The Bedevilment of Elizabeth Lorentz
Elizabeth Lorentz was a young maid servant in early modern Germany who believed herself to be tormented by the devil, and who was eventually brought to trial in 1667. The trial grappled with the question of whether Lorentz was a willing accomplice of the devil or suffering from melancholy as a result of her previous sins. To provide readers with historical context, Morton includes an introduction to the early modern issues of demonic pact, possession, and spiritual melancholy, and as a supplement, a contemporary record of demonic possession of another young woman. The Bedevilment of Elizabeth Lorentz provides excellent insight into the complexities of Protestant attitudes to melancholy and the Devil, and into the circumstances of young women in early modern Europe.
- Division: Higher Education
- World Rights
- Page Count: 144 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
"In The Bedevilment of Elizabeth Lorentz, Peter A. Morton and Barbara Dähms introduce readers to the momentarily extraordinary lives of the non-elite through a meticulously translated and contextualized 1667 court case from the Brunswick criminal court. The increasingly plaintive and conspicuous sighs of Lorentz, a recently hired young maid in the home of a Brunswick brewer, open her to questions from her concerned employers, and ultimately the perplexed members of the Brunswick court, about love, witchcraft, satanic pacts, possession, child murder, and mental health in this fascinating case."
Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer, The University of Arizona
"There is quite a lot to like about this brief text that will make it ideal for use in the classroom and give students an engaging introduction to a wide range of interesting and important issues in early modern society and culture. The clearly translated records of the trial encourage students to join with the efforts of witnesses and court officials to make sense of Elizabeth’s testimony while also providing them with an exceptional glimpse into the lives and thought of common folk. Peter Morton’s introductory remarks situate the trial documents in their necessary historical contexts—social, legal, and cultural—and in the process he successfully synthesizes an impressive range of recent historical scholarship. As students read and wrestle with how the actors in this drama framed and interpreted Elizabeth’s idiosyncratic performances, they will gain a unique and fascinating insight into the world of early modern Germany."
Hans Peter Broedel, University of North Dakota
Author InformationPeter A. Morton is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Humanities at Mount Royal University.
Barbara Dähms is a translator.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Notes on the Translation
Introduction: The Devil in the World of Elizabeth Lorentz
1. Elizabeth Lorentz and the Devil
2. The Trial of Elizabeth Lorentz
3. A World Disordered
4. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation
5. The Protestant Reformation in Brunswick
6. Elizabeth's Place in a Lutheran Urban Household
7. Religious Instruction
8. The Devil and the Concept of Anfechtung
9. The Demonic Pact
10. Demonic Possession
The Trial of Elizabeth Lorentz, Brunswick, Germany 1667-1668
List of People
Melchior Neukirch, Devout Christian Prayers Against the Devils in the Poor Possessed People, 1596
Subjects and Courses