Notions of witchcraft have haunted and fascinated the human mind for centuries. At the height of witchcraft persecutions in 16th and 17th century Europe, some 50,000 people were executed, accused of murder, cannibalism, black magic, and devil worshipping.
The Witchcraft Reader offers a selection of the best historical writing on witchcraft, exploring how belief in witchcraft began, and the social and cultural context in which this belief flourished. A whole range of historical perspectives is collected here, including recent research on the role of gender in witch trials, ideas about the devil and demonic possession, and reasons for the decline of witch trials.
The major themes and debates in the study of witchcraft are brought together in a general introduction, which places the extracts in a critical context. Bringing together a wide range of important work in a single, accessible volume, The Witchcraft Reader is ideal for students and general readers intrigued by this complex and fascinating subject.