Catalogue: Books Displaying Books number 4952;
Database Type: Books
Item ID Number: 4952;

Book Number 4952 
Author Webster, John 
Title The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft. Wherein is affirmed that there are many sorts of Deceivers and Imposters. And Divers persons under a passive Delusion of Melancholy and Fancy. But there is a Corporeal League made betwixt the Devil and the Witch, Or that he sucks on the Witch's Body, has Carnal Copulation, or that Witches are turned into Cats, Dogs, raise Tempests, or the like, is utterly denied and disproved, Whereunto is also handled, The Existence of Angels and Spirits, the truth of Apparitions, the Nature of Astral and Sydereal Spirits, the force of Charms, and Philters; with other abstruse matters. 
Date c.1676-77 
Publisher Jonas Moore [J.M.] 
Place of Publication London 
Edition First edition 
Volume Information  
Cover Original full calf, skillfully rebacked with 5 raised bands, with gilt bands and motives, gilt morocco label on 2, contemporary marbled pasted and free endpapers, all edges speckled.  
Illustration Two manuscript leaves, blank, printer’s note, title, blank, dedication (4), preface (6), contents (2), 1- 346, Examination (3), errata. The two manuscript leaves, inserted before the title, are in neat hand in contemporary pen. 
Size Small Folio (290x183mm) 
Condition Very good, lower right corner with faint water staining not affecting the text, printer’s note pasted, newspaper article pasted on free endpaper. Title signed in contemporary hand in upper right corner: J or T. Garriston Lincoln, a couple of neat marginalia in period hand. Front free endpaper with a fine large watermark. Generally a handsome copy. 
Pagination Two manuscript leaves, blank, printer’s note, title, blank, dedication (4), preface (6), contents (2), 1- 346, Examination (3), errata. The two manuscript leaves, inserted before the title, are in neat hand in contemporary pen. 
Reference Norman 2191. Wing W1230 
Translation Info  
Notes Manuscript leaf at front of book illustrated and most probably signed by the author due to reasons cited below. Webster studied under the Hungarian alchemist Johannes Huniades (János Bánfi-Hunyadi). He became a curate in Kildwick in 1634. During the First English Civil War, Webster left his later position as a teacher in Clitheroe and became a surgeon and army chaplain in the Parliamentarian forces. The present work, ‘The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft’ (1677) is a critical review of evidence for witchcraft. He opposed Henry More and Joseph Glanvill, who were arguing for the reality of witches. While a declared sceptic about witchcraft and disputing the more extravagant statements about powers widely attributed to witches, he greatly admired astrology, alchemy, Rosicrucianism and mysticism. Webster went as far as suggesting that the Bible had been mistranslated to support belief in witchcraft thereby refuting the scriptural arguments in favour of witchcraft. Following his death it was argued that books that at one time formed part of Webster’s collection had his favourite signature, Johannes Hyphantes, in his autograph, on the title pages. It was claimed that Rev. A. Dyce proved that John Webster, author of the ‘Examen Academiarum’, and John Webster, author of the ‘Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft’, were one and the same person. Thomas Potts later argued in his 19th century work that Dyce had not connected his insights with Dr. Henry More’s observation that the author of ‘Examen Academiarum’ was, like Webster, “a Cambridge scholar”. Potts also notes that the inscription on Webster's monument in the chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, at Clitheroe shows that Johannes Hyphantes and John Webster are one and the same person. The text on the 1st manuscript leaf, which is the same as the text on the monument, reads as follows: “Qui hanc figuram intelligunt Me etiam intellexisse, intelligent. Hic ja‘Examen Academiarum’,cet ignotus mundo mersusque tumultu Invidiae semper mens tamen cequa fuit, Multa tulit veterum ut sciret secreta tophorum Ac tandem vires noverit ignis aquae. --------- Johannes Hyphantes sive Webster, In villa Spinosa supermontana, in Parochia silcae cuculatae, in agro Eboracensi, natus 1610 Feb 3, Ergastulum animae deposuit 1682, Junii 18, Annoq. aetatia suae 72 currente. Sic peroravit moriens mundo huic vulftdicens, ea pax vivis, requies aeterna Sepultis” This manuscript is illustrated with a design, depicting the sun at the centre of circles and tringles, showing symbols of alpha and omega, water and fire, male and female and the text, Aqua cum Igne tandem in grateam redit The text of 2nd manuscript leaf reads: “Carrhale, 17th, March 1797. I believe that the author of this book, who subscribes himself, “John Webster, Practitioner in Physics”, was the Officiating Clergyman or Curate of Kildwick in Yorkshire in the year 1624. My reasons for this opinion are as follows: Many of the Persecuted Clergy at the times of theUsurpations, which took places anno 1648, applied themselves to the practice of Medicine for a sustenance to themselves and their families. The Author speaks of the kindness received from the then Mr Pisky of Browsholm & others, in his Dedication, during the time of great sufferings& persecutions. And lastly, in pages 277, speaking of himself in the first person, he expressly says I – was Curate of Kildwick,&; which, I think, is predicable of the Author only, no other person being mentioned buried in Clitheroe Church; to whose memory a Brass-plate is erected on the Southwall, opposite the Pulpit. He is there described as having been eminent for his knowledge of Chemistry; and as having lived some time in “Villa Spinosa”, that is, Thornton Craven.” [signed] J.A. [sealed twice on bottom of page]  
Price (US$) 5500  
Short Description Book History English; Book Occult; Book Religious Christianity General;  

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