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Obras por George Gifford

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of Witches (2014) — Contribuidor — 387 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Giffard, George
Data de falecimento



[A Dialogue concerning Witches & Witchcrafts] - George Gifford in which is played open the devil deceiveth not only the witches but many other, and so leadeth them awry into many great errors.
Gifford was a preacher active in Essex in late Elizabethan period and often in trouble because of his nonconformity; he published a group of writings in which he described the attitudes of the 'common sort.’ This treatise was published in 1593. Its purpose was to prevent men from being seduced by the devil into believing that witches really have the powers that they claim and into consulting those “whom the people call cunning men” in order to obtain charms against witchcraft. He was also concerned that much innocent blood is shed in the search for witches.

Gifford was a puritan and lived in a part of England where witches were deemed to be prevalent. He does not deny the existence of witches and even if he did privately, he knew that belief in witches; their spells and charms were so ingrained in society that it would be pointless to claim otherwise. His Dialogue is a conversation between five people: Samuel, Samuel's wife, Daniel a preacher (who represents Gifford), a schoolmaster and Goodwife R. Daniel meets up with Samuel, and comments that Samuel looks pale. Samuel says he has not felt well lately and a hog and some chickens have mysteriously died and suspects an old woman who has been frowning at him. He has also seen a weasel and an ugly black cat running through his yard. He has been advised to travel to another village and consult some 'cunning' man for a charm to stop further misdemeanours. Daniel suggests they go back to Samuels house to talk about it and there they meet up with the Schoolmaster and Samuel's wife and Goodwife R.

Daniel starts the conversation by saying to Samuel that it is a great sin rising from unbelief, and distrust in God's providence, when men be over pensive in the world and that they should follow his advice. He addresses his remarks to the schoolteacher, but if he was hoping to find a like mind he discovered that he was mistaken. The schoolmaster expresses views similar to Samuels and the result is a lively argument where Daniel makes a case based on his religious belief. He says that men should learn to know God who is all powerful and should not take action against witches or seek the help of 'cunning men or women'. He says that it is the work of the devil who uses the weakness of men and women to fire their imaginations with evil thoughts. The schoolmaster replies that it is said in the bible that witches should be killed and a circular argument develops with interjections from Samuel about the powers of the Devil and Gods ultimate authority in these matters. Daniel is hard pressed to convince the two men who produce many local examples of witchcraft for Daniel to refute. Over 100 pages later and finally the schoolmaster comes around to Daniels point of view, but Samuel then tells of cases that he has witnessed at the local assizes as a jurer. Daniel replies if women are convicted of witchcraft because of here-say then Samuel has blood on his hands. The argument starts all over again. Finally the two men are convinced, but not Goodwife R who states that no scripture men are going to convince her that she must not to seek the help of cunning men and women against witches curses. Goodwife R storms out in a huff leaving the schoolmaster to remark that "she is wilful indeed."

Although the arguments go round in circles and Daniel is extremely repetitive in his arguments the treatise points out many local examples and underlines the deeply held belief in witchcraft. Daniel has an uphill struggle to convince the men and he will never convince Goodwife R. Worth a read and so 3 stars.
… (mais)
1 vote
baswood | Feb 23, 2021 |

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