On the Demon-Mania of Witches, by Jean Bodin

Translated by Randy A. Scott - TT7

Skip to product information
1 of 2
Regular price $21.50 CAD
Regular price Sale price $21.50 CAD
Sale Coming Soon


Jean Bodin’s On the Demon-Mania of Witches (De la démonomanie des sorciers) was published in 1580 and quickly became one of the most widely read and translated works on witchcraft in Europe. Bodin (1529/30-1596), a lawyer and scholar, was greatly admired by his contemporaries. His works on politics, history and religion, especially his encyclopaedic Les six livres de la république (1576), contributed ideas and theories that have continued to attract the attention of researchers in a wide range of disciplines. The Demon-Mania is a passionately argued treatise on the reality and dangers of magic and witchcraft, which Bodin saw as a growing threat to the state. His treatise also makes detailed recommendations to judges for the effective prosecution of witchcraft cases. Professor Pearl’s introduction to the text situates it in the full context of Bodin’s thought and the historical experience of his age. The notes by the editors give the reader access to Bodin’s vast network of theological, classical, historical and legal sources. The Demon-Mania, appearing here in its first English translation, provides sharp insights into the mentality of a complex and bitterly divided age.

Randy A. Scott is Assistant Professor of Italian and Humanities at Atkinson College and the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at York University.

Jonathan L. Pearl is Associate Professor of History at Scarborough College in the University of Toronto.

218 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-9697512-5-0 softcover
Published: 1995


The Sixteenth Century Journal, 27:3 (Autumn 1996), p. 835. Reviewed by Jane P. Davidson.

Renaissance Quarterly, 51:3 (Autumn 1998), pp. 995-996. Reviewed by Julia M. Garrett.


The French Religious Wars
Witchcraft in France
The Demon-Mania
The Text and This Translation
Translator's Note
Select Bibliography

On the Demon-Mania of Witches

Author's Preface


Chapter 1: The Definition of a Witch

Chapter 2: On the Associataion of Spirits with Men

Chapter 3: The Difference between Good and Evil Spirits

[Chapter 4: On Prophecy and Other Divine Means to Learn Hidden Things]*

Chapter 5: On Natural and Human Means to Learn Hidden Things

Chapter 6: On Unlawful Means to Accomplish Something That One Wants

[Chapter 7: On Terascopy, Haruspicy, Ornithomancy, Hieroscopy, and Others]


Chapter 1: On Magic in General, and Its Types

[Chapter 2: On Tacit Invocations of Evil Spirits]

Chapter 3: On Formal Invocations of Evil Spirits 

Chapter 4: On Those Who Renounce God and Their Religion by Express Agreement, and Whether They Are Bodily Transported by Demons

[Chapter 5: On the Ecstasy and Rapture of Witches, and the Customary Relations They Have with Demons]

Chapter 6: On Lycanthropy and Whether Spirits Can Change Men into Beasts

Chapter 7: Whether Witches Have Copulation with Demons

Chapter 8: Whether Witches Can Send Illnesses, Sterilities, Hails and Rainstorms, and Kill Men and Beasts


Chapter 1: Lawful Means to Prevent Spells and Witchcraft

Chapter 2: Whether Witches Can Assure the Health of Vigorous Men, and Provide a Cure for the Sick

Chapter 3: Whether Witches May Obtain through Their Craft the Favour of People, Beauty, Pleasures, Honours, Riches and Learning, and Give Fertility

[Chapter 4: Whether Witches can Harm Some People More Than Ohers]

Chapter 5: On the Unlawful Means Which Are Used to Prevent Evil Spells, and to Dispel Illnesses and Charms

Chapter 6: On Those Who Are Beleaguered and Pursued by Evil Spirits, and Whether There Is Any Means to Drive Them Out


Chapter 1: On the Investigation of Witches

Chapter 2: On the Evidence REquired to Prove the Crime of Witchcraft

Chapter 3: On the Voluntary and Forced Confessions of Witches

Chapter 4: On Presumptions Against Witches

Chapter 5: On the Punishment That Witches Merit

Bracketed chapters omitted