Obviously, most of this Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft concentrates on witchcraft in the older, more traditional sense. It therefore includes entries on persons who strongly influenced the mood of the times, who wrote about witches and how to find them, who brought them to trial and sometimes had them burned, or who defended them and gradually convinced broader society that perhaps those punished were not actually witches, maybe there was no such thing. This amidst other entries on how to ascertain if someone was a witch, how to extract a confession from such a person, what the punishment could be, and also why so many witches were women. But the most intriguing entries are often about the appearance of similar phenomena in other cultures and especially the return of witchcraft in the West, long after it seemed to be disappearing, and in surprising new forms. The trajectory is easier to follow (thanks to a brief chronology), easier to understand (thanks to a general introduction), and easier to read (thanks to a
substantial bibliography).

 

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Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft

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