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King James I (1566–1625)

Autor(a) de Demonology

53+ Works 406 Membros 4 Críticas

About the Author

Disambiguation Notice:

(eng) King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England and Ireland. Please don't combine with King James I of Scotland.

Image credit: James VI and I, c.1605.

Obras por King James I

Demonology (1597) — Autor — 132 exemplares
A Counter-Blaste to Tobacco (1954) 23 exemplares
The Political Works of James I (1918) — Autor — 19 exemplares
King James Bible (2007) 9 exemplares
Letters of King James VI and I (1984) 4 exemplares
The King's Quair: A Poem... (2012) 1 exemplar
Opera 1 exemplar
Daemonologie 1 exemplar

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of Witches (2014) — Contribuidor — 387 exemplares
Love Letters (1996) — Contribuidor — 180 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Nome legal
Stuart, James Charles, I & VI
Outros nomes
James I of England
James VI of Scotland
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Edinburgh, Scotland
Local de falecimento
Theobalds House, Hertfordshire, England
Locais de residência
Edinburgh, Scotland
London, England
private tutor
King of England and Ireland (1603-25)
King of Scotland (1567-1625)
Mary Queen of Scots (mother)
Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia (granddaughter)
Queen Elizabeth I (cousin)
Charles II, King of England (grandson)
Charles I, King of England (son)
James II, King of England (grandson)

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James became King of Scots at age 13 months when his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate. In 1603, after years of speculation, he succeeded Queen Elizabeth I to the throne of England. He often used the title King of Great Britain.
Nota de desambiguação
King James VI of Scotland and King James I of England and Ireland. Please don't combine with King James I of Scotland.



Demonology was first published in 1597. It is neither a manual or instructions on how to hunt witches. It’s a public statement of James' own, and the common, belief of the period in the format of a philosophical argument (albeit an ill-structured one) between the characters Philomathes and Epistemon. In the preface, King James I calls out Reginald Scot by name. Scot’s “The Discoverie of Witchcraft” was published in 1584 and was controversial at the time with its argument that witchcraft did not exist. While this wasn't written specifically as a reaction Scot, it shows that James is very aware of other wicthcraft-related works.

In the first coupe of chapters, James notes various instances of “witchcraft” in the Old Testament, James I mentions King Saul consulting the Witch of Endor to raise up the spirit of Samuel. James makes his own claim that Saul was so distracted by his own inner turmoil that what he saw wasn’t the ghost of Samuel, but the Devil in disguise. However, reading the KJV text itself, there is no deceit. This spirit merely proclaims what Saul already knows. It does not lie, and Saul himself recognizes the spirit, not the Witch. James also conveniently leaves out the Witch’s generosity in feeding Saul in his distress before he departs.

James goes on to make the distinction between Magi/ Necromancy and Sorcery/Witchcraft. The former are “[the Devil’s] masters and commanders” usually motivated by curiosity. His observation that Magi often claim to know the future, contradicts his belief that “the Devil hath no knowledge of things to come,” so how could the Magi obtain that power? But for James the “Devil’s School” includes astrology, chiromancy, geomancy, hydromancy, arithmancy, and physiognomy. This latter I thought was interesting because I had only known it in the 19th c. context. Turns out, Henry VIII had outlawed it in 1530 and what’s more, physiognomy can be found in KJV in Isaiah 3:9. The Devil can appear to these individuals as a “Cat, a Dog, an Ape, or some such beast”. I have yet to read of a witch trial that mentions an Ape, so James must've been referencing a specific instance. James also mentions that demons and the Devil deceive followers by “imprinting in them the opinion that there are so many Princes, Dukes and Kings…commanding Legions…”, saying there is no such thing in Hell. However, according to KJV Jesus himself casts out a “legion” from a man in Mark 5:1-42.

It isn’t until the Second Book in Demonology that Witches are discussed. They “are servants only,” motivated by revenge or greed. James does not claim that all witches are women, only that women are more susceptible to the practice. However, “no man ought to presume impunity” and God may “use any kind of extraordinary punishment when it pleases him.” Thus God can allow mortals to be attacked by witches or tempted by the Devil. James argues that melancholy cannot be blamed for the confession of witchcraft (nevermind under torture), as “some of them are rich and worldly-wise” or “merry”. This is the weakest argument thus far due to the fact that the vast majority of witches were elderly, poor, uneducated, or outcasts. In Ch. 4 it is written that the Devil may allow Witches to leave their bodies to be “transported from one Country to another." I think he mentioned this specifically because it was thought that witches were the cause of the storm that prevented his fiancé from traveling to England from Denmark.

In the final chapter, James unexpectedly examines various supernatural creatures. Those who claim to be "man-wolves" he concedes may be suffering from extreme melancholy. There's a mention of nuns being burnt for laying with incubi but no source is provided. This portion seems disjointed from the rest of the text but it is the most interesting as we get a glimpse of English traditional / folk beliefs.
… (mais)
asukamaxwell | 2 outras críticas | Apr 6, 2022 |
Declaring the Damnable Life and Death of Doctor Flan, a notable sorcerer who was burned at Edenburough, in January last, (1591)
Matthew_Erskine | 2 outras críticas | May 25, 2020 |
The English is significantly cruder and more old-fashioned than that of the KJV Bible (which seems a fair point of comparison). The text itself is quite short, though James still manages to repeat himself quite a bit. The choice to write in rhetorical dialogue, where the author imagines two characters conversing, might have been hip in 1597, but today it is stale, tedious, and unnecessary.

Honestly, the Malleus Maleficarum exists in more modern English, contains more extreme views, and was far more influential on the witch-hunting movement anyway. Read that instead.… (mais)
wishanem | 2 outras críticas | Jan 27, 2015 |
great bed time read
Simon998877 | Nov 28, 2011 |

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