November 8th, 9th and 10th in conference hall O 100

Ideas of past eras can be difficult to recognize. The medieval and renaissance understanding of the world evolved from faith, magic and science, and provided the framework for human knowledge. However, these ideas were not homogeneous. They changed from one period to the next, from region to region, even from city to city, but within common frames of interpretation. It is the purpose of this symposium to shed new light on medieval and renaissance (c. 1400-1650) perceptions of the universe by challenging traditional disciplinary and chronological boundaries.

Distinct disciplines, such as church history, history of science, and the study of folklore has created an unhelpful contrast between religion and science. The majority of the medieval or post-reformation theologians did not intend to dismiss science in the name of God. Moreover, the majority of scientists worked from the same fundamental belief in God as did theologians. The symposium will address the almost deterministic understanding of evolutionary progress, which is often encountered in the history of science and magic. In addition, it will question the traditional and somewhat problematic chronological division of the later middle ages and the reformation era.

Magic, heresy, and natural philosophy are subjects often studied as more or less separate fields. The study of post-reformation campaigns to discipline the population according to the new religious ideas and the roots of modern science often focus on the period of the great witch-hunts (1580-1620) without paying much attention to either what went before or what came after. There is a need to study the themes in a larger context where ideas about magic, God, the devil, science, and faith can be seen as part of a whole. This symposium aims to rectify this.

Financed by the Nordic Centre for Medieval Studies, Bergen, Helsinki, Gothenburg and Odense.

Monday November 8th

12.00-13.00: Registration.

13.00-13.15: Welcome.

13.15-14.30:Keynote speaker: Richard Kieckhefer

White Magic, Black Magic, Bright Magic – New

Trends in the Study of Medieval Ritual (North

Western University).

14.30-15.00: Coffee.

15.00-16.30: Session 1

Willem de Blécourt: Witchcraft Before the Witch Trials

(Huizinga Institute, Amsterdam).

Nancy Caciola: Demons and the Dead – An Inquiry into

Medieval Epistemologies (University of California).

Torstein Jørgensen: Coping with Pagan Heresy and Prac-

tices in the Early Norwegian Provincial Laws (University of Bergen).

                               18.00: Reception, Odense City Hall.

Tuesday November 9th.

10.00-11.00: Session 2.

Stephen Mitchell: saints, Sinners, and Heretics in Medie-

val Scandinavia (Harvard University).

Leif Søndergaard: The Pragmatic Mind in Late Medieval

Magic (University of Southern Denmark).

11.00-1130: Coffee.

11.30-13.00: Session 3.

Britt Istoft: Holy Women, Heresy and Witchcraft (Univer-

sity of Southern Denmark).

Dóra Bobory: Alchemy in the Monasteries (Central Euro-

pean University of Budapest).

David Gentilcore: “Incantations and Other Devilish

Things”: Medical Charlatanism, Magic and Natural

Philosophy in Renaissance Italy (University of


13.00-14.00: Lunch.

14.00-15.30: Session 4.

Johannes Dillinger: Divining and Digging. Mining and

Treasure Hunting between Science, Archaeology and

Magic (Oxford Brookes / Heisenberg Guest Professor,

Gutenberg University, Mainz).

Louise Nyholm Kallestrup: Perceptions of Demonic

Possession, Madness and Illness in the Danish

Witchcraft Trials (University of Southern Denmark).

Rune Blix Hagen: Images and Self Perception of

Magic among Sami Shamans and Norwegian Women

in Arctic Norway 1595-1638 (University of Tromsø).

15.30-16.00: Coffee.

16.00-17.00: Session 5.

Kirsi Salonen: Witchcraft and Magic according to the

Records of the Apostolic Penitentiary (University of


Henning Laugerud: The Optics of Understanding.

Sight, Perception and Discourses of Knowledge in

Early Modern Europe (University of Bergen).

Conference Dinner at Nyborg Castle.

Wednesday November 10th.

9.30-10.30: Session 6.

Matteo Duni: Law, Natur, Theology, and Witchcraft

in Gianfrancesco Ponzinibio’s De lamiis et excellentia

iuris utiusque 1511 (Syracuse University, Florence).

Rita Voltmer: Preaching Witchcraft. The Sermons of John

Geiler of Kaysersberg 1445-1510 (University of Trier).

10.30-11.00: Coffee.

11.00-12.00: Session 7.

Morten Fink-Jensen: Niels Hemmingsen on Witchcraft

(Royal Library, Copenhagen).

Raisa Maria Toivo: Teaching magic. Educating the

“Populace” about Magic and Witchcraft in Late

16th and 17th Century Finland (University of Tampere).
















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