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Joseph Glanvill

Joseph Glanvill (1636-1680) was an English writer, philosopher, and clergyman.

Educated at Oxford University (B.A. from Exeter College, M.A. from Lincoln College), Glanvill was made vicar of Frome[?] in 1662, rector of the Abbey Church at Bath in 1666, and prebendary[?] of Worcester in 1678.

His writings display a variety of beliefs that seem deeply contradictory to contemporary people. On the one hand, he was the author of The Vanity of Dogmatising[?], which attacked scholasticism and religious persecution and pled for religious toleration, the scientific method, and freedom of thought[?].

On the other hand, he also wrote Sadducismus Triumphatus, which decried scepticism about the existence and supernatural power of witchcraft. Sadducismus Triumphatus contains a valuable collection of seventeenth century folklore about witches. It deeply influenced Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World, written to justify the Salem, Massachusetts witchhunt.



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