This collection of documents illustrates the development of ideas about witchcraft from ancient times to the twentieth century. Most of the sources come from the period between 1400 and 1750, when more than 100,000 people - mainly women - were prosecuted for witchcraft in Europe and colonial America. The sources include trial records, demonological treatises and sermons, literary texts, narratives of demonic possession, and artistic depiction of witches. The documents reveal how contemporaries from various periods have perceived alleged witches and their activities. Brian Levack shows how notions of witchcraft changed over time. He looks at the connection between gender and witchcraft and the nature of the witch's perceived power. This anthology provides students of the history of witchcraft with a broad range of sources, many of which have been translated into English for the first time, with commentary and background by one of the leading scholars in the field.
Table of Contents
1. Witchcraft and Magic in the Ancient World 2. Medieval Foundations of Witch Hunting 3. Witch-Beliefs in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 4. The Trial and Punishment of Witches 5. Witchcraft Trials in Europe and America 6. Demonic Possession and Witchcraft 7. The Sceptical Tradition 8. Dramatic Representations of Witchcraft