In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, entire communities, particularly in central Europe were gripped by a fear of witches and witchcraft, and pursued witches in order to bring them to justice. Professor David Nash unlocks the sometimes opaque history of the phenomenon of witchcraft in Britain, Europe and America. The book explores the development of witchcraft and belief in witches, the obsession with witches and witchcraft that spawned witch-hunting, the hey-day and decline of witch-hunting, and the fascinating ‘afterlife’ of witchcraft: covering not only the survival of some beliefs into the nineteenth century but the academic interest in witchcraft in the early twentieth century, which culminated in the interest shown in the phenomenon by experts serving the interests and ideology of Nazi Germany. Among the themes that the author will examine are the geographical spread and regional differences in witchcraft and witch-hunting across Britain, Europe and America; the theories on the rise of witch-hunting; and gender differences: why so many more women were accused and convicted of witch-hunting than men.
Table of Contents
Introduction and Pre-History
Witchcraft and Witch-Hunting Take Hold
The High Point and Heyday of Witches and Witch-Hunting
The Declining Years of Witch-Hunting
Places to Visit