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Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Weaving early accounts of witchcraft—trial records, ecclesiastical tracts, folklore, and popular iconography—into new and startling patterns, Carlo Ginzburg presents in Ecstasies compelling evidence of a hidden shamanistic culture that flourished across Europe and in England for thousands of years.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 14th 2004 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1989)
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Jonfaith
What we have tried to analyze here is not one narrative among many, but the matrix of all possible narratives.

So concludes this Triumph of the Weird. What a Borgesian proclamation! My head spins with the density and erudition displayed in this ethnohistory of an idea, the Sabbath. This was a perfect book to roll around with for two days, discouraged from leaving the house by winter break and true winter weather. So Dr. Ginzburg ponders why Witch Trials all sounded similar across three centuries
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Erik Graff
Jun 10, 2013 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Religion fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: religion
Erudite, dense, wide-ranging and provocative, Ginzburg's Ecstasies is begins as an investigation of the beliefs of witches in early modern Europe and ends, after many digressive speculations spanning human history across the globe, with the tentative conclusion that common prehistoric shamanistic practices have had a pervasive and enduring influence on folk beliefs and religion throughout most of Eurasia.

Having read Ginzburg before, I bought this with some (disappointed) expectation of delving m
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Tor.com
THIS is how I like my historical speculation. Couched in caveats & supported by as much back data as possible. Carlo Ginzburg's "microhistorical" paradigm is a fascinating game of telephone. The armchair anthropologist in me thrilled at it, & that's before the weird "Injury to Foot" motif bits. --MK
Steve Cran
Dec 05, 2013 Steve Cran rated it it was amazing
Records of the witches Sabbat reaches us in modern times through the stores and testimonies recorded by the biased inquisitors who tortured the suspected witches to get a confession from them. Historiean looking for the origin of these sabbats and trying to prove their veracity have come up against man y challenges. Some have thought the Sabbat to be nothing but invention of the inquisitors while others have believed that there was a factual basis to the reported Sabbat.
According to legend the w
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Clivemichael
Jun 21, 2013 Clivemichael rated it it was amazing
Not your typical bedtime reader, I'm tempted to lift the effusive accolades from the book's back cover. Instead I'll note it is a densely documented, dissertation on the extreme likelihood of a universal link to ancient cultural ancestory, carrying forward similar mythology, folklore and shamanic themes. Who knew history could be so fascinating? Apparently Carlo Ginzburg.I have never seen the like of his footnotes! He skillfully, gently and with an obvious delight extracts from a veritable ...more
Valentina Guiari
per me, un classico. semplicemente.
Tina Estep
Apr 19, 2013 Tina Estep rated it it was amazing
This is by far one of my favorite books and I still refer to it in my research. This book is an ethnohistory of the beliefs and practices of the early accounts of witchcraft throughout Europe and England from the time of the Inquisition . He goes through trial records, folklore, and popular iconography that form patterns and is evidence of a hidden witchcraft cultures that have been present for thousands of years.

Great, great, great book! Again another percepective of witchcraft, but this time t
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Twentwor
An important resource referred to by a number of more recent authors on the connections between Witchcraft and Germanic Tradition (Lecouteux, De Vries), Carlo Ginzburg's seminal work has some extremely valuable accounts of witch and werewolf traditions throughout the continent. Unfortunately, he seems to have a limited view of their origins (selectively ignoring the Germanic evidence he himself presents in favor of a Celtic substrate), and treads close to the trap that Murray fell headlong into ...more
Yacoob
Aug 29, 2016 Yacoob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ginzburg za tři hvězdy nemůže, to ten překlad :/

Knížka se moc špatně a stavba věty češtinu připomíná jen díky ohýbání slov; jinak je to v podstatě google translate. Což je škoda, téma sabatu je samo o sobě velmi zajímavé, byť náročné na bakcground a odborné povědomí. I laik by si nicméně mohl počíst, kdyby se zde pracovalo s překladatelskou poznámkou a autor (překladu) by si dal tu práci a pro čtenáře dohledal vysvětlení odborných termínů, souvisejících vědeckých teorií a některých méně známých
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Sara Gray
Mar 18, 2016 Sara Gray rated it liked it
My mind smeared over the headily academic sections (particularly the intro), but there were some deeply fascinating sections detailing the possible shamanistic, ancient fertility cults and cultures that Medieval Christianity steamrolled over during the witch hunts. Ginsburg provided many fascinating inferences comparing Greek myths, folktales, and historical art finds that will continue to haunt my brain.
Rick
Mar 10, 2012 Rick rated it it was amazing
Carlo Ginzburg's erudition is astounding. That he can take from inquisition records regarding the so-called "witches' sabbath" in western Europe and extend his purview to include Asian shamanism, motifs found in Greek mythology, and parallels found among indigenous peoples of the western hemisphere and the Pacific Islands is breathtaking. There are similarities among all people in the way they associate storytelling and the ecstatic state with the afterlife.
Philip Zyg
Jan 18, 2012 Philip Zyg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most fascinating journeys into popular mythology for ages! Ginzburg investigates the motives behind forced confessions of "witches" or "sorcerers" in the Middle Ages and unveils prehistoric Eurasian rituals that survived, unexpectedly, throughout the centuries. Well written (too many footnotes perhaps, just skip them)and richly documented. And a page-turner to boot!
Scott Schroder
Starts with the Inquisitions perception of the witch's sabbath. Progresses into seasonal ritual/myth from the same regions of Europe. Then into Eurasian shamanism. Unbelievably good.
Annemarie Donahue
Once you get through the jargon, you'll find a brilliant book. I recommend this as part of a class. It's a book that begs to be studied and discussed.
Joshua
Mar 29, 2015 Joshua rated it really liked it
A good tour through history of how the Witches Sabbath was incorporated into the witch trials of Europe.
Mills College Library
Dec 02, 2016 Mills College Library is currently reading it
133.43094 G4938 2004
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Born in 1939, he is the son of of Italian-Ukranian translator Leone Ginzburg and Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg. Historian whose fields of interest range from the Italian Renaissance to early modern European History, with contributions in art history, literary studies, popular cultural beliefs, and the theory of historiography.
More about Carlo Ginzburg...

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