In early modern German witch trials, how defendants looked and moreover how they behaved on trial—physically and emotionally—was crucial to whether they were deemed innocent or guilty. This was particularly the case in trials of witchcraft, a crime that often left little tangible evidence in its wake. Indeed, notions of the body are integral to understanding early modern witchcraft beliefs, particularly at a time when the boundary between mind and body was viewed as porous and permeable. This was a time when emotions were seen to have physical consequences, and this belief played a key role in witchcraft cases. Through a close reading of a seventeenth-century trial of witchcraft from a history of emotions perspective, this article examines the ways in which the body, mind, and soul were interrogated in the heartland of early modern witch persecutions: the Holy Roman Empire.
“Not a drop of tears, or any sweat from fear came from her”: Interrogating Mind, Body, and Emotions in Early Modern German Witch Trials
Laura Kounine; “Not a drop of tears, or any sweat from fear came from her”: Interrogating Mind, Body, and Emotions in Early Modern German Witch Trials. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 1 January 2024; 54 (1): 113–135. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10829636-10948505
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