H. C. Erik Midelfort

Julian Bishko Professor of History

Available if you email me.

Field & Specialties

Early Modern Europe


B.A. Yale 1964
M.Phil. Yale 1967
Ph.D. Yale 1970

Selected Publications

Special Revision

Mulsow: Additions to Notes drawn from the 2002 edition of Moderne aus dem Untergrund


Witchcraft, Madness, Society, and Religion in Early Modern Germany. A Ship of Fools. Ashgate Variorum, 2013

Exorcism and Enlightenment: Johann Joseph Gassner and the Demons of 18th-Century Germany. Yale University Press, 2005

A History of Madness in Sixteenth-Century Germany. Stanford University Press, 1999.

Mad Princes of Renaissance Germany. University Press of Virginia, 1994

Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany, 1562-1684: The Social and Intellectual Foundations. Stanford University Press, 1972.

Books edited or translated

Translation of Martin Mulsow, Enlightenment Underground: Radical Germany, 1680-1720 (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015)

Translation of Rainer Decker, Witchcraft and the Papacy: An Account Drawing on the Formerly Secret Records of the Roman Inquisition, (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009)

Co-Editor, with Jonathan Dewald et al., Europe: 1450-1789. Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, 6 volumes, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003

Translation of Wolfgang Behringer, Shaman of Oberstdorf: Conrad Stoechkhlin and the Phantoms of the Night. University of Virginia Press, 1998.

Abridged Translation, with Benjamin Kohl, of Johan Weyer, On Witchraft. Pegasus Press, 1998.

Co-translator with Thomas A. Brady, Jr. of Peter Blickle, The Revolution of 1525. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.

Co-translator with Mark U. Edwards of Bernd Moeller, Imperial Cities and the Reformation, Three Essays. Fortress Press, 1972 and subsequent editions.

Series Co-Editor: Hexenforschung, with co-editors: Dieter R. Bauer, Wolfgang Behringer, Heide Dienst, Sönke Lorenz, Wolfgang Schild, in cooperation with the Institut für geschichtliche Landeskunde und Historische Hilfswissenschaften der Universität Tübingen

Series Editor: Studies in Early Modern German History, University of Virginia Press

Titles include works by Wolfgang Behringer, Peter Blickle, Christine Johnson, Rainer Decker, Ann Tlusty, David Luebke, Duane Corpis, Lyndal Roper, Joy Wiltenburg, Martin Mulsow, Friedrich Spee, & Arthur Imhof.

Selected Recent articles

"Medicine, Theology, and the Problem of Germany's Pietist Ecstatics," in Robert G. Ingram and William J. Bulman, eds., God in the Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 22016), pp. 236-256.

“The Gadarene Demoniac in the English Enlightenment” in Emily Michelson, Scott K. Taylor, and Mary Noll Venables, eds., A Linking of Heaven and Earth: Studies in Religious and Cultural History in honor of Carlos M. N. Eire (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), pp. 49-66.

“Witch Craze? Beyond the Legends of Panic,” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 6 (2011), pp. 11-33.

“The Worst Book in the World,” [a brief study of the Liber de tribus impostoribus] The Berlin Journal no. 19 (fall 2010), pp. 8-12; published in extended form in the volume: Witchcraft, Madness, Society and Religion, listed above, pp. IX, 1-12.

“The Reformation and the Early Social Sciences (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud): Toward a Cultural Epidemiology," in Politics and Reformations: Histories and Reformations: Essays in Honor of Thomas A. Brady, Jr. , ed., Christopher Ocker, Michael Printy, Peter Starenko, and Peter Wallace (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 35-61

"Melancholische Eiszeit?” in Wolfgang Behringer, Hartmut Lehmann, and Christian Pfister, eds., Kulturelle Konsequenzen der ‘Kleinen Eiszeit’: Cultural Consequences of the ‘Little Ice Age.’ Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2005), pp. 239-254.

“Natur und Besessenheit: Natürliche Erklärungen für Besessenheit von der Melancholie bis zum Magnetismus,” in Hans de Waardt et al., eds., Dämonische Besessenheit. Zur Interpretation eines kulturhistorischen Phänomens (Bielefeld: Verlag für Regionalsgeschichte, 2005), pp. 73-88

"Charcot, Freud and the Demons," in Werewolves, Witches, and Wandering Spirits. Traditionsl Belief & Folklore in Early Modern Europe , ed. Kathryn A. Edwards (Kirksville, 2002), pp. 199-215.

"Madness and the Millennium of Münster, 1534-1535," in C. Kleinhenz and F. J. Lemoine, eds, Fearful Hope (Madison, 1999), 115-134

"Religious Melancholy and Suicide: On the Reformation Origins of a Sociological Stereotype," in Madness, Melancholy and the Limits of the Self (= Graven Images vol. 3) (1996), pp. 41-56

"Selbstmord im Urteil von Reformation und Gegenreformation," in Wolfgang Reinhard and Heinz Schilling, eds., Die katholische Konfessionalisierung (Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1995), pp.296-310

"Geisteskranke Fürsten im 16. Jahrhundert: Von der Absetzung zur Behandlung," in Jahrbuch des Instituts für Geschichte der Medizin der Robert Bosch Stiftung vol. 7 (1990), pp. 25-40.

"Adeliges Landleben und die Legitimationskrise des deutschen Adels im 16. Jahrhundert," in Georg Schmidt, ed., Stände und Gesellschaft im alten Reich (Stuttgart, 1989), pp. 245-264.

Awards and Prizes

Recipient of a Festschrift edited by Marjorie E. Plummer and Robin B. Barnes, Ideas and Cultural Margins in Early Modern Germany: Essays in Honor of H. C. Erik Midelfort (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009)

Recipient of a Festschrift presented by German colleagues in June, 2004: Wider alle Hexerei und Teufelswerk: Die europäische Hexenverfolgung und ihre Auswirkungen auf Südwestdeutschland, ed. Sönke Lorenz and Jürgen Michael Schmidt (Ostfildern: Jan Thorbeke, 2004)

Roland Bainton Award for the best book of 1999, from the 16th Century Society, for A History of Madness in Sixteenth-Century Germany

Ralph Waldo Emerson Award 1999, from Phi Beta Kappa, for A History of Madness in 16th-Century Germany

Roland Bainton Award for the best book of 1995, from the 16th Century Society, for Mad Princes of Renaissance Germany

Listed in Who's Who in America, 1995 - present

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1987-88, 2008-2009

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1975–76

Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities, 1973, from the Council of Graduate Schools in the U. S., for Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany: The Social and Intellectual Foundations, 1562-1684


Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, spring 2011

Visiting Fellow, All Souls College Oxford, 2005 (September – December)

Dwight Terry Lecturer in residence, Yale University, spring 2003

Visiting Scholar, Wolfson College Oxford, 2002 (January-June)

President of the Society for Reformation Research, 1990-92

Current Research

The Fear of Free Thinking and the Suppression of Dissent in Early Modern Germany

Religious and Irreligious Radicalism in late 17th-century Germany

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


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