’, in The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition, vol. iii, ed. Golden, Richard (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006), finds that the Malleus was not crucial to the hunts. Individual witch finders remain important.

Did the persecutions have social or political ‘functions’? Behringer, , especially in Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), argues that trials aided state building. So does Levack, Brian P., The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 3rd edn (Harlow: Pearson, 2006), although with reservations. Witch hunts are tied to the silencing of women in, for example, Anderson, Bonnie S. and Zinsser, Judith P., A History of their Own, revised edn (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). But criticism of functional analyses can be found in my own The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America, revised edn (London: Pearson/Longman, 2007). Dillinger, Johannes sees the hunts as focused on unveiling evildoers, suggesting a straightforward pursuit of criminals: Evil People: A Comparative Study of Witch Hunts in Swabian Austria and the Electorate of Trier (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2009; in German 1999).

Besides Levack’s work, valuable surveys include Behringer, Wolfgang, Witches and Witch Hunts: A Global History (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004) and Briggs, Robin, Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (New York: Viking, 1996). Blauert, Andreas, Frühe Hexenverfolgungen: Ketzer-, Zauberei- und Hexenprozesse des 15. Jahrhunderts (Hamburg: Junius Verlag, 1989) is indispensable.

Studies of individual hunts, especially in Germany, continue to appear. But new work will probably not alter the present understanding of the witch hunts as highly erratic, which undercuts arguments of a systematic campaign for any reason.

Bibliographic Essay

In their rather different ways, Blok, Anton, Honour and Violence (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001), Kalyvas, Stathis N., The Logic of Violence in Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006) and Bessel, Richard, Violence: A Modern Obsession (London and New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015) offer general insights into the role of violence in communities and during civil conflict across the ages.

On the context for violence during the Reformation, there are a number of monumental works which are both chronologically and geographically wide-ranging: Pettegree, Andrew (ed.), The Reformation World (London and New York: Routledge, 2000); McCulloch, Diarmaid, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490–1700 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2003); Greengrass, Mark, Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517–1648 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2014); and Marshall, Peter (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). For a more condensed overview see the essays in Scribner, Bob, Porter, Roy and Teich, Mikuláš (eds.), The Reformation in National Context (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) and Ryrie, Alec (ed.), Palgrave Advances in the European Reformations (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). An interesting study, focusing on the displacement caused by religious turmoil, is Terpstra, Nicholas, Religious Refugees in the Early Modern World: An Alternative History of the Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

The literature on religious coexistence, tolerance and pluralism has grown exponentially in recent decades and has provided important insights for our understanding of how religious violence operated as well as how it might be appeased. See, in particular, Kaplan, Benjamin J., Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); the various essays in Grell, Ole Peter and Scribner, Bob (eds.), Tolerance and Intolerance in the European Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), Scott Dixon, C., Freist, Dagmar and Greengrass, Mark (eds.), Living with Religious Diversity in Early-Modern Europe (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009), and Safley, Thomas Max (ed.), A Companion to Multiconfessionalism in the Early Modern World (Leiden: Brill, 2011); and, for a more political science approach, Te Brake, Wayne P., Religious War and Religious Peace in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). On specific regional contexts see Cameron, Keith, Greengrass, Mark and Roberts, Penny (eds.), The Adventure of Religious Pluralism in Early Modern France (Bern: Peter Lang, 2000); Luria, Keith P., Sacred Boundaries: Religious Coexistence and Conflict in Early-Modern France (Washington, DC: University of America Press, 2005); Walsham, Alexandra, Charitable Hatred: Tolerance and Intolerance in England, 1500–1700 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006); Shagan, Ethan, The Rule of Moderation: Violence, Religion and the Politics of Restraint in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); and Lisy-Wagner, Laura and Murdock, Graeme, ‘Tolerance and Intolerance’, in Louthan, Howard and Murdock, Graeme (eds.), A Companion to the Reformation in Central Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2015).

On ritual (including apocalypticism) and its association with violence, see Muir, Edward, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Davis, Natalie Zemon, ‘The Reasons of Misrule: Youth Groups and Charivaris in Sixteenth-Century France’, Past & Present 50 (1971), 41–75, and ‘The Rites of Violence: Religious Riot in sixteenth-century France’, Past & Present 59 (1973), 51–91; Cashmere, John, ‘The Social Uses of Violence in Ritual: Charivari or Religious Persecution?’, European History Quarterly 21 (1991), 291319; Crouzet, Denis, Les Guerriers de Dieu: la violence au temps des troubles de religion (c. 1525–c. 1610), 2 vols. (Paris, 1990); the various essays in Murdock, Graeme, Roberts, Penny and Spicer, Andrew (eds.), Ritual and Violence: Natalie Zemon Davis and Early Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Michels, Georg, ‘Rituals of Violence: Retaliatory Acts by Russian and Hungarian Rebels’, Russian History 35. 3/4 (2008), 383–94, and The Violent Old Belief: an Examination of Religious Dissent On the Karelian Frontier’, Russian History 19 (1992), 203–29; Po-chia Hsia, R., ‘Münster and the Anabaptists’, in Po-chia Hsia, R. (ed.), The German People and the Reformation (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988); and Roberts, Penny, ‘Contesting Sacred Space: Burial Disputes in Sixteenth-Century France’, in Gordon, Bruce and Marshall, Peter (eds.), The Place of the Dead: Death and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 131–48. For the classic case studies see Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel Le, Le Carnaval de Romans. De la Chandeleur au Mercredi des cendres 1579–1580 (Paris: Gallimard, 1979) (translated as Carnival in Romans); Darnton, Robert, ‘Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Séverin’, in The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (London: Basic Books, 1984), pp. 79104; and Muir, Edward, Mad Blood Stirring: Vendetta and Factions in Friuli during the Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993).

On early modern iconoclasm see Crew, Phyllis Mack, Calvinist Preaching and Iconoclasm in the Netherlands, 1544–1569 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978); Carlos, M. N. Eire, War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986); Christin, Olivier, Une révolution symbolique. L’iconoclasme Huguenot et la reconstruction catholique (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1991); Duffy, Eamon, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c. 1400–c. 1580 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992); Wandel, Lee Palmer, Voracious Idols and Violent Hands: Iconoclasm in Reformation Zurich, Strasbourg and Basel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); and Spraggon, Julie, Puritan Iconoclasm in the English Civil War (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003).

The role of religion and violence has been closely studied in relation to some of the major civil conflicts of the period. What follows are only those studies that I have found most useful for this survey. On the French religious wars: Diefendorf, Barbara, ‘Prologue to a Massacre: Popular Unrest in Paris, 1557–1572’, American Historical Review 90 (1985), 1067–91; Nicholls, David, ‘The Theatre of Martyrdom in the French Reformation’, Past & Present 121 (1988), 4973; Greengrass, Mark, ‘Hidden Transcripts: Secret Histories and Personal Testimonies of Religious Violence in the French Wars of Religion’, in Levene, Mark and Roberts, Penny (eds.), The Massacre in History (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 1999); Foa, Jérémie, ‘An Unequal Apportionment: the Conflict over Space between Protestants and Catholics at the Beginning of the Was of Religion’, French History 20. 4 (2006), 369–86. On the Netherlands: Pollmann, Judith, ‘Countering the Reformation in France and the Netherlands: Clerical Leadership and Catholic Violence 1560–1585’, Past & Present 190 (2006), 83120; Kuijpers, Erika, ‘Fear, Indignation, Grief and Relief: Emotional Narratives in War Chronicles from the Netherlands (1568–1648)’, in Spinks, Jennifer and Zika, Charles (eds.), Disaster, Death and the Emotions in the Shadow of the Apocalypse, 1400–1700 (London: Routledge, 2016). On the Thirty Years War: Wilson, Peter H., Europe’s Tragedy. A History of the Thirty Years War (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2009) and Dynasty, Constitution, and Confession: The Role of Religion in the Thirty Years War’, International History Review 30. 3 (2008), 491502. On Ireland: Edwards, David, Lenihan, Pádraig and Tait, Clodagh (eds.), Age of Atrocity: Violence and Political Conflict in Early Modern Ireland (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007); and Redmond, Joan, ‘Memories of Violence and New English Identities in Early Modern Ireland’, Historical Research 89.246 (2016), 708–29.

Bibliographic Essay

Many early modern texts dealing with animals and sport are now available via open-access or subscription websites. English works such as the Book of Saint Albans (Saint Albans, 1486), Gascoigne, George’s The Noble Arte of Venerie or Hunting (London, 1575), Markham, Gervase’s Country Contentments (London, 1611; revised 1615) and Cavelarice, or the English Horseman (London, 1607), and Blome, Richard’s The Gentlemans Recreation (London, 1686) – together with continental works such as Jacques du Fouilloux’s La venerie (Poitiers, 1561), Erasmo di Valvasone’s Della Caccia (Padua [1593]), and volume i of Hans Friedrich von Fleming’s Der vollkommene teutsche Jäger (Leipzig, 1719) – may now be accessed via websites such as Early English Books Online ( and Deutsches Textarchiv (, which provide digital editions of early literary works, often in facsimile.

Secondary works on early modern hunting, both lawful and unlawful, include, for England, Thompson, E. P.’s Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act (New York: Pantheon, 1975) and Manning, Roger’s Hunters and Poachers: A Social and Cultural History of Unlawful Hunting in England, 1485–1640 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); for Germany, Rösener, Werner’s Geschichte der Jagd. Kultur, Gesellschaft und Jagdwesen im Wandel der Zeit (Düsseldorf: Artemis & Winkler, 2004) and Roth, Karl’s Geschichte des Jagd- und Forstwesens in Deutschland (Berlin, 1879); and for France, the essay collection Chasses princières dans l’Europe de la Renaissance (Paris: Actes Sud, 2007), edited by Claude d’Anthenaise. The development of firearms for hunting is traced separately in Blackmore, Howard L., Hunting Weapons from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century (London: Barry & Jenkins, 1971).

Blood sports other than hunting have also received extensive scholarly attention. Darnton, Robert’s The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (London: Basic Books, 1984) and Boehrer, Bruce’s Animal Characters: Nonhuman Beings in Early Modern Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) include chapter-length discussions of early modern cat torture. The bullfight has produced a rich historical archive whose major works are not limited by period. In Spanish the definitive study remains de Cossío’s, José Maria four-volume Los Toros: Tratado técnico e histórico (Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1943–61), supplemented by two additional volumes published in 1980 and 1981 by Antonio Díaz Cañabate. English-language studies – for example Marvin, Gerry’s Bullfight (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1999), Shubert, Adrian’s Death and Money in the Afternoon: A History of the Spanish Bullfight (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) and Douglass, Carrie’s Bulls, Bullfighting, and Spanish Identities (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1997) – also range broadly across historical periods. The most thorough account of early modern bear-baiting, by contrast, is written in German: Daigl, Christof’s ‘All the world is but a bear-baiting’: Das englische Hetztheater im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Gesellschaft für Theatergeschichte, 1997). In English, helpful discussions include Höfele, Andreas, Stage, Stake, and Scaffold: Humans and Animals in Shakespeare’s Theatre (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) and Mackbinder, Anthony et al., The Hope Playhouse, Animal Baiting and Later Industrial Activity at Bear Gardens on Bankside: Excavations at Riverside House and New Globe Walk, Southwark, 1999–2000 (London: Museum of London Archaeology, 2013).

Additional secondary literature on the training and breeding of horses – literature offering much information on their use for sport – includes Edward, Peter’s Horse and Man in Early Modern England (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007) and Landry, Donna’s Noble Brutes: How Eastern Horses Transformed English Culture (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). Thomas, Keith’s classic Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500–1800 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983) offers a fine account of the growth in England of humanitarian sentiments and an emerging culture of compassion for non-human animals.

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