Magic in the Middle Ages: History and Historiography



The aim of this essay is to offer an introductory overview of magic in pre-modern Europe and of the range of scholarly approaches to that historical phenomenon. The article moves from the historical to the historiographical, examining first a series of historical watersheds in the development of Western thought on what magic is and how it works, and second, a set of modern methodological trends in the study of magic. In the process, the article highlights several topics driving current research into medieval magic and points out directions for future scholarship.