Crime, Sin, and Salvation: Early Modern Suicide by Proxy: A Book Talk by Kathy Stuart (UC Davis)

Event time: 
Monday, November 13, 2023 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Sterling Divinity Quadrangle (SDQ ), RSV Room See map
409 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Kathy Stuart will be in conversation with Bruce Gordon and Andreas Berger (Visiting Fellow, Yale Divinity School) about her latest book on suicide by proxy in early modern Europe. A reception will follow.

Suicide by Proxy in Early Modern Germany: Crime, Sin, and Salvation explores a rather peculiar phenomenon of early modern Europe: suicidal people who committed capital crimes with the explicit goal of “earning” their executions, as a short-cut to their salvation. Wishing to die repentantly at the hands of the government, perpetrators hoped to escape eternal damnation that befell direct suicides.

To this end, they committed arson or blasphemy, confessed to bestiality, or even murdered young children, believing that their innocent victims would also enter paradise. In her illuminating book, Kathy Stuart shows that—contrary to previous belief—suicide by proxy had a cross-confessional appeal and was a major societal problem in Europe between 1650 and 1800.

Open to: 
General Public