Professor Bruce Lincoln
The University of Chicago
The lecture centres on the 1691 trial of a self-confessed Livonian werewolf, Matthias “Old Thiess”, and engages with the eminent Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg, who thought the case was comparable to the Benandanti, members of a north Italian agrarian cult who refused the accusations of witchcraft and claimed to have undertaken ecstatic journeys each year to battle witches for the coming year’s harvest. The argument touches on the relation of the religious imaginary to social dynamics, the problems of comparative method, and the way a scholar’s life history can condition both his interests and his perspective.
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