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Prosecutions for the crime of witchcraft reached a highpoint from 1580 to 1630 during the Counter-Reformation and the European wars of religion, when an estimated 50,000 people were executed, with some regions burning those convicted at the stake, of whom roughly 80% were women, and most often over the age of 40.

Contents

Christian doctrine

Throughout the medieval era, mainstream Christian doctrine had denied the existence of witches and witchcraft, condemning it as pagan superstition. Some have argued that the work of the Dominican Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century helped lay the groundwork for a shift in Christian doctrine, by which certain Christian theologians eventually began to accept the possibility of collaboration with devil(s), resulting in a person obtaining certain real supernatural powers.

Dominican Inquisitors and the Growth of Witch-phobia

A branch of the inquisition in southern France

In 1233, a papal bull by Gregory IX established a new branch of the inquisition in Toulouse, France, to be led by the Dominicans. It was intended to prosecute Christian groups considered heretical, such as the Cathars and the Waldensians. The Dominicans eventually evolved into the most zealous prosecutors of persons accused of witchcraft in the years leading up to the Reformation.

Records were usually kept by the French inquisitors but the majority of these did not survive, and one historian working in 1880, Charles Molinier, refers to the surviving records as only scanty debris. Molinier notes that the inquisitors themselves describe their attempts to carefully safeguard their records, especially when moving from town to town. The inquisitors were widely hated and would be ambushed on the road, but their records were more often the target than the inquisitors themselves [plus désireux encore de ravir les papiers que porte le juge que de le faire périr lui-même] (better to take the papers the judge carries than to make the judge himself perish). The records seem to have often been targeted by the accused or their friends and family, wishing to thereby sabotage the proceedings or failing that, to spare their reputations and the reputations of their descendants. This would be all the more true of those accused of witchcraft. Difficulty in understanding the larger witchcraft trials to come in later centuries is deciding how much can be extrapolated from what remains.

14th century

In 1329, with the papacy in nearby Avignon, the inquisitor of Carcassonne sentenced a monk to the dungeon for life and the sentence refers to... multas et diversas daemonum conjurationes et invocationes... and frequently uses the same Latin synonym for witchcraft, sortilegia—found on the title page of Nicolas Rémy's work from 1595, where it is claimed that 900 persons were executed for sortilegii crimen.

15th century trials and the growth of the new heterodox view

The skeptical Canon Episcopi retained many supporters, and still seems to have been supported by the theological faculty at the University of Paris in their decree from 1398, and was never officially repudiated by a majority of bishops within the papal lands, nor even by the Council of Trent, which immediately preceded the peak of the trials. But in 1428, the Valais witch trials, lasting six to eight years, started in the French-speaking lower Valais and eventually spread to German-speaking regions. This time period also coincided with the Council of Basel (1431–1437) and some scholars have suggested a new anti-witchcraft doctrinal view may have spread among certain theologians and inquisitors in attendance at this council, as the Valais trials were discussed. Not long after, a cluster of powerful opponents of the Canon Episcopi emerged: a Dominican inquisitor in Carcassonne named Jean Vinet, the Bishop of Avila Alfonso Tostado, and another Dominican Inquisitor named Nicholas Jacquier. It is unclear whether the three men were aware of each other's work. The coevolution of their shared view centres around "a common challenge: disbelief in the reality of demonic activity in the world."

Nicholas Jacquier's lengthy and complex argument against the Canon Episcopi was written in Latin. It began as a tract in 1452 and was expanded into a fuller monograph in 1458. Many copies seem to have been made by hand (nine manuscript copies still exist), but it was not printed until 1561. Jacquier describes a number of trials he personally witnessed, including one of a man named Guillaume Edelin, against whom the main charge seems to have been that he had preached a sermon in support of the Canon Episcopi claiming that witchcraft was merely an illusion. Edeline eventually recanted this view, most likely under torture.

Title page of the seventh Cologne edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, 1520 (from the University of Sydney Library). The Latin title is "MALLEUS MALEFICARUM, Maleficas, & earum hæresim, ut phramea potentissima conterens." (Generally translated into English as The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches and their heresy as with a two-edged sword).

1486: Malleus Maleficarum

The most important and influential book which promoted the new heterodox view was the Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer. Kramer begins his work in opposition to the Canon Episcopi, but oddly, he does not cite Jacquier, and he may not have been aware of his work. Like most witch-phobic writers, Kramer had met strong resistance by those who opposed his heterodox view; this inspired him to write his work as both propaganda and a manual for like-minded zealots. The Gutenberg printing press had only recently been invented along the Rhine River, and Kramer fully utilized it to shepherd his work into print and spread the ideas that had been developed by inquisitors and theologians in France into the Rhineland. The theological views espoused by Kramer were influential but remained contested, and an early edition of the book even appeared on a list of those banned by the Church in 1490. Nonetheless Malleus Maleficarum was printed 13 times between 1486 and 1520, and — following a 50-year pause that coincided with the height of the Protestant reformations — it was printed again another 16 times (1574–1669) in the decades following the important Council of Trent which had remained silent with regard to Kramer's theological views. It inspired many similar works, such as an influential work by Jean Bodin, and was cited as late as 1692 by Increase Mather, then president of Harvard College.

It is unknown if a degree of alarm at the extreme superstition and anti-witchcraft views expressed by Kramer in the Malleus Maleficarum may have been one of the numerous factors that helped prepare the ground for the Protestant Reformation.

The period of the European witch trials, with the largest number of fatalities, seems to have occurred between 1560 and 1630.

Authors have debated whether witch trials were more intense in Catholic or Protestant regions. However, the intensity of the persecutions had not so much to do with Catholicism or Protestantism as such, because there are examples of both more intense and less intense witchcraft persecutions in both the Catholic and Protestant regions of Europe. In Catholic Spain and Portugal for example, the numbers of witch trials were few because the Spanish and the Portuguese Inquisition preferred to focus on the crime of public heresy rather than the crime of witchcraft, whereas Protestant Scotland had a much larger number of witchcraft trials. In contrast, the witch trials in the Protestant Netherlands stopped earlier and they were among the least numerous in Europe, while the large-scale mass witch trials which took place in the autonomous territories of the Catholic prince-bishops in Southern Germany were infamous in all of the Western world, and the contemporary writer Herman Löher described how they affected the population within them:

The Roman Catholic subjects, farmers, winegrowers, and artisans in the episcopal lands are the most terrified people on earth, since the false witch trials affect the German episcopal lands incomparably more than France, Spain, Italy or Protestants.

The mass witch trials which took place in Southern Catholic Germany in waves between the 1560s and the 1620s could continue for years and result in hundreds of executions of all sexes, ages and classes. These included the Trier witch trials (1581–1593), the Fulda witch trials (1603–1606), the Eichstätt witch trials (1613–1630), the Würzburg witch trials (1626–1631), and the Bamberg witch trials (1626–1631).

In 1590, the North Berwick witch trials occurred in Scotland, and were of particular note as the king, James VI, became involved himself. James had developed a fear that witches planned to kill him after he suffered from storms while traveling to Denmark in order to claim his bride, Anne, earlier that year. Returning to Scotland, the king heard of trials that were occurring in North Berwick, and ordered the suspects to be brought to him—he subsequently believed that a nobleman, Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, was a witch, and after the latter fled in fear of his life, he was outlawed as a traitor. The king subsequently set up royal commissions to hunt down witches in his realm, recommending torture in dealing with suspects, and in 1597, he wrote a book about the menace that witches posed to society, entitled Daemonologie.

The more remote parts of Europe, as well as North America, were reached by the witch panic later in the 17th-century, among them being the Salzburg witch trials, the Swedish Torsåker witch trials and, somewhat later, in 1692, the Salem witch trials in Colonial New England.

Further information: Pendle witches

The Pendle witch trials are some of the most prominent in English history, resulting in the hanging of ten of the eleven who were tried.

There had never been a lack of skepticism regarding the trials. In 1635, the authorities of the Roman Inquisition acknowledged its own trials had "found scarcely one trial conducted legally". In the middle of the 17th century, the difficulty in proving witchcraft according to the legal process contributed to the councilors of Rothenburg (German) following advice to treat witchcraft cases with caution.

Although the witch trials had begun to fade out across much of Europe by the mid-17th century, they continued on the fringes of Europe and in the American Colonies. In the Nordic countries, the late 17th century saw the peak of the trials in a number of areas: the Torsåker witch trials of Sweden (1674), where 71 people were executed for witchcraft in a single day, the peak of witch hunting in Swedish Finland, and the Salzburg witch trials in Austria (where 139 people were executed from 1675 to 1690).

The 1692 Salem witch trials were a brief outburst of witch-phobia which occurred in the New World when the practice was waning in Europe. In the 1690s, Winifred King Benham and her daughter Winifred were thrice tried for witchcraft in Wallingford, Connecticut, the last of such trials in New England. Even though they were found innocent, they were compelled to leave Wallingford and settle in Staten Island, New York. In 1706, Grace Sherwood of Virginia was tried by ducking and jailed for allegedly being a witch.

Rationalist historians in the 18th century came to the opinion that the use of torture had resulted in erroneous testimony.

Witch trials became scant in the second half of the 17th century, and their growing disfavor eventually resulted in the British Witchcraft Act 1735, which formally ended witch-trials in Great Britain.

In France, scholars have found that with increased fiscal capacity and a stronger central government, the witchcraft accusations began to decline. The witch trials that occurred there were symptomatic of a weak legal system and "witches were most likely to be tried and convicted in regions where magistrates departed from established legal statutes".

During the early 18th century, the practice subsided. Jane Wenham was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England in 1712, but was pardoned after her conviction and set free. The last execution for witchcraft in England took place in 1716, when Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth were hanged. Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1727. The Witchcraft Act of 1735 put an end to the traditional form of witchcraft as a legal offense in Britain. Those accused under the new act were restricted to those that pretended to be able to conjure spirits (generally being the most dubious professional fortune tellers and mediums), and punishment was light.

In Austria, Maria Theresa outlawed witch-burning and torture in 1768. The last capital trial, that of Maria Pauer occurred in 1750 in Salzburg, which was then outside the Austrian domain.

Sporadic witch-hunts after 1750

In the later 18th century, witchcraft had ceased to be considered a criminal offense throughout Europe, but there are a number of cases which were not technically witch trials, but are suspected to have involved belief in witches at least behind the scenes. Thus, in 1782, Anna Göldi was executed in Glarus, Switzerland, officially for "poisoning"(her employer believed she had practiced witchcraft on his daughter)—a ruling at the time widely denounced throughout Switzerland and Germany as judicial murder. Like Anna Göldi, Barbara Zdunk was executed in 1811 in Prussia, not technically for witchcraft, but for arson.[citation needed] In Poland, the Doruchów witch trials occurred in 1783, and the execution of two additional women for sorcery in 1793, tried by a legal court, but with dubious legitimacy.[citation needed]

Despite the official ending of the trials for witchcraft, there would still be occasional unofficial killings of those accused in parts of Europe, such as was seen in the cases of Anna Klemens in Denmark (1800), Krystyna Ceynowa in Poland (1836), and Dummy, the Witch of Sible Hedingham in England (1863). In France, there was sporadic violence and even murder in the 1830s, with one woman reportedly burnt in a village square in Nord. In the 1830s, a prosecution for witchcraft was commenced against a man in Fentress County, Tennessee, named either Joseph or William Stout, based upon his alleged influence over the health of a young woman. The case against the supposed witch was dismissed upon the failure of the alleged victim, who had sworn out a warrant against him, to appear for the trial. However, some of his other accusers were convicted on criminal charges for their part in the matter, and various libel actions were brought.

In 1895, Bridget Cleary was beaten and burned to death by her husband in Ireland because he suspected that fairies had taken the real Bridget and replaced her with a witch.

The persecution of those believed to perform malevolent sorcery against their neighbors continued into the 20th century. In 1997, two Russian farmers killed a woman and injured five other members of her family after believing that they had used folk magic against them. It has been reported that more than 3,000 people were killed by lynch mobs in Tanzania between 2005 and 2011 for allegedly being witches.

Evidence

Peculiar standards applied to witchcraft allowing certain types of evidence "that are now ways relating Fact, and done many Years before." There was no possibility to offer alibi as a defense because witchcraft did not require the presence of the accused at the scene. Witnesses were called to testify to motives and effects because it was believed that witnessing the invisible force of witchcraft was impossible: "half proofes are to be allowed, and are good causes of suspicion".

Interrogations and torture

Various acts of torture were used against accused witches to coerce confessions and cause them to provide names of alleged co-conspirators. Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship. The torture of witches began to increase in frequency after 1468, when the Pope declared witchcraft to be "crimen exceptum" and thereby removed all legal limits on the application of torture in cases where evidence was difficult to find.

In Italy, an accused witch was deprived of sleep for periods up to forty hours. This technique was also used in England, but without a limitation on time. Sexual humiliation was used, such as forced sitting on red-hot stools with the claim that the accused woman would not perform sexual acts with the devil. In most cases, those who endured the torture without confessing were released.

The use of torture has been identified as a key factor in converting the trial of one accused witch into a wider social panic, as those being tortured were more likely to accuse a wide array of other local individuals of also being witches.

Burning of three witches in Baden, Switzerland (1585), by Johann Jakob Wick
The burning of a French midwife in a cage filled with black cats

Punishments

A variety of different punishments were employed for those found guilty of witchcraft, including imprisonment, flogging, fines, or exile. Non capital punishments, especially for a first offence, was most common in England. Prior to 1542 Church courts dealt with most cases in England and most sanctions were directed more to penance and atonement than harsh punishments. Often the guilty party was ordered to attend the parish church, wearing a white sheet and carrying a wand, and swear to lead a reformed life. The Old Testament's book of Exodus (22:18) states, "Thou shalt not permit a sorceress to live". Many faced capital punishment for witchcraft, either by burning at the stake, hanging, or beheading. Similarly, in New England, people convicted of witchcraft were hanged.

The scholarly consensus on the total number of executions for witchcraft ranges from 40,000 to 60,000 (not including unofficial lynchings of accused witches, which went unrecorded but are nevertheless believed to have been somewhat rare in the Early Modern period). It would also have been the case that various individuals would have died as a result of the unsanitary conditions of their imprisonment, but again this is not recorded within the number of executions.

Attempts at estimating the total number of executions for witchcraft have a history going back to the end of the period of witch-hunts in the 18th century. A scholarly consensus only emerges in the second half of the 20th century, and historical estimates vary wildly depending on the method used. Early estimates tend to be highly exaggerated, as they were still part of rhetorical arguments against the persecution of witches rather than purely historical scholarship.

Notably, a figure of nine million victims was given by Gottfried Christian Voigt in 1784 in an argument criticizing Voltaire's estimate of "several hundred thousand" as too low. Voigt's number has shown remarkably resilient as an influential popular myth, surviving well into the 20th century, especially in feminist and neo-pagan literature. In the 19th century, some scholars were agnostic, for instance, Jacob Grimm (1844) talked of "countless" victims and Charles Mackay (1841) named "thousands upon thousands". By contrast, a popular news report of 1832 cited a number of 3,192 victims "in Great Britain alone". In the early 20th century, some scholarly estimates on the number of executions still ranged in the hundreds of thousands. The estimate was only reliably placed below 100,000 in scholarship of the 1970s.

The Witch, No. 1, c. 1892 lithograph by Joseph E. Baker
The Witch, No. 2, c. 1892 lithograph by Joseph E. Baker
The Witch, No. 3, c. 1892 lithograph by Joseph E. Baker

Regional differences

There were many regional differences in the manner in which the witch trials occurred. The trials themselves emerged sporadically, flaring up in some areas but neighbouring areas remaining largely unaffected. In general, there seems to have been less witch-phobia in the papal lands of Italy and Spain in comparison to France and the Holy Roman Empire.

There was much regional variation within the British Isles. In Ireland, for example, there were few trials.

The malefizhaus of Bamberg, Germany, where suspected witches were held and interrogated: 1627 engraving

There are particularly important differences between the English and continental witch-hunting traditions. In England the use of torture was rare and the methods far more restrained. The country formally permitted it only when authorized by the monarch, and no more than 81 torture warrants were issued (for all offenses) throughout English history. The death toll in Scotland dwarfed that of England. It is also apparent from an episode of English history, that during the civil war in the early 1640s, witch-hunters emerged, the most notorious of whom was Matthew Hopkins from East Anglia and proclaimed himself the "Witchfinder General".

Italy has had fewer witchcraft accusations, and even fewer cases where witch trials ended in execution. In 1542, the establishment of the Roman Catholic Inquisition effectively restrained secular courts under its influence from liberal application of torture and execution. The methodological Instructio, which served as an "appropriate" manual for witch hunting, cautioned against hasty convictions and careless executions of the accused. In contrast with other parts of Europe, trials by the Venetian Holy Office never saw conviction for the crime of malevolent witchcraft, or "maleficio". Because the notion of diabolical cults was not credible to either popular culture or Catholic inquisitorial theology, mass accusations and belief in Witches' Sabbath never took root in areas under such inquisitorial influence.

The number of people tried for witchcraft between the years of 1500-1700 (by region) Holy Roman Empire: 50,000 Poland: 15,000 Switzerland: 9,000 French Speaking Europe: 10,000 Spanish and Italian peninsulas: 10,000 Scandinavia: 4,000[citation needed]

Socio-political turmoil

Various suggestions have been made that the witch trials emerged as a response to socio-political turmoil in the Early Modern world. One form of this is that the prosecution of witches was a reaction to a disaster that had befallen the community, such as crop failure, war, or disease. For instance, Midelfort suggested that in southwestern Germany, war and famine destabilised local communities, resulting in the witch prosecutions of the 1620s. Behringer also suggests an increase in witch prosecutions due to socio-political destabilization, stressing the Little Ice Age's effects on food shortages, and the subsequent use of witches as scapegoats for consequences of climatic changes. The Little Ice Age, lasting from about 1300 to 1850, is characterized by temperatures and precipitation levels lower than the 1901–1960 average. Historians such as Wolfgang Behringer, Emily Oster, and Hartmut Lehmann argue that these cooling temperatures brought about crop failure, war, and disease, and that witches were subsequently blamed for this turmoil. Historical temperature indexes and witch trial data indicate that, generally, as temperature decreased during this period, witch trials increased. Additionally, the peaks of witchcraft persecutions overlap with hunger crises that occurred in 1570 and 1580, the latter lasting a decade. Problematically for these theories, it has been highlighted that, in that region, the witch hunts declined during the 1630s, at a time when the communities living there were facing increased disaster as a result of plague, famine, economic collapse, and the Thirty Years' War. Furthermore, this scenario would clearly not offer a universal explanation, for trials also took place in areas which were free from war, famine, or pestilence. Additionally, these theories—particularly Behringer's —have been labeled as oversimplified. Although there is evidence that the Little Ice Age and subsequent famine and disease was likely a contributing factor to increase in witch persecution, Durrant argues that one cannot make a direct link between these problems and witch persecutions in all contexts.

Moreover, the average age at first marriage had gradually risen by the late sixteenth century; the population had stabilized after a period of growth, and availability of jobs and land had lessened. In the last decades of the century, the age at marriage had climbed to averages of 25 for women and 27 for men in England and the Low Countries, as more people married later or remained unmarried due to lack of money or resources and a decline in living standards, and these averages remained high for nearly two centuries and averages across Northwestern Europe had done likewise. The convents were closed during the Protestant Reformation, which displaced many nuns. Many communities saw the proportion of unmarried women climb from less than 10% to 20% and in some cases as high as 30%, whom few communities knew how to accommodate economically. Miguel (2003) argues that witch killings may be a process of eliminating the financial burdens of a family or society, via elimination of the older women that need to be fed, and an increase in unmarried women would enhance this process.

Catholic versus Protestant conflict

Further information: Counter-Reformation

The English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper advocated the idea that the witch trials emerged as part of the conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Early Modern Europe. A 2017 study in the Economic Journal, examining "more than 43,000 people tried for witchcraft across 21 European countries over a period of five-and-a-half centuries", found that "more intense religious-market contestation led to more intense witch-trial activity. And, compared to religious-market contestation, the factors that existing hypotheses claim were important for witch-trial activity—weather, income, and state capacity—were not."

Until recently, this theory received limited support from other experts in the subject. This is because there is little evidence that either Roman Catholics were accusing Protestants of witchcraft, or that Protestants were accusing Roman Catholics. Furthermore, the witch trials regularly occurred in regions with little or no inter-denominational strife, and which were largely religiously homogenous, such as Essex, Lowland Scotland, Geneva, Venice, and the Spanish Basque Country. There is also some evidence, particularly from the Holy Roman Empire, in which adjacent Roman Catholic and Protestant territories were exchanging information on alleged local witches, viewing them as a common threat to both. Additionally, many prosecutions were instigated not by the religious or secular authorities, but by popular demands from within the population, thus making it less likely that there were specific inter-denominational reasons behind the accusations.

The more recent research from the 2017 study in the Economic Journal argues that both Catholics and Protestants used the hunt for witches, regardless of the witch's denomination, in competitive efforts to expand power and influence.

In south-western Germany, between 1561 and 1670, there were 480 witch trials. Of the 480 trials that took place in southwestern Germany, 317 occurred in Catholic areas and 163 in Protestant territories. During the period from 1561 to 1670, at least 3,229 persons were executed for witchcraft in the German Southwest. Of this number, 702 were tried and executed in Protestant territories and 2,527 in Catholic territories.

Translation from the Hebrew: Witch or poisoner?

It has been argued that a translation choice in the King James Bible justified "horrific human rights violations and fuel[ed] the epidemic of witchcraft accusations and persecution across the globe". The translation issue concerned Exodus 22:18, "do not suffer a ...[either 1) poisoner or 2) witch] ...to live." Both the King James and the Geneva Bible, which precedes the King James version by 51 years, chose the word "witch" for this verse. The proper translation and definition of the Hebrew word in Exodus 22:18 was much debated during the time of the trials and witch-phobia.

1970s folklore emphasis

From the 1970s onward, there was a "massive explosion of scholarly enthusiasm" for the study of the Early Modern witch trials. This was partly because scholars from a variety of different disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, philosophy of science, criminology, literary theory, and feminist theory, all began to investigate the phenomenon and brought different insights to the subject. This was accompanied by analysis of the trial records and the socio-cultural contexts on which they emerged, allowing for varied understanding of the trials.

Functionalism

Inspired by ethnographically recorded witch trials that anthropologists observed happening in non-European parts of the world, various historians have sought a functional explanation for the Early Modern witch trials, thereby suggesting the social functions that the trials played within their communities. These studies have illustrated how accusations of witchcraft have played a role in releasing social tensions or in facilitating the termination of personal relationships that have become undesirable to one party.

Feminist interpretations

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, various feminist interpretations of the witch trials have been made and published. One of the earliest individuals to do so was the American Matilda Joslyn Gage, a writer who was deeply involved in the first-wave feminist movement for women's suffrage. In 1893, she published the book Woman, Church and State, which was criticized as "written in a tearing hurry and in time snatched from a political activism which left no space for original research". Likely influenced by the works of Jules Michelet about the Witch-Cult, she claimed that the witches persecuted in the Early Modern period were pagan priestesses adhering to an ancient religion venerating a Great Goddess. She also repeated the erroneous statement, taken from the works of several German authors, that nine million people had been killed in the witch hunt. The United States has become the centre of development for these feminist interpretations.

In 1973, two American second-wave feminists, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, published an extended pamphlet in which they put forward the idea that the women persecuted had been the traditional healers and midwives of the community, who were being deliberately eliminated by the male medical establishment. This theory disregarded the fact that the majority of those persecuted were neither healers nor midwives, and that in various parts of Europe these individuals were commonly among those encouraging the persecutions. In 1994, Anne Llewellyn Barstow published her book Witchcraze, which was later described by Scarre and Callow as "perhaps the most successful" attempt to portray the trials as a systematic male attack on women.

Other feminist historians have rejected this interpretation of events; historian Diane Purkiss described it as "not politically helpful" because it constantly portrays women as "helpless victims of patriarchy" and thus does not aid them in contemporary feminist struggles. She also condemned it for factual inaccuracy by highlighting that radical feminists adhering to it ignore the historicity of their claims, instead promoting it because it is perceived as authorising the continued struggle against patriarchal society. She asserted that many radical feminists nonetheless clung to it because of its "mythic significance" and firmly delineated structure between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Male and Female conflict and reaction to earlier feminist studies

An estimated 75% to 85% of those accused in the early modern witch trials were women, and there is certainly evidence of misogyny on the part of those persecuting witches, evident from quotes such as "[It is] not unreasonable that this scum of humanity, [witches], should be drawn chiefly from the feminine sex" (Nicholas Rémy, c. 1595) or "The Devil uses them so, because he knows that women love carnal pleasures, and he means to bind them to his allegiance by such agreeable provocations." Scholar Kurt Baschwitz, in his first monography on the subject (in Dutch, 1948), mentions this aspect of the witch trials even as "a war against old women".

Nevertheless, it has been argued that the supposedly misogynistic agenda of works on witchcraft has been greatly exaggerated, based on the selective repetition of a few relevant passages of the Malleus maleficarum. There are various reasons as to why this was the case. In Early Modern Europe, it was widely believed that women were less intelligent than men and more susceptible to sin. Many modern scholars argue that the witch hunts cannot be explained simplistically as an expression of male misogyny, as indeed women were frequently accused by other women, to the point that witch-hunts, at least at the local level of villages, have been described as having been driven primarily by "women's quarrels". Especially at the margins of Europe, in Iceland, Finland, Estonia, and Russia, the majority of those accused were male.

Barstow (1994) claimed that a combination of factors, including the greater value placed on men as workers in the increasingly wage-oriented economy, and a greater fear of women as inherently evil, loaded the scales against women, even when the charges against them were identical to those against men. Thurston (2001) saw this as a part of the general misogyny of the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, which had increased during what he described as "the persecuting culture" from which it had been in the Early Medieval. Gunnar Heinsohn and Otto Steiger, in a 1982 publication, speculated that witch-hunts targeted women skilled in midwifery specifically in an attempt to extinguish knowledge about birth control and "repopulate Europe" after the population catastrophe of the Black Death.

Were there any sorts of witches?

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the common belief among the educated sectors of the European populace was that there had never been any genuine cult of witches and all of those people who were persecuted and executed as such were innocent of the crime of witchcraft. However, at this time, various scholars suggested that there had been a real cult that had been persecuted by the Christian authorities, and it had pre-Christian origins. The first person to advance this theory was the German Professor of Criminal Law Karl Ernst Jarcke of the University of Berlin, who put forward the idea in 1828; he suggested that witchcraft had been a pre-Christian German religion that had degenerated into Satanism. Jarcke's ideas were picked up by the German historian Franz Josef Mone in 1839, although he argued that the cult's origins were Greek rather than Germanic.

In 1862, the Frenchman Jules Michelet published La Sorciere, in which he put forth the idea that the witches had been following a pagan religion. The theory achieved greater attention when it was taken up by the Egyptologist Margaret Murray, who published both The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921) and The God of the Witches (1931) in which she claimed that the witches had been following a pre-Christian religion which she termed "the Witch-Cult" and "Ritual Witchcraft".

Main article: Witch-cult hypothesis

Murray claimed that this faith was devoted to a pagan Horned God and involved the celebration of four Witches' Sabbaths each year: Halloween, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh. However, the majority of scholarly reviews of Murray's work produced at the time were largely critical, and her books never received support from experts in the Early Modern witch trials. Instead, from her early publications onward many of her ideas were challenged by those who highlighted her "factual errors and methodological failings".

We Neopagans now face a crisis. As new data appeared, historians altered their theories to account for it. We have not. Therefore an enormous gap has opened between the academic and the 'average' Pagan view of witchcraft. We continue to use of out-dated and poor writers, like Margaret Murray, Montague Summers, Gerald Gardner, and Jules Michelet. We avoid the somewhat dull academic texts that present solid research, preferring sensational writers who play to our emotions.

—Jenny Gibbons (1998)

However, the publication of the Murray thesis in the Encyclopaedia Britannica made it accessible to "journalists, film-makers popular novelists and thriller writers", who adopted it "enthusiastically". Influencing works of literature, it inspired writings by Aldous Huxley and Robert Graves. Subsequently, in 1939, an English occultist named Gerald Gardner claimed to have been initiated into a surviving group of the pagan Witch-Cult known as the New Forest Coven, although modern historical investigation has led scholars to believe that this coven was not ancient as Gardner believed, but was instead founded in the 1920s or 1930s by occultists wishing to fashion a revived Witch-Cult based upon Murray's theories. Taking this New Forest Coven's beliefs and practices as a basis, Gardner went on to found Gardnerian Wicca, one of the most prominent traditions in the contemporary pagan religion now known as Wicca, which revolves around the worship of a Horned God and Goddess, the celebration of festivals known as Sabbats, and the practice of ritual magic. He also went on to write several books about the historical Witch-Cult, Witchcraft Today (1954) and The Meaning of Witchcraft (1959), and in these books, Gardner used the phrase "the burning times" in reference to the European and North American witch trials.

In the early 20th century, a number of individuals and groups emerged in Europe, primarily Britain, and subsequently the United States as well, claiming to be the surviving remnants of the pagan Witch-Cult described in the works of Margaret Murray. The first of these actually appeared in the last few years of the 19th century, being a manuscript that American folklorist Charles Leland claimed he had been given by a woman who was a member of a group of witches worshipping the god Lucifer and goddess Diana in Tuscany, Italy. He published the work in 1899 as Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. Whilst historians and folklorists have accepted that there are folkloric elements to the gospel, none have accepted it as being the text of a genuine Tuscan religious group, and believe it to be of late-nineteenth-century composition.

Wiccans extended claims regarding the witch-cult in various ways, for instance by utilising the British folklore associating witches with prehistoric sites to assert that the witch-cult used to use such locations for religious rites, in doing so legitimising contemporary Wiccan use of them. By the 1990s, many Wiccans had come to recognise the inaccuracy of the witch-cult theory and had accepted it as a mythological origin story.

Footnotes

  1. "Why did Germany burn so many witches? The brutal force of economic competition". Quartz. Retrieved24 August 2018.
  2. "Beyond Halloween: Witches, devils, trials and executions". National Catholic Reporter. 25 October 2017. Retrieved24 August 2018.
  3. Per Scarre & Callow (2001), "Records suggest that in Europe, as a whole, about 80 per cent of trial defendants were women, though the ratio of women to men charged with the offence varied from place to place, and often, too, in one place over time."
  4. Hoak, Dale (1983). "The Great European Witch-Hunts: A Historical Perspective". American Journal of Sociology. 88 (6): 1270–1274. doi:10.1086/227806. PMID 12862082. S2CID 143032805.
  5. "Menopausal and post-menopausal women were disproportionally represented amongst the victims of the witch craze--and their over-representation is the more striking when we recall how rare women over fifty must have been in the population as a whole." Lyndal Roper Witch Craze (2004)p. 160
  6. Jones, Adam. "Case Study: The European Witch-Hunts, c. 1450–1750 and Witch-Hunts Today". Gendercide Watch. Retrieved19 October 2018.
  7. Thurston 2001. p. 01.
  8. mostly in the Holy Roman Empire, the British Isles and France, and to some extent in the European colonies in North America; largely excluding the Iberian Peninsula and Italy; "Inquisition Spain and Portugal, obsessed with heresy, ignored the witch craze. In Italy, witch trials were comparatively rare and did not involve torture and executions." Anne L. Barstow, Witchcraze: a New History of the European Witch Hunts, HarperCollins, 1995.
  9. "Clearly, there was an increase in sceptical voices during the Carolingian period, even if we take into account an increase in surviving sources." Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", p. 31 (2004). Wiley-Blackwell.
  10. "Christian theology underwent a major shift of attitude only during the 13th century. In his Summa contra Gentiles, Thomas Aquinas (1255–74) not only confirmed Augustine's semiotic theory, according to which spells, amulets or magical rituals indicated a secret pact with demons but gave the impression that sorcerers, through the support of the devil, could physically commit their crimes." Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", pp. 35–36 (2004). Wiley-Blackwell.
  11. Charles Molinier, L'Inquisition dans le Midi de la France au XIIIe et au XIVe siècle, étude sur les sources de son Histoire (1880), p. ii.
  12. Molinier (1880), p. 6
  13. Molinier (1880), p. xvi–xviii.
  14. HC Lea, A History of the Inquisition, Vol. III (1922), p. 455, 657. Lea includes the entire 1329 sentence reprinted in the original Latin. A Francophone writer and contemporary of N Remy, Lambert Daneau, considers "sortilegus" to have been shortened to become the French "sorcier" De Veneficis Quos Olim Sortilegos (1575), p. 14 and sorciers was the term used in the title of another contemporary Jean Bodin in an anti-witchcraft work written in French in 1580. Bodin, De la Demonomanie des Sorciers (1598 edition)
  15. Thurston 2001. p. 67,77.
  16. Matthew Champion, Scourging the Temple of God Parergon (2011) 28.1 p 9-10.
  17. Flagellum Haereticorum Fascinariorum p. 36. See translations and interpretation in Matthew Champion, Scourging the Temple of God Parergon (2011) 28.1 p 1-24.
  18. George L. Burr "The Literature of Witchcraft" (1890) p. 252.
  19. "... the doctrine of witchcraft crystallized during the middle third of the 15th century...(Ostorero et al. 1999).", Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", pp. 18–19 (2004). Wiley-Blackwell.
  20. The English translation is from this note to Summers' 1928 introduction Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Attached to front of Kramer's book is the 1484 Summis desiderantes affectibus, a papal bull of Pope Innocent VIII in which he approved the inquisition to move against witches who were explicitly accused of having "slain infants yet in the mother's womb" (abortion) and of "hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving." The Bull of Innocent VIII see Malleus Maleficarum translation by Montague Summers.
  22. See 2004 essay by Wolfgang Behringer on Malleus Maleficarum "first printed in... Speyer, by then a medium sized town on the Rhine."
  23. Jolly; Raudvere; Peters, eds. (2002). Witchcraft and magic in Europe: the Middle Ages. p. 241.
  24. Increase Mather, Cases Concerning Evil Spirits p. 272 Appended to his son's book, Wonders of the Invisible World, (1693)
  25. Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", p. 19 (2004). Wiley-Blackwell.
  26. "In Switzerland, the rustic 'forest cantons' of the original Confederation apparently remained unaffected by witch trials until after 1560.", Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", p. 19 (2004). Behringer, "Witches and Witch-hunts: a Global History", p. 21 (2004).
  27. Thurston 2001. p. 79.
  28. Ankarloo, Bengt, Witchcraft and magic in Europe. Vol. 4, The period of the witch trials, Athlone, London, 2002
  29. Thurston 2001, pp. 80–81.
  30. "even the Roman Inquisition recognized that abuses were common; in 1635 it admitted that "the Inquisition has found scarcely one trial conducted legally."", Midelfort, "Witch hunting in southwestern Germany, 1562–1684: the social and intellectual foundations", p. 28 (1972).
  31. "Doubts about their ability to prove witches unequivocally guilty according to due legal procedure, fears that they would invoke God's wrath against themselves and their subjects if they overstepped its bounds, and a certain humility in thinking that witchcraft was a matter best left up to God, all played a part in encouraging the Rothenburg councillors and their advisers to handle witchcraft cases with caution.", Rowlands, 'Witchcraft narratives in Germany: Rothenburg 1561–1652', p. 59 (2003). "Compelling legal reasons almost always also existed in specific cases to discourage the councillors and their advisers from taking action against sabbat-attenders.", Rowlands, 'Witchcraft narratives in Germany: Rothenburg 1561–1652', p. 57 (2003).
  32. "Witchcraft Cases other than Salem".
  33. "Va. Woman Seeks To Clear Witch of Pungo". USA Today. Associated Press. 9 July 2006.
  34. Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 69–70.
  35. Bath, Jo; Newton, John, eds. (2008). Witchcraft and the Act of 1604. Leiden: Brill. pp. 243–244. ISBN 9789004165281.
  36. Johnson, Noel D. and Mark Koyama, "Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witch Trials in France," The Journal of Law and Economics 57, no. 1 (February 2014): 77–112
  37. Johnson and Koyama, ""Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witch Trials in France," 2014
  38. 9 Geo. 2, c. 5.
  39. Levack, Brian P. (28 March 2013). The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780191648830.
  40. Robert Tombs (1996). "Collective Identities: Community and Religion". France 1814–1914. London: Longman. p. 245. ISBN 978-0-582-49314-8.
  41. Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, Volume LX, 10 August 1834, Number 17,057 (From the Nashville (Tenn.) Herald, of 22d July) (transcribed at http://www.topix.com/forum/city/jamestown-tn/TPAPB6U4LVF0JDQC8/p2
  42. History of Fentress County, Tennessee, Albert R. Hogue, compiled by the Fentress County Historical Society, p. 67 (transcription)
  43. Touring the East Tennessee Back-roads By Carolyn Sakowski, p. 212.(https://books.google.com/books?id=rLBrUbj02IcC&pg=PA212)
  44. "3,000 Lynched in Tanzania For 'Witchcraft' In Past Six Years". Huffington Post. 29 May 2012. Retrieved23 March 2015.
  45. MacFarlane, Alan. Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England. United Kingdom, Taylor & Francis, 2002.
  46. Medway 2001, p. 70.
  47. H.R. Trevor-Roper, The European Witch-Craze of The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and Other Essays, (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), 118.
  48. Camille Naish, Death Comes to the Maiden: Sex and Execution 1431–1933 (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 27.
  49. Henry Charles Lea, Witchcraft, p. 236 as quoted in Camille Naish, Death Comes to the Maiden: Sex and Execution 1431–1933 (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 28.
  50. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 32.
  51. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 34.
  52. FARMER, ALAN (2020). ACCESS TO HISTORY : the witchcraze of the 16th and 17th centuries second edition. HODDER EDUCATION. ISBN 978-1-5104-5911-3. OCLC 1148949640.
  53. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 12.
  54. Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 1, 21.
  55. Historical Dictionary of Stuart England, edited by Ronald H. Fritze and William B. Robison. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996. ISBN 978-0-313-28391-8. (p.552).
  56. Hutton 2010, p. 247. Scarre and Callow (2001) put forward 40,000 as an estimate for the number killed.(Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 1, 21) Levack (2006) came to an estimate of 45,000. Levack, Brian (2006). The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe Third Edition. Longman. Page 23. Hutton (2010) estimated that the numbers were between 40,000–50,000,(Hutton 2010, p. 247) Wolfgang Behringer and Lyndal Roper had independently calculated the number as being between 50,000–60,000.(Behringer 2004, p. 149; Roper 2004, pp. 6–7) In an earlier unpublished essay, Hutton counted local estimates, and in areas where estimates were unavailable attempted to extrapolate from nearby regions with similar demographics and attitudes towards witch hunting. "Estimates of Executions (based on Hutton's essay 'Counting the Witch Hunt')"..
  57. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 21; Hutton 2010, p. 248.
  58. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 34; Hutton 2010, p. 248.
  59. The history of the "nine million" estimate was researched by Wolfgang Behringer: Neun Millionen Hexen. Enstehung, Tradition und Kritik eines populären Mythos, in: Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 49. 1987, pp. 664–685, extensive summary on [1] Archived 20 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  60. Grimm, Jacob (1883 [1844]). Teutonic Mythology Volume III. Page 1067.
  61. Mackay, Charles (1841). Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions Volume II. Page 168.
  62. 'however incredible it may appear, the enormous sum of three thousand one hundred and ninety-two individuals were condemned and executed in Great Britain alone' "WITCHCRAFT". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842). NSW: National Library of Australia. 29 September 1832. p. 4. Retrieved30 September 2013.
  63. Norman Cohn rejected estimates in the hundreds of thousands as "fantastic exaggerations". Cohn 1975, p. 253
  64. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 22.
  65. http://www.thomas-hardye.dorset.sch.uk/documents/news_12/dan_horn.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  66. Langbein, John H. (1977). Torture and the Law of Proof. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 81 ff. ISBN 978-0-226-46806-8.
  67. Levack, Brain P. (1995). The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (2nd ed.). London: Longman. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-582-08069-0. See also Larner, Christina (1981). Enemies of God: The Witch-hunt in Scotland. London: Chatto and Windus. pp. 62–3. ISBN 978-0-7011-2424-3.
  68. A detailed account of Hopkins and his fellow witchfinder John Stearne can be found in Gaskill, Malcolm (2005). Witchfinders: A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01976-8.
  69. Deutscher, Thomas (1991). "The Role of The Episcopal Tribunal of Novara in The Suppression of Heresy and Witchcraft 1563–1615". Catholic Historical Review. 77 (3): 403–421. JSTOR 25023586.
  70. Seitz, Jonathan (2009). "'The Root is Hidden and the Material Uncertain': The Challenges of Persecuting Witchcraft in Early Modern Venice". Renaissance Quarterly. 62 (1): 102–129. doi:10.1086/598373. PMID 19618523. S2CID 6237431.
  71. Black, Christopher F. (2009). The Italian Inquisition. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-11706-6.
  72. Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 41–42; Behringer 2004, p. 88.
  73. Midelfort 1972.
  74. Behringer, Wolfgang (1999). "Climatic Change and Witch-Hunting: The Impact on The Little Ice Age on Mentalities". Climatic Change. 43: 335–351. doi:10.1023/A:1005554519604. S2CID 189869470.
  75. Fagan, Brian (2000). The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850. United States of America: Basic Books. pp. 47–61.
  76. Pfister, Christian; Brázdil, Rudolf (1999). "Climatic Variability in Sixteenth-Century Europe and its Social Dimension: A Synthesis". Climatic Change. 43: 5–53. doi:10.1023/A:1005585931899. S2CID 189869419.
  77. Lehmann, Hartmut (1988). "The Persecution of Witches as Restoration of Order: The Case of Germany, 1590s–1650s". Central European History. 21 (2): 107–121. doi:10.1017/S000893890001270X. S2CID 145501088.
  78. Behringer, Wolfgang (1999). "Climatic Change and Witch-Hunting: The Impact of The Little Ice Age on Mentalities". Climatic Change. 43: 335–351. doi:10.1023/A:1005554519604. S2CID 189869470.
  79. Oster, Emily (2004). "Witchcraft, Weather, and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe". Journal of Economic Perspectives. 18: 215–228. CiteSeerX10.1.1.526.7789. doi:10.1257/089533004773563502. S2CID 22483025.
  80. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 42.
  81. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 41.
  82. Durrant, Jonathan (2007). Witchcraft, Gender and Society in Early Modern Germany. Boston: Brill. pp. 15, 246.
  83. De Moor, Tine; Van Zanden, JAN Luiten (2010). "Girl power: The European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1". The Economic History Review. 63: 1–33. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.2009.00483.x.
  84. Levack, Brian P. (1995). The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe (Second Edition). London and New York: Longman. Pg. 156–157
  85. Miguel, Edward (2005). "Poverty and Witch Killing". Review of Economic Studies. 72 (4): 1153–1172. CiteSeerX10.1.1.370.6294. doi:10.1111/0034-6527.00365.
  86. Trevor-Roper 1969.
  87. Leeson, Peter T.; Russ, Jacob W. (1 March 2017). "Witch trials". The Economic Journal. 128 (613): 2066–2105. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12498. ISSN 1468-0297. S2CID 219395432.
  88. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 43.
  89. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 44.
  90. Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 44–45.
  91. Midelfort 1972, p. 31.
  92. Midelfort 1972, pp. 31–32.
  93. Foxcroft, Gary. "Hunting Witches." World Policy Journal 31, 1. 90–98 (2014)
  94. "Bible Gateway passage: Exodus 22:18 – 1599 Geneva Bible".
  95. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 2.
  96. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 2; Hutton 2010, p. 248.
  97. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 45.
  98. Hutton 1999. p. 141.
  99. Scarre & Callow 2001, pp. 57–58.
  100. Purkiss 1996, pp. 19–20; Hutton 1999, p. 342; Ehrenreich & English 2010.
  101. Purkiss 1996, p. 8.
  102. Barstow 1994.
  103. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 75.
  104. Purkiss 1996, p. 17.
  105. Purkiss 1996, pp. 11, 16.
  106. Gibbons, Jenny (1998) [2] "Recent Developments in the Study of the Great European Witch Hunt" in The Pomegranate No. 5, Lammas 1998.
  107. According to R. W. Thurston, 75–80% of the victims across both Europe and North America were women, Thurston 2001. p. 42. According to Anne Llewellyn Barstow, 80% of those accused and 85% of those executed in Europe were women. Barstow, Anne Llewellyn (1994) Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts San Francisco: Pandora. p. 23
  108. Jones, Adam (1999–2002)
  109. Klaits, Joseph. Servants of Satan: The Age of the Witch Hunts (1985), p. 68.
  110. Stark, Rodney (2003). "God's Enemies: Explaining the European Witch-Hunts". For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-Hunts, and the End of Slavery. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 201–288.
  111. 'On the whole, however, the literature of witchcraft conspicuously lacks any sustained concern for the gender issue; and the only reason for the view that it was extreme and outspoken in its anti-feminism is the tendency for those interested in this subject to read the relevant sections of the Malleus maleficarum and little or nothing else.' Clark, Thinking with Demons: the idea of witchcraft in early modern Europe, p. 116 (1999)
  112. Scarre & Callow 2001, p. 59; Thurston 2001, pp. 42–45.
  113. 'the theory that witch-hunting equals misogyny is embarrassed by the predominance of women witness against the accused', Purkis, The Witch in History, p. 92 (1996); Purkis provides detailed examples, and also demonstrates how some documents have been misread in a manner which attributes accusations or legal prosecution to men, when in fact the action was brought by a woman. "More numerous than midwives among the accused were women who were engaged in caring for other women's children. Lyndal Roper has shown that many witchcraft accusations in Ausburg in the late sixteenth and early 17th century arose out of conflicts between mothers and the lying-in maids who provided care for them and their infants for a number of weeks after birth. It was not unnatural for the mothers to project their anxieties about their own health, as well as the precarious health of their infants, on to these women. When some misfortune did occur, therefore, the lying-in maids were highly vulnerable to charges of having deprived the baby of nourishment or of having killed it. What is interesting about these accusations is that they originated in tensions among women rather than between men and women. The same can be said regarding many other accusations made against women for harming young children.", Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, p. 140 (2nd edition 1995)
  114. Gibbons 1998.
  115. "In Lorraine the majority were men, particularly when other men were on trial, yet women did testify in large numbers against other women, making up 43 per cent of witnesses in these cases on average, and predominating in 30 per cent of them.", Briggs, 'Witches & Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft', p. 264 (1998). "It appears that women were active in building up reputations by gossip, deploying counter-magic and accusing suspects; crystallization into formal prosecution, however, needed the intervention of men, preferably of fairly high status in the community.", ibid., p. 265. "The number of witchcraft quarrels that began between women may actually have been higher; in some cases, it appears that the husband as 'head of household' came forward to make statements on behalf of his wife, although the central quarrel had taken place between her and another woman.", Willis, Malevolent Nature, p. 36 (1995). "In Peter Rushton's examination of slander cases in the Durham church courts, women took action against other women who had labeled them witches in 61 percent of the cases.", ibid., p. 36. "J.A. Sharpe also notes the prevalence of women as accusers in seventeenth-century Yorkshire cases, concluding that 'on a village level witchcraft seems to have been something peculiarly enmeshed in women's quarrels.'14 To a considerable extent, then, village-level witch-hunting was women's work.', ibid., p. 36
  116. 'The widespread division of labour, which conceives of witches as female, and witch-doctors male, can hardly be explained by Christian influence. In some European countries, like Iceland, Finland, and Estonia, the idea of male witchcraft was dominant, and therefore most of the executed witches were male. As Kirsten Hastrup has demonstrated, only one of the twenty-two witches executed in Iceland was female. In Normandy three-quarters of the 380 known witchcraft defendants were male.', Behringer, 'Witches and Witch-Hunts: a global history', p. 39 (2004)
  117. Barstow, Anne Llewellyn (1994) Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts San Francisco: Pandora.
  118. Thurston 2001. pp. 42–45.
  119. Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: The Elimination of Medieval Birth Control and the Witch Trials of Modern Times, International Journal of Women's Studies, 3, May 1982, pp. 193–214.Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: "Witchcraft, Population Catastrophe and Economic Crisis in Renaissance Europe: An Alternative Macroeconomic Explanation.", University of Bremen 2004 (download) Gunnar Heinsohn/Otto Steiger: Birth Control: The Political-Economic Rationale Behind Jean Bodin's "Démonomanie", in: History of Political Economy, 31, No. 3, pp. 423–448; Heinsohn, G. (2005): "Population, Conquest and Terror in the 21st Century." webcitation.com Mainstream scholarship has remained critical of this "macroeconomic approach", e.g. Walter Rummel: 'Weise' Frauen und 'weise' Männer im Kampf gegen Hexerei. Die Widerlegung einer modernen Fabel. In: Christof Dipper, Lutz Klinkhammer und Alexander Nützenadel: Europäische Sozialgeschichte. Festschrift für Wolfgang Schieder (= Historische Forschungen 68), Berlin 2000, pp. 353–375, historicum.net; "there is no evidence that the majority of those accused were healers and midwives; in England and also some parts of the Continent, midwives were more than likely to be found helping witch-hunters." (Purkiss 1996, p. 8)
  120. Cohn 1975, p. 103.
  121. Cohn 1975, pp. 103–104; Purkiss 1996, p. 34; Hutton 1999, p. 136.
  122. Cohn 1975, p. 104; Hutton 1999, pp. 136–137.
  123. Murray 1952; Murray 1962.
  124. Sheppard 2013, p. 169.
  125. Hutton 1999, p. 198.
  126. Eliade 1975, p. 152.
  127. Simpson 1994, p. 89.
  128. Heselton 2004.
  129. Gardner 1954. p. 139.
  130. See for instance Hutton 1999. pp. 142–148 and Magliocco 2002.
  131. Doyle White 2014, p. 68.
  132. Simpson 1994, p. 95.

Bibliography

Witch trials in the early modern period Article Talk Language Watch Edit Prosecutions for the crime of witchcraft reached a highpoint from 1580 to 1630 during the Counter Reformation and the European wars of religion when an estimated 50 000 1 2 people were executed with some regions burning those convicted at the stake of whom roughly 80 were women 3 4 and most often over the age of 40 5 6 7 8 Contents 1 Medieval background 1 1 Christian doctrine 1 2 A branch of the inquisition in southern France 1 3 14th century 1 4 15th century trials and the growth of the new heterodox view 1 4 1 1486 Malleus Maleficarum 2 Peak of the trials 1560 1630 3 The Pendle witch trials of 1612 4 Decline of the trials 1650 1750 4 1 Sporadic witch hunts after 1750 5 Procedures and punishments 5 1 Evidence 5 2 Interrogations and torture 5 3 Punishments 6 Estimates of the total number of executions 7 Causes and interpretations 7 1 Regional differences 7 2 Socio political turmoil 7 3 Catholic versus Protestant conflict 7 4 Translation from the Hebrew Witch or poisoner 7 5 1970s folklore emphasis 7 6 Functionalism 7 7 Feminist interpretations 7 8 Male and Female conflict and reaction to earlier feminist studies 7 9 Were there any sorts of witches 8 Witch trials by country or region 9 See also 10 References 10 1 Footnotes 10 2 Bibliography 11 Further reading 12 External linksMedieval background EditChristian doctrine Edit Main articles Christianity and paganism and Christian views on magic Throughout the medieval era mainstream Christian doctrine had denied the existence of witches and witchcraft condemning it as pagan superstition 9 Some have argued that the work of the Dominican Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century helped lay the groundwork for a shift in Christian doctrine by which certain Christian theologians eventually began to accept the possibility of collaboration with devil s resulting in a person obtaining certain real supernatural powers 10 Dominican Inquisitors and the Growth of Witch phobia A branch of the inquisition in southern France Edit In 1233 a papal bull by Gregory IX established a new branch of the inquisition in Toulouse France to be led by the Dominicans It was intended to prosecute Christian groups considered heretical such as the Cathars and the Waldensians 11 The Dominicans eventually evolved into the most zealous prosecutors of persons accused of witchcraft in the years leading up to the Reformation Records were usually kept by the French inquisitors but the majority of these did not survive and one historian working in 1880 Charles Molinier refers to the surviving records as only scanty debris 12 Molinier notes that the inquisitors themselves describe their attempts to carefully safeguard their records especially when moving from town to town The inquisitors were widely hated and would be ambushed on the road but their records were more often the target than the inquisitors themselves plus desireux encore de ravir les papiers que porte le juge que de le faire perir lui meme better to take the papers the judge carries than to make the judge himself perish The records seem to have often been targeted by the accused or their friends and family wishing to thereby sabotage the proceedings or failing that to spare their reputations and the reputations of their descendants 13 This would be all the more true of those accused of witchcraft Difficulty in understanding the larger witchcraft trials to come in later centuries is deciding how much can be extrapolated from what remains 14th century Edit In 1329 with the papacy in nearby Avignon the inquisitor of Carcassonne sentenced a monk to the dungeon for life and the sentence refers to multas et diversas daemonum conjurationes et invocationes and frequently uses the same Latin synonym for witchcraft sortilegia found on the title page of Nicolas Remy s work from 1595 where it is claimed that 900 persons were executed for sortilegii crimen 14 15th century trials and the growth of the new heterodox view Edit The skeptical Canon Episcopi retained many supporters and still seems to have been supported by the theological faculty at the University of Paris in their decree from 1398 and was never officially repudiated by a majority of bishops within the papal lands nor even by the Council of Trent which immediately preceded the peak of the trials But in 1428 the Valais witch trials lasting six to eight years started in the French speaking lower Valais and eventually spread to German speaking regions This time period also coincided with the Council of Basel 1431 1437 and some scholars have suggested a new anti witchcraft doctrinal view may have spread among certain theologians and inquisitors in attendance at this council as the Valais trials were discussed 15 Not long after a cluster of powerful opponents of the Canon Episcopi emerged a Dominican inquisitor in Carcassonne named Jean Vinet the Bishop of Avila Alfonso Tostado and another Dominican Inquisitor named Nicholas Jacquier It is unclear whether the three men were aware of each other s work The coevolution of their shared view centres around a common challenge disbelief in the reality of demonic activity in the world 16 Nicholas Jacquier s lengthy and complex argument against the Canon Episcopi was written in Latin It began as a tract in 1452 and was expanded into a fuller monograph in 1458 Many copies seem to have been made by hand nine manuscript copies still exist but it was not printed until 1561 17 18 19 Jacquier describes a number of trials he personally witnessed including one of a man named Guillaume Edelin against whom the main charge seems to have been that he had preached a sermon in support of the Canon Episcopi claiming that witchcraft was merely an illusion Edeline eventually recanted this view most likely under torture Title page of the seventh Cologne edition of the Malleus Maleficarum 1520 from the University of Sydney Library The Latin title is MALLEUS MALEFICARUM Maleficas amp earum haeresim ut phramea potentissima conterens Generally translated into English as The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches and their heresy as with a two edged sword 20 1486 Malleus Maleficarum Edit The most important and influential book which promoted the new heterodox view was the Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer Kramer begins his work in opposition to the Canon Episcopi but oddly he does not cite Jacquier and he may not have been aware of his work 21 Like most witch phobic writers Kramer had met strong resistance by those who opposed his heterodox view this inspired him to write his work as both propaganda and a manual for like minded zealots The Gutenberg printing press had only recently been invented along the Rhine River and Kramer fully utilized it to shepherd his work into print and spread the ideas that had been developed by inquisitors and theologians in France into the Rhineland 22 The theological views espoused by Kramer were influential but remained contested and an early edition of the book even appeared on a list of those banned by the Church in 1490 23 Nonetheless Malleus Maleficarum was printed 13 times between 1486 and 1520 and following a 50 year pause that coincided with the height of the Protestant reformations it was printed again another 16 times 1574 1669 in the decades following the important Council of Trent which had remained silent with regard to Kramer s theological views It inspired many similar works such as an influential work by Jean Bodin and was cited as late as 1692 by Increase Mather then president of Harvard College 24 25 26 It is unknown if a degree of alarm at the extreme superstition and anti witchcraft views expressed by Kramer in the Malleus Maleficarum may have been one of the numerous factors that helped prepare the ground for the Protestant Reformation Peak of the trials 1560 1630 EditThe period of the European witch trials with the largest number of fatalities seems to have occurred between 1560 and 1630 27 Authors have debated whether witch trials were more intense in Catholic or Protestant regions However the intensity of the persecutions had not so much to do with Catholicism or Protestantism as such because there are examples of both more intense and less intense witchcraft persecutions in both the Catholic and Protestant regions of Europe In Catholic Spain and Portugal for example the numbers of witch trials were few because the Spanish and the Portuguese Inquisition preferred to focus on the crime of public heresy rather than the crime of witchcraft whereas Protestant Scotland had a much larger number of witchcraft trials In contrast the witch trials in the Protestant Netherlands stopped earlier and they were among the least numerous in Europe while the large scale mass witch trials which took place in the autonomous territories of the Catholic prince bishops in Southern Germany were infamous in all of the Western world and the contemporary writer Herman Loher described how they affected the population within them 28 The Roman Catholic subjects farmers winegrowers and artisans in the episcopal lands are the most terrified people on earth since the false witch trials affect the German episcopal lands incomparably more than France Spain Italy or Protestants 28 The mass witch trials which took place in Southern Catholic Germany in waves between the 1560s and the 1620s could continue for years and result in hundreds of executions of all sexes ages and classes These included the Trier witch trials 1581 1593 the Fulda witch trials 1603 1606 the Eichstatt witch trials 1613 1630 the Wurzburg witch trials 1626 1631 and the Bamberg witch trials 1626 1631 In 1590 the North Berwick witch trials occurred in Scotland and were of particular note as the king James VI became involved himself James had developed a fear that witches planned to kill him after he suffered from storms while traveling to Denmark in order to claim his bride Anne earlier that year Returning to Scotland the king heard of trials that were occurring in North Berwick and ordered the suspects to be brought to him he subsequently believed that a nobleman Francis Stewart 5th Earl of Bothwell was a witch and after the latter fled in fear of his life he was outlawed as a traitor The king subsequently set up royal commissions to hunt down witches in his realm recommending torture in dealing with suspects and in 1597 he wrote a book about the menace that witches posed to society entitled Daemonologie 29 The more remote parts of Europe as well as North America were reached by the witch panic later in the 17th century among them being the Salzburg witch trials the Swedish Torsaker witch trials and somewhat later in 1692 the Salem witch trials in Colonial New England The Pendle witch trials of 1612 EditFurther information Pendle witches The Pendle witch trials are some of the most prominent in English history resulting in the hanging of ten of the eleven who were tried Decline of the trials 1650 1750 EditFurther information Protests against early modern witch trials There had never been a lack of skepticism regarding the trials In 1635 the authorities of the Roman Inquisition acknowledged its own trials had found scarcely one trial conducted legally 30 In the middle of the 17th century the difficulty in proving witchcraft according to the legal process contributed to the councilors of Rothenburg German following advice to treat witchcraft cases with caution 31 Although the witch trials had begun to fade out across much of Europe by the mid 17th century they continued on the fringes of Europe and in the American Colonies In the Nordic countries the late 17th century saw the peak of the trials in a number of areas the Torsaker witch trials of Sweden 1674 where 71 people were executed for witchcraft in a single day the peak of witch hunting in Swedish Finland 27 and the Salzburg witch trials in Austria where 139 people were executed from 1675 to 1690 The 1692 Salem witch trials were a brief outburst of witch phobia which occurred in the New World when the practice was waning in Europe In the 1690s Winifred King Benham and her daughter Winifred were thrice tried for witchcraft in Wallingford Connecticut the last of such trials in New England Even though they were found innocent they were compelled to leave Wallingford and settle in Staten Island New York 32 In 1706 Grace Sherwood of Virginia was tried by ducking and jailed for allegedly being a witch 33 Rationalist historians in the 18th century came to the opinion that the use of torture had resulted in erroneous testimony 34 Witch trials became scant in the second half of the 17th century and their growing disfavor eventually resulted in the British Witchcraft Act 1735 which formally ended witch trials in Great Britain 35 In France scholars have found that with increased fiscal capacity and a stronger central government the witchcraft accusations began to decline 36 The witch trials that occurred there were symptomatic of a weak legal system and witches were most likely to be tried and convicted in regions where magistrates departed from established legal statutes 37 During the early 18th century the practice subsided Jane Wenham was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England in 1712 but was pardoned after her conviction and set free The last execution for witchcraft in England took place in 1716 when Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth were hanged Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1727 The Witchcraft Act of 1735 put an end to the traditional form of witchcraft as a legal offense in Britain Those accused under the new act were restricted to those that pretended to be able to conjure spirits generally being the most dubious professional fortune tellers and mediums and punishment was light 38 In Austria Maria Theresa outlawed witch burning and torture in 1768 The last capital trial that of Maria Pauer occurred in 1750 in Salzburg which was then outside the Austrian domain 39 Sporadic witch hunts after 1750 Edit In the later 18th century witchcraft had ceased to be considered a criminal offense throughout Europe but there are a number of cases which were not technically witch trials but are suspected to have involved belief in witches at least behind the scenes Thus in 1782 Anna Goldi was executed in Glarus Switzerland officially for poisoning her employer believed she had practiced witchcraft on his daughter a ruling at the time widely denounced throughout Switzerland and Germany as judicial murder Like Anna Goldi Barbara Zdunk was executed in 1811 in Prussia not technically for witchcraft but for arson citation needed In Poland the Doruchow witch trials occurred in 1783 and the execution of two additional women for sorcery in 1793 tried by a legal court but with dubious legitimacy citation needed Despite the official ending of the trials for witchcraft there would still be occasional unofficial killings of those accused in parts of Europe such as was seen in the cases of Anna Klemens in Denmark 1800 Krystyna Ceynowa in Poland 1836 and Dummy the Witch of Sible Hedingham in England 1863 In France there was sporadic violence and even murder in the 1830s with one woman reportedly burnt in a village square in Nord 40 In the 1830s a prosecution for witchcraft was commenced against a man in Fentress County Tennessee named either Joseph or William Stout based upon his alleged influence over the health of a young woman The case against the supposed witch was dismissed upon the failure of the alleged victim who had sworn out a warrant against him to appear for the trial However some of his other accusers were convicted on criminal charges for their part in the matter and various libel actions were brought 41 42 43 In 1895 Bridget Cleary was beaten and burned to death by her husband in Ireland because he suspected that fairies had taken the real Bridget and replaced her with a witch The persecution of those believed to perform malevolent sorcery against their neighbors continued into the 20th century In 1997 two Russian farmers killed a woman and injured five other members of her family after believing that they had used folk magic against them 27 It has been reported that more than 3 000 people were killed by lynch mobs in Tanzania between 2005 and 2011 for allegedly being witches 44 Procedures and punishments EditEvidence Edit Peculiar standards applied to witchcraft allowing certain types of evidence that are now ways relating Fact and done many Years before There was no possibility to offer alibi as a defense because witchcraft did not require the presence of the accused at the scene Witnesses were called to testify to motives and effects because it was believed that witnessing the invisible force of witchcraft was impossible half proofes are to be allowed and are good causes of suspicion 45 Interrogations and torture Edit Various acts of torture were used against accused witches to coerce confessions and cause them to provide names of alleged co conspirators Most historians agree that the majority of those persecuted in these witch trials were innocent of any involvement in Devil worship 46 The torture of witches began to increase in frequency after 1468 when the Pope declared witchcraft to be crimen exceptum and thereby removed all legal limits on the application of torture in cases where evidence was difficult to find 47 In Italy an accused witch was deprived of sleep for periods up to forty hours This technique was also used in England but without a limitation on time 48 Sexual humiliation was used such as forced sitting on red hot stools with the claim that the accused woman would not perform sexual acts with the devil 49 In most cases those who endured the torture without confessing were released 50 The use of torture has been identified as a key factor in converting the trial of one accused witch into a wider social panic as those being tortured were more likely to accuse a wide array of other local individuals of also being witches 50 Burning of three witches in Baden Switzerland 1585 by Johann Jakob Wick The burning of a French midwife in a cage filled with black cats Punishments Edit A variety of different punishments were employed for those found guilty of witchcraft including imprisonment flogging fines or exile 51 Non capital punishments especially for a first offence was most common in England Prior to 1542 Church courts dealt with most cases in England and most sanctions were directed more to penance and atonement than harsh punishments Often the guilty party was ordered to attend the parish church wearing a white sheet and carrying a wand and swear to lead a reformed life 52 The Old Testament s book of Exodus 22 18 states Thou shalt not permit a sorceress to live 53 Many faced capital punishment for witchcraft either by burning at the stake hanging or beheading 54 Similarly in New England people convicted of witchcraft were hanged 55 Estimates of the total number of executions EditThe scholarly consensus on the total number of executions for witchcraft ranges from 40 000 to 60 000 56 not including unofficial lynchings of accused witches which went unrecorded but are nevertheless believed to have been somewhat rare in the Early Modern period 57 It would also have been the case that various individuals would have died as a result of the unsanitary conditions of their imprisonment but again this is not recorded within the number of executions 58 Attempts at estimating the total number of executions for witchcraft have a history going back to the end of the period of witch hunts in the 18th century A scholarly consensus only emerges in the second half of the 20th century and historical estimates vary wildly depending on the method used Early estimates tend to be highly exaggerated as they were still part of rhetorical arguments against the persecution of witches rather than purely historical scholarship Notably a figure of nine million victims was given by Gottfried Christian Voigt in 1784 in an argument criticizing Voltaire s estimate of several hundred thousand as too low Voigt s number has shown remarkably resilient as an influential popular myth surviving well into the 20th century especially in feminist and neo pagan literature 59 In the 19th century some scholars were agnostic for instance Jacob Grimm 1844 talked of countless victims 60 and Charles Mackay 1841 named thousands upon thousands 61 By contrast a popular news report of 1832 cited a number of 3 192 victims in Great Britain alone 62 In the early 20th century some scholarly estimates on the number of executions still ranged in the hundreds of thousands The estimate was only reliably placed below 100 000 in scholarship of the 1970s 63 Causes and interpretations Edit The Witch No 1 c 1892 lithograph by Joseph E Baker The Witch No 2 c 1892 lithograph by Joseph E Baker The Witch No 3 c 1892 lithograph by Joseph E Baker Regional differences Edit There were many regional differences in the manner in which the witch trials occurred The trials themselves emerged sporadically flaring up in some areas but neighbouring areas remaining largely unaffected 64 In general there seems to have been less witch phobia in the papal lands of Italy and Spain in comparison to France and the Holy Roman Empire 65 There was much regional variation within the British Isles In Ireland for example there were few trials The malefizhaus of Bamberg Germany where suspected witches were held and interrogated 1627 engraving There are particularly important differences between the English and continental witch hunting traditions In England the use of torture was rare and the methods far more restrained The country formally permitted it only when authorized by the monarch and no more than 81 torture warrants were issued for all offenses throughout English history 66 The death toll in Scotland dwarfed that of England 67 It is also apparent from an episode of English history that during the civil war in the early 1640s witch hunters emerged the most notorious of whom was Matthew Hopkins from East Anglia and proclaimed himself the Witchfinder General 68 Italy has had fewer witchcraft accusations and even fewer cases where witch trials ended in execution In 1542 the establishment of the Roman Catholic Inquisition effectively restrained secular courts under its influence from liberal application of torture and execution 69 The methodological Instructio which served as an appropriate manual for witch hunting cautioned against hasty convictions and careless executions of the accused In contrast with other parts of Europe trials by the Venetian Holy Office never saw conviction for the crime of malevolent witchcraft or maleficio 70 Because the notion of diabolical cults was not credible to either popular culture or Catholic inquisitorial theology mass accusations and belief in Witches Sabbath never took root in areas under such inquisitorial influence 71 The number of people tried for witchcraft between the years of 1500 1700 by region Holy Roman Empire 50 000 Poland 15 000 Switzerland 9 000 French Speaking Europe 10 000 Spanish and Italian peninsulas 10 000 Scandinavia 4 000 citation needed Socio political turmoil Edit Various suggestions have been made that the witch trials emerged as a response to socio political turmoil in the Early Modern world One form of this is that the prosecution of witches was a reaction to a disaster that had befallen the community such as crop failure war or disease 72 For instance Midelfort suggested that in southwestern Germany war and famine destabilised local communities resulting in the witch prosecutions of the 1620s 73 Behringer also suggests an increase in witch prosecutions due to socio political destabilization stressing the Little Ice Age s effects on food shortages and the subsequent use of witches as scapegoats for consequences of climatic changes 74 The Little Ice Age lasting from about 1300 to 1850 75 is characterized by temperatures and precipitation levels lower than the 1901 1960 average 76 Historians such as Wolfgang Behringer Emily Oster and Hartmut Lehmann argue that these cooling temperatures brought about crop failure war and disease and that witches were subsequently blamed for this turmoil 77 78 79 Historical temperature indexes and witch trial data indicate that generally as temperature decreased during this period witch trials increased 79 Additionally the peaks of witchcraft persecutions overlap with hunger crises that occurred in 1570 and 1580 the latter lasting a decade 78 Problematically for these theories it has been highlighted that in that region the witch hunts declined during the 1630s at a time when the communities living there were facing increased disaster as a result of plague famine economic collapse and the Thirty Years War 80 Furthermore this scenario would clearly not offer a universal explanation for trials also took place in areas which were free from war famine or pestilence 81 Additionally these theories particularly Behringer s have been labeled as oversimplified 82 Although there is evidence that the Little Ice Age and subsequent famine and disease was likely a contributing factor to increase in witch persecution Durrant argues that one cannot make a direct link between these problems and witch persecutions in all contexts 82 Moreover the average age at first marriage had gradually risen by the late sixteenth century the population had stabilized after a period of growth and availability of jobs and land had lessened In the last decades of the century the age at marriage had climbed to averages of 25 for women and 27 for men in England and the Low Countries as more people married later or remained unmarried due to lack of money or resources and a decline in living standards and these averages remained high for nearly two centuries and averages across Northwestern Europe had done likewise 83 The convents were closed during the Protestant Reformation which displaced many nuns Many communities saw the proportion of unmarried women climb from less than 10 to 20 and in some cases as high as 30 whom few communities knew how to accommodate economically 84 Miguel 2003 argues that witch killings may be a process of eliminating the financial burdens of a family or society via elimination of the older women that need to be fed 85 and an increase in unmarried women would enhance this process Catholic versus Protestant conflict Edit Further information Counter Reformation The English historian Hugh Trevor Roper advocated the idea that the witch trials emerged as part of the conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestants in Early Modern Europe 86 A 2017 study in the Economic Journal examining more than 43 000 people tried for witchcraft across 21 European countries over a period of five and a half centuries found that more intense religious market contestation led to more intense witch trial activity And compared to religious market contestation the factors that existing hypotheses claim were important for witch trial activity weather income and state capacity were not 87 Until recently this theory received limited support from other experts in the subject 88 This is because there is little evidence that either Roman Catholics were accusing Protestants of witchcraft or that Protestants were accusing Roman Catholics 88 Furthermore the witch trials regularly occurred in regions with little or no inter denominational strife and which were largely religiously homogenous such as Essex Lowland Scotland Geneva Venice and the Spanish Basque Country 89 There is also some evidence particularly from the Holy Roman Empire in which adjacent Roman Catholic and Protestant territories were exchanging information on alleged local witches viewing them as a common threat to both 89 Additionally many prosecutions were instigated not by the religious or secular authorities but by popular demands from within the population thus making it less likely that there were specific inter denominational reasons behind the accusations 90 The more recent research from the 2017 study in the Economic Journal argues that both Catholics and Protestants used the hunt for witches regardless of the witch s denomination in competitive efforts to expand power and influence In south western Germany between 1561 and 1670 there were 480 witch trials Of the 480 trials that took place in southwestern Germany 317 occurred in Catholic areas and 163 in Protestant territories 91 During the period from 1561 to 1670 at least 3 229 persons were executed for witchcraft in the German Southwest Of this number 702 were tried and executed in Protestant territories and 2 527 in Catholic territories 92 Translation from the Hebrew Witch or poisoner Edit It has been argued that a translation choice in the King James Bible justified horrific human rights violations and fuel ed the epidemic of witchcraft accusations and persecution across the globe 93 The translation issue concerned Exodus 22 18 do not suffer a either 1 poisoner or 2 witch to live Both the King James and the Geneva Bible which precedes the King James version by 51 years chose the word witch for this verse The proper translation and definition of the Hebrew word in Exodus 22 18 was much debated during the time of the trials and witch phobia 94 1970s folklore emphasis Edit From the 1970s onward there was a massive explosion of scholarly enthusiasm for the study of the Early Modern witch trials 95 This was partly because scholars from a variety of different disciplines including sociology anthropology cultural studies philosophy philosophy of science criminology literary theory and feminist theory all began to investigate the phenomenon and brought different insights to the subject 96 This was accompanied by analysis of the trial records and the socio cultural contexts on which they emerged allowing for varied understanding of the trials 95 Functionalism Edit Inspired by ethnographically recorded witch trials that anthropologists observed happening in non European parts of the world various historians have sought a functional explanation for the Early Modern witch trials thereby suggesting the social functions that the trials played within their communities 97 These studies have illustrated how accusations of witchcraft have played a role in releasing social tensions or in facilitating the termination of personal relationships that have become undesirable to one party 97 Feminist interpretations Edit Main article Feminist interpretations of the Early Modern witch trials Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries various feminist interpretations of the witch trials have been made and published One of the earliest individuals to do so was the American Matilda Joslyn Gage a writer who was deeply involved in the first wave feminist movement for women s suffrage In 1893 she published the book Woman Church and State which was criticized as written in a tearing hurry and in time snatched from a political activism which left no space for original research 98 Likely influenced by the works of Jules Michelet about the Witch Cult she claimed that the witches persecuted in the Early Modern period were pagan priestesses adhering to an ancient religion venerating a Great Goddess She also repeated the erroneous statement taken from the works of several German authors that nine million people had been killed in the witch hunt 98 The United States has become the centre of development for these feminist interpretations 99 In 1973 two American second wave feminists Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English published an extended pamphlet in which they put forward the idea that the women persecuted had been the traditional healers and midwives of the community who were being deliberately eliminated by the male medical establishment 100 This theory disregarded the fact that the majority of those persecuted were neither healers nor midwives and that in various parts of Europe these individuals were commonly among those encouraging the persecutions 101 In 1994 Anne Llewellyn Barstow published her book Witchcraze 102 which was later described by Scarre and Callow as perhaps the most successful attempt to portray the trials as a systematic male attack on women 103 Other feminist historians have rejected this interpretation of events historian Diane Purkiss described it as not politically helpful because it constantly portrays women as helpless victims of patriarchy and thus does not aid them in contemporary feminist struggles 104 She also condemned it for factual inaccuracy by highlighting that radical feminists adhering to it ignore the historicity of their claims instead promoting it because it is perceived as authorising the continued struggle against patriarchal society 105 She asserted that many radical feminists nonetheless clung to it because of its mythic significance and firmly delineated structure between the oppressor and the oppressed 101 Male and Female conflict and reaction to earlier feminist studies Edit An estimated 75 to 85 of those accused in the early modern witch trials were women 3 106 107 108 and there is certainly evidence of misogyny on the part of those persecuting witches evident from quotes such as It is not unreasonable that this scum of humanity witches should be drawn chiefly from the feminine sex Nicholas Remy c 1595 or The Devil uses them so because he knows that women love carnal pleasures and he means to bind them to his allegiance by such agreeable provocations 109 Scholar Kurt Baschwitz in his first monography on the subject in Dutch 1948 mentions this aspect of the witch trials even as a war against old women Nevertheless it has been argued that the supposedly misogynistic agenda of works on witchcraft has been greatly exaggerated based on the selective repetition of a few relevant passages of the Malleus maleficarum 110 111 There are various reasons as to why this was the case In Early Modern Europe it was widely believed that women were less intelligent than men and more susceptible to sin 112 Many modern scholars argue that the witch hunts cannot be explained simplistically as an expression of male misogyny as indeed women were frequently accused by other women 113 114 to the point that witch hunts at least at the local level of villages have been described as having been driven primarily by women s quarrels 115 Especially at the margins of Europe in Iceland Finland Estonia and Russia the majority of those accused were male 116 Barstow 1994 claimed that a combination of factors including the greater value placed on men as workers in the increasingly wage oriented economy and a greater fear of women as inherently evil loaded the scales against women even when the charges against them were identical to those against men 117 Thurston 2001 saw this as a part of the general misogyny of the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods which had increased during what he described as the persecuting culture from which it had been in the Early Medieval 118 Gunnar Heinsohn and Otto Steiger in a 1982 publication speculated that witch hunts targeted women skilled in midwifery specifically in an attempt to extinguish knowledge about birth control and repopulate Europe after the population catastrophe of the Black Death 119 Were there any sorts of witches Edit Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the common belief among the educated sectors of the European populace was that there had never been any genuine cult of witches and all of those people who were persecuted and executed as such were innocent of the crime of witchcraft 120 However at this time various scholars suggested that there had been a real cult that had been persecuted by the Christian authorities and it had pre Christian origins The first person to advance this theory was the German Professor of Criminal Law Karl Ernst Jarcke of the University of Berlin who put forward the idea in 1828 he suggested that witchcraft had been a pre Christian German religion that had degenerated into Satanism 121 Jarcke s ideas were picked up by the German historian Franz Josef Mone in 1839 although he argued that the cult s origins were Greek rather than Germanic 122 In 1862 the Frenchman Jules Michelet published La Sorciere in which he put forth the idea that the witches had been following a pagan religion The theory achieved greater attention when it was taken up by the Egyptologist Margaret Murray who published both The Witch Cult in Western Europe 1921 and The God of the Witches 1931 in which she claimed that the witches had been following a pre Christian religion which she termed the Witch Cult and Ritual Witchcraft Main article Witch cult hypothesis Murray claimed that this faith was devoted to a pagan Horned God and involved the celebration of four Witches Sabbaths each year Halloween Imbolc Beltane and Lughnasadh 123 However the majority of scholarly reviews of Murray s work produced at the time were largely critical 124 and her books never received support from experts in the Early Modern witch trials 125 Instead from her early publications onward many of her ideas were challenged by those who highlighted her factual errors and methodological failings 126 We Neopagans now face a crisis As new data appeared historians altered their theories to account for it We have not Therefore an enormous gap has opened between the academic and the average Pagan view of witchcraft We continue to use of out dated and poor writers like Margaret Murray Montague Summers Gerald Gardner and Jules Michelet We avoid the somewhat dull academic texts that present solid research preferring sensational writers who play to our emotions Jenny Gibbons 1998 114 However the publication of the Murray thesis in the Encyclopaedia Britannica made it accessible to journalists film makers popular novelists and thriller writers who adopted it enthusiastically 127 Influencing works of literature it inspired writings by Aldous Huxley and Robert Graves 127 Subsequently in 1939 an English occultist named Gerald Gardner claimed to have been initiated into a surviving group of the pagan Witch Cult known as the New Forest Coven although modern historical investigation has led scholars to believe that this coven was not ancient as Gardner believed but was instead founded in the 1920s or 1930s by occultists wishing to fashion a revived Witch Cult based upon Murray s theories 128 Taking this New Forest Coven s beliefs and practices as a basis Gardner went on to found Gardnerian Wicca one of the most prominent traditions in the contemporary pagan religion now known as Wicca which revolves around the worship of a Horned God and Goddess the celebration of festivals known as Sabbats and the practice of ritual magic He also went on to write several books about the historical Witch Cult Witchcraft Today 1954 and The Meaning of Witchcraft 1959 and in these books Gardner used the phrase the burning times in reference to the European and North American witch trials 129 In the early 20th century a number of individuals and groups emerged in Europe primarily Britain and subsequently the United States as well claiming to be the surviving remnants of the pagan Witch Cult described in the works of Margaret Murray The first of these actually appeared in the last few years of the 19th century being a manuscript that American folklorist Charles Leland claimed he had been given by a woman who was a member of a group of witches worshipping the god Lucifer and goddess Diana in Tuscany Italy He published the work in 1899 as Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches Whilst historians and folklorists have accepted that there are folkloric elements to the gospel none have accepted it as being the text of a genuine Tuscan religious group and believe it to be of late nineteenth century composition 130 Wiccans extended claims regarding the witch cult in various ways for instance by utilising the British folklore associating witches with prehistoric sites to assert that the witch cult used to use such locations for religious rites in doing so legitimising contemporary Wiccan use of them 131 By the 1990s many Wiccans had come to recognise the inaccuracy of the witch cult theory and had accepted it as a mythological origin story 132 Witch trials by country or region EditWitch trials in Denmark Witch trials in England Witch trials in Finland Witch trials in France Witch trials in the Holy Roman Empire Witch trials in Hungary Witch trials in Iceland Witch trials in Italy Witch trials in Latvia and Estonia Witch trials in the Netherlands Witch trials in Norway Witch trials in Poland Witch trials in Portugal Witch trials in early modern Scotland Witch trials in Sicily Witch trials in Spain Witch trials in the Spanish Netherlands Witch trials in SwedenSee also EditGendercide Witchcraft Acts Role of women in Catharism Magic and religion Modern witch hunts Salem witch trials Witch hunt Women and religion Women in ChristianityReferences EditFootnotes Edit Why did Germany burn so many witches The brutal force of economic competition Quartz Retrieved 24 August 2018 Beyond Halloween Witches devils trials and executions National Catholic Reporter 25 October 2017 Retrieved 24 August 2018 a b Per Scarre amp Callow 2001 Records suggest that in Europe as a whole about 80 per cent of trial defendants were women though the ratio of women to men charged with the offence varied from place to place and often too in one place over time Hoak Dale 1983 The Great European Witch Hunts A Historical Perspective American Journal of Sociology 88 6 1270 1274 doi 10 1086 227806 PMID 12862082 S2CID 143032805 Menopausal and post menopausal women were disproportionally represented amongst the victims of the witch craze and their over representation is the more striking when we recall how rare women over fifty must have been in the population as a whole Lyndal Roper Witch Craze 2004 p 160 Jones Adam Case Study The European Witch Hunts c 1450 1750 and Witch Hunts Today Gendercide Watch Retrieved 19 October 2018 Thurston 2001 p 01 mostly in the Holy Roman Empire the British Isles and France and to some extent in the European colonies in North America largely excluding the Iberian Peninsula and Italy Inquisition Spain and Portugal obsessed with heresy ignored the witch craze In Italy witch trials were comparatively rare and did not involve torture and executions Anne L Barstow Witchcraze a New History of the European Witch Hunts HarperCollins 1995 Clearly there was an increase in sceptical voices during the Carolingian period even if we take into account an increase in surviving sources Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History p 31 2004 Wiley Blackwell Christian theology underwent a major shift of attitude only during the 13th century In his Summa contra Gentiles Thomas Aquinas 1255 74 not only confirmed Augustine s semiotic theory according to which spells amulets or magical rituals indicated a secret pact with demons but gave the impression that sorcerers through the support of the devil could physically commit their crimes Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History pp 35 36 2004 Wiley Blackwell Charles Molinier L Inquisition dans le Midi de la France au XIIIe et au XIVe siecle etude sur les sources de son Histoire 1880 p ii Molinier 1880 p 6 Molinier 1880 p xvi xviii HC Lea A History of the Inquisition Vol III 1922 p 455 657 Lea includes the entire 1329 sentence reprinted in the original Latin A Francophone writer and contemporary of N Remy Lambert Daneau considers sortilegus to have been shortened to become the French sorcier De Veneficis Quos Olim Sortilegos 1575 p 14 and sorciers was the term used in the title of another contemporary Jean Bodin in an anti witchcraft work written in French in 1580 Bodin De la Demonomanie des Sorciers 1598 edition Thurston 2001 p 67 77 Matthew Champion Scourging the Temple of God Parergon 2011 28 1 p 9 10 Flagellum Haereticorum Fascinariorum p 36 See translations and interpretation in Matthew Champion Scourging the Temple of God Parergon 2011 28 1 p 1 24 George L Burr The Literature of Witchcraft 1890 p 252 the doctrine of witchcraft crystallized during the middle third of the 15th century Ostorero et al 1999 Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History pp 18 19 2004 Wiley Blackwell The English translation is from this note to Summers 1928 introduction Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine Attached to front of Kramer s book is the 1484 Summis desiderantes affectibus a papal bull of Pope Innocent VIII in which he approved the inquisition to move against witches who were explicitly accused of having slain infants yet in the mother s womb abortion and of hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving The Bull of Innocent VIII see Malleus Maleficarum translation by Montague Summers See 2004 essay by Wolfgang Behringer on Malleus Maleficarum first printed in Speyer by then a medium sized town on the Rhine Jolly Raudvere Peters eds 2002 Witchcraft and magic in Europe the Middle Ages p 241 Increase Mather Cases Concerning Evil Spirits p 272 Appended to his son s book Wonders of the Invisible World 1693 Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History p 19 2004 Wiley Blackwell In Switzerland the rustic forest cantons of the original Confederation apparently remained unaffected by witch trials until after 1560 Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History p 19 2004 Behringer Witches and Witch hunts a Global History p 21 2004 a b c Thurston 2001 p 79 a b Ankarloo Bengt Witchcraft and magic in Europe Vol 4 The period of the witch trials Athlone London 2002 Thurston 2001 pp 80 81 even the Roman Inquisition recognized that abuses were common in 1635 it admitted that the Inquisition has found scarcely one trial conducted legally Midelfort Witch hunting in southwestern Germany 1562 1684 the social and intellectual foundations p 28 1972 Doubts about their ability to prove witches unequivocally guilty according to due legal procedure fears that they would invoke God s wrath against themselves and their subjects if they overstepped its bounds and a certain humility in thinking that witchcraft was a matter best left up to God all played a part in encouraging the Rothenburg councillors and their advisers to handle witchcraft cases with caution Rowlands Witchcraft narratives in Germany Rothenburg 1561 1652 p 59 2003 Compelling legal reasons almost always also existed in specific cases to discourage the councillors and their advisers from taking action against sabbat attenders Rowlands Witchcraft narratives in Germany Rothenburg 1561 1652 p 57 2003 Witchcraft Cases other than Salem Va Woman Seeks To Clear Witch of Pungo USA Today Associated Press 9 July 2006 Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 69 70 Bath Jo Newton John eds 2008 Witchcraft and the Act of 1604 Leiden Brill pp 243 244 ISBN 9789004165281 Johnson Noel D and Mark Koyama Taxes Lawyers and the Decline of Witch Trials in France The Journal of Law and Economics 57 no 1 February 2014 77 112 Johnson and Koyama Taxes Lawyers and the Decline of Witch Trials in France 2014 9 Geo 2 c 5 Levack Brian P 28 March 2013 The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America OUP Oxford ISBN 9780191648830 Robert Tombs 1996 Collective Identities Community and Religion France 1814 1914 London Longman p 245 ISBN 978 0 582 49314 8 Poulson s American Daily Advertiser Volume LX 10 August 1834 Number 17 057 From the Nashville Tenn Herald of 22d July transcribed at http www topix com forum city jamestown tn TPAPB6U4LVF0JDQC8 p2 History of Fentress County Tennessee Albert R Hogue compiled by the Fentress County Historical Society p 67 transcription Touring the East Tennessee Back roads By Carolyn Sakowski p 212 https books google com books id rLBrUbj02IcC amp pg PA212 3 000 Lynched in Tanzania For Witchcraft In Past Six Years Huffington Post 29 May 2012 Retrieved 23 March 2015 MacFarlane Alan Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England United Kingdom Taylor amp Francis 2002 Medway 2001 p 70 H R Trevor Roper The European Witch Craze of The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and Other Essays New York Harper and Row 1969 118 Camille Naish Death Comes to the Maiden Sex and Execution 1431 1933 London Routledge 1991 p 27 Henry Charles Lea Witchcraft p 236 as quoted in Camille Naish Death Comes to the Maiden Sex and Execution 1431 1933 London Routledge 1991 p 28 a b Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 32 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 34 FARMER ALAN 2020 ACCESS TO HISTORY the witchcraze of the 16th and 17th centuries second edition HODDER EDUCATION ISBN 978 1 5104 5911 3 OCLC 1148949640 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 12 Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 1 21 Historical Dictionary of Stuart England edited by Ronald H Fritze and William B Robison Greenwood Publishing Group 1996 ISBN 978 0 313 28391 8 p 552 Hutton 2010 p 247 Scarre and Callow 2001 put forward 40 000 as an estimate for the number killed Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 1 21 Levack 2006 came to an estimate of 45 000 Levack Brian 2006 The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe Third Edition Longman Page 23 Hutton 2010 estimated that the numbers were between 40 000 50 000 Hutton 2010 p 247 Wolfgang Behringer and Lyndal Roper had independently calculated the number as being between 50 000 60 000 Behringer 2004 p 149 Roper 2004 pp 6 7 In an earlier unpublished essay Hutton counted local estimates and in areas where estimates were unavailable attempted to extrapolate from nearby regions with similar demographics and attitudes towards witch hunting Estimates of Executions based on Hutton s essay Counting the Witch Hunt Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 21 Hutton 2010 p 248 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 34 Hutton 2010 p 248 The history of the nine million estimate was researched by Wolfgang Behringer Neun Millionen Hexen Enstehung Tradition und Kritik eines popularen Mythos in Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht 49 1987 pp 664 685 extensive summary on 1 Archived 20 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine Grimm Jacob 1883 1844 Teutonic Mythology Volume III Page 1067 Mackay Charles 1841 Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions Volume II Page 168 however incredible it may appear the enormous sum of three thousand one hundred and ninety two individuals were condemned and executed in Great Britain alone WITCHCRAFT The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser NSW 1803 1842 NSW National Library of Australia 29 September 1832 p 4 Retrieved 30 September 2013 Norman Cohn rejected estimates in the hundreds of thousands as fantastic exaggerations Cohn 1975 p 253 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 22 http www thomas hardye dorset sch uk documents news 12 dan horn pdf bare URL PDF Langbein John H 1977 Torture and the Law of Proof Chicago University of Chicago Press pp 81 ff ISBN 978 0 226 46806 8 Levack Brain P 1995 The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe 2nd ed London Longman p 202 ISBN 978 0 582 08069 0 See also Larner Christina 1981 Enemies of God The Witch hunt in Scotland London Chatto and Windus pp 62 3 ISBN 978 0 7011 2424 3 A detailed account of Hopkins and his fellow witchfinder John Stearne can be found in Gaskill Malcolm 2005 Witchfinders A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy Harvard University Press ISBN 978 0 674 01976 8 Deutscher Thomas 1991 The Role of The Episcopal Tribunal of Novara in The Suppression of Heresy and Witchcraft 1563 1615 Catholic Historical Review 77 3 403 421 JSTOR 25023586 Seitz Jonathan 2009 The Root is Hidden and the Material Uncertain The Challenges of Persecuting Witchcraft in Early Modern Venice Renaissance Quarterly 62 1 102 129 doi 10 1086 598373 PMID 19618523 S2CID 6237431 Black Christopher F 2009 The Italian Inquisition New Haven Yale University Press ISBN 978 0 300 11706 6 Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 41 42 Behringer 2004 p 88 Midelfort 1972 Behringer Wolfgang 1999 Climatic Change and Witch Hunting The Impact on The Little Ice Age on Mentalities Climatic Change 43 335 351 doi 10 1023 A 1005554519604 S2CID 189869470 Fagan Brian 2000 The Little Ice Age How Climate Made History 1300 1850 United States of America Basic Books pp 47 61 Pfister Christian Brazdil Rudolf 1999 Climatic Variability in Sixteenth Century Europe and its Social Dimension A Synthesis Climatic Change 43 5 53 doi 10 1023 A 1005585931899 S2CID 189869419 Lehmann Hartmut 1988 The Persecution of Witches as Restoration of Order The Case of Germany 1590s 1650s Central European History 21 2 107 121 doi 10 1017 S000893890001270X S2CID 145501088 a b Behringer Wolfgang 1999 Climatic Change and Witch Hunting The Impact of The Little Ice Age on Mentalities Climatic Change 43 335 351 doi 10 1023 A 1005554519604 S2CID 189869470 a b Oster Emily 2004 Witchcraft Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe Journal of Economic Perspectives 18 215 228 CiteSeerX 10 1 1 526 7789 doi 10 1257 089533004773563502 S2CID 22483025 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 42 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 41 a b Durrant Jonathan 2007 Witchcraft Gender and Society in Early Modern Germany Boston Brill pp 15 246 De Moor Tine Van Zanden JAN Luiten 2010 Girl power The European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1 The Economic History Review 63 1 33 doi 10 1111 j 1468 0289 2009 00483 x Levack Brian P 1995 The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe Second Edition London and New York Longman Pg 156 157 Miguel Edward 2005 Poverty and Witch Killing Review of Economic Studies 72 4 1153 1172 CiteSeerX 10 1 1 370 6294 doi 10 1111 0034 6527 00365 Trevor Roper 1969 Leeson Peter T Russ Jacob W 1 March 2017 Witch trials The Economic Journal 128 613 2066 2105 doi 10 1111 ecoj 12498 ISSN 1468 0297 S2CID 219395432 a b Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 43 a b Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 44 Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 44 45 Midelfort 1972 p 31 Midelfort 1972 pp 31 32 Foxcroft Gary Hunting Witches World Policy Journal 31 1 90 98 2014 Bible Gateway passage Exodus 22 18 1599 Geneva Bible a b Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 2 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 2 Hutton 2010 p 248 a b Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 45 a b Hutton 1999 p 141 Scarre amp Callow 2001 pp 57 58 Purkiss 1996 pp 19 20 Hutton 1999 p 342 Ehrenreich amp English 2010 a b Purkiss 1996 p 8 Barstow 1994 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 75 Purkiss 1996 p 17 Purkiss 1996 pp 11 16 Gibbons Jenny 1998 2 Recent Developments in the Study of the Great European Witch Hunt in The Pomegranate No 5 Lammas 1998 According to R W Thurston 75 80 of the victims across both Europe and North America were women Thurston 2001 p 42 According to Anne Llewellyn Barstow 80 of those accused and 85 of those executed in Europe were women Barstow Anne Llewellyn 1994 Witchcraze A New History of the European Witch Hunts San Francisco Pandora p 23 Jones Adam 1999 2002 Klaits Joseph Servants of Satan The Age of the Witch Hunts 1985 p 68 Stark Rodney 2003 God s Enemies Explaining the European Witch Hunts For the Glory of God How Monotheism Led to Reformations Science Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery Princeton NJ Princeton University Press pp 201 288 On the whole however the literature of witchcraft conspicuously lacks any sustained concern for the gender issue and the only reason for the view that it was extreme and outspoken in its anti feminism is the tendency for those interested in this subject to read the relevant sections of the Malleus maleficarum and little or nothing else Clark Thinking with Demons the idea of witchcraft in early modern Europe p 116 1999 Scarre amp Callow 2001 p 59 Thurston 2001 pp 42 45 the theory that witch hunting equals misogyny is embarrassed by the predominance of women witness against the accused Purkis The Witch in History p 92 1996 Purkis provides detailed examples and also demonstrates how some documents have been misread in a manner which attributes accusations or legal prosecution to men when in fact the action was brought by a woman More numerous than midwives among the accused were women who were engaged in caring for other women s children Lyndal Roper has shown that many witchcraft accusations in Ausburg in the late sixteenth and early 17th century arose out of conflicts between mothers and the lying in maids who provided care for them and their infants for a number of weeks after birth It was not unnatural for the mothers to project their anxieties about their own health as well as the precarious health of their infants on to these women When some misfortune did occur therefore the lying in maids were highly vulnerable to charges of having deprived the baby of nourishment or of having killed it What is interesting about these accusations is that they originated in tensions among women rather than between men and women The same can be said regarding many other accusations made against women for harming young children Levack The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe p 140 2nd edition 1995 a b Gibbons 1998 In Lorraine the majority were men particularly when other men were on trial yet women did testify in large numbers against other women making up 43 per cent of witnesses in these cases on average and predominating in 30 per cent of them Briggs Witches amp Neighbors The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft p 264 1998 It appears that women were active in building up reputations by gossip deploying counter magic and accusing suspects crystallization into formal prosecution however needed the intervention of men preferably of fairly high status in the community ibid p 265 The number of witchcraft quarrels that began between women may actually have been higher in some cases it appears that the husband as head of household came forward to make statements on behalf of his wife although the central quarrel had taken place between her and another woman Willis Malevolent Nature p 36 1995 In Peter Rushton s examination of slander cases in the Durham church courts women took action against other women who had labeled them witches in 61 percent of the cases ibid p 36 J A Sharpe also notes the prevalence of women as accusers in seventeenth century Yorkshire cases concluding that on a village level witchcraft seems to have been something peculiarly enmeshed in women s quarrels 14 To a considerable extent then village level witch hunting was women s work ibid p 36 The widespread division of labour which conceives of witches as female and witch doctors male can hardly be explained by Christian influence In some European countries like Iceland Finland and Estonia the idea of male witchcraft was dominant and therefore most of the executed witches were male As Kirsten Hastrup has demonstrated only one of the twenty two witches executed in Iceland was female In Normandy three quarters of the 380 known witchcraft defendants were male Behringer Witches and Witch Hunts a global history p 39 2004 Barstow Anne Llewellyn 1994 Witchcraze A New History of the European Witch Hunts San Francisco Pandora Thurston 2001 pp 42 45 Gunnar Heinsohn Otto Steiger The Elimination of Medieval Birth Control and the Witch Trials of Modern Times International Journal of Women s Studies 3 May 1982 pp 193 214 Gunnar Heinsohn Otto Steiger Witchcraft Population Catastrophe and Economic Crisis in Renaissance Europe An Alternative Macroeconomic Explanation University of Bremen 2004 download Gunnar Heinsohn Otto Steiger Birth Control The Political Economic Rationale Behind Jean Bodin s Demonomanie in History of Political Economy 31 No 3 pp 423 448 Heinsohn G 2005 Population Conquest and Terror in the 21st Century webcitation com Mainstream scholarship has remained critical of this macroeconomic approach e g Walter Rummel Weise Frauen und weise Manner im Kampf gegen Hexerei Die Widerlegung einer modernen Fabel In Christof Dipper Lutz Klinkhammer und Alexander Nutzenadel Europaische Sozialgeschichte Festschrift fur Wolfgang Schieder Historische Forschungen 68 Berlin 2000 pp 353 375 historicum net there is no evidence that the majority of those accused were healers and midwives in England and also some parts of the Continent midwives were more than likely to be found helping witch hunters Purkiss 1996 p 8 Cohn 1975 p 103 Cohn 1975 pp 103 104 Purkiss 1996 p 34 Hutton 1999 p 136 Cohn 1975 p 104 Hutton 1999 pp 136 137 Murray 1952 Murray 1962 Sheppard 2013 p 169 Hutton 1999 p 198 Eliade 1975 p 152 a b Simpson 1994 p 89 Heselton 2004 Gardner 1954 p 139 See for instance Hutton 1999 pp 142 148 and Magliocco 2002 Doyle White 2014 p 68 Simpson 1994 p 95 Bibliography Edit Barstow Anne Llewellyn 1994 Witchcraze A New History of the European Witch Hunts San Francisco Pandora Behringer Wolfgang 2004 Witches and Witch Hunts Cambridge Polity Briggs Robin 1996 Witches and Neighbours The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft London Penguin ISBN 978 0 14 014438 3 Caro Baroja Julio 2001 1964 The World of the Witches Nigel Glendinning translator London Phoenix ISBN 9781842122426 Cohn Norman 1975 Europe s Inner Demons An Enquiry Inspired by the Great Witch Hunt Sussex and London Sussex University Press and Heinemann Educational Books ISBN 978 0435821838 Davies Owen 2003 Cunning Folk Popular Magic in English History London Continuum Doyle White Ethan 2014 Devil s Stones and Midnight Rites Folklore Megaliths and Contemporary Pagan Witchcraft Folklore 125 1 60 79 doi 10 1080 0015587x 2013 860766 S2CID 216643366 Ehrenreich Barbara English Deirdre 2010 Witches Midwives amp Nurses A History of Women Healers second ed New York The Feminist Press at the City University of New York ISBN 978 1 55861 661 5 Eliade Mircea 1975 Some Observations on European Witchcraft History of Religions 14 3 149 172 doi 10 1086 462721 S2CID 161503454 Ginzburg Carlo 1983 1966 The Night Battles Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries John and Anne Tedeschi translators Baltimore Johns Hopkins Press ISBN 978 0801843860 Ginzburg Carlo 1990 Ecstasies Deciphering the Witches Sabbath London Hutchinson ISBN 978 0394581637 Halliday W R 1922 Review of Margaret Murray s The Witch Cult in Western Europe Folklore Vol 33 pp 224 230 Hughes Pennethorne 1952 Witchcraft Longmans Green Hutton Ronald 1991 The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles Their Nature and Legacy Oxford UK and Cambridge US Blackwell ISBN 978 0 631 17288 8 Hutton Ronald 1999 The Triumph of the Moon A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft Oxford and New York Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0192854490 Hutton Ronald 2010 Writing the History of Witchcraft A Personal View The Pomegranate The International Journal of Pagan Studies 12 2 239 262 doi 10 1558 pome v12i2 239 Hutton Ronald 2011 Revisionism and Counter Revisionism in Pagan History The Pomegranate The International Journal of Pagan Studies 13 2 225 256 doi 10 1558 pome v12i2 239 Jensen Gary 2007 The Path of the Devil Early Modern Witch Hunts Plymouth Rowman amp Littlefield ISBN 978 0 7425 46974 Kieckhefer Richard 2000 Magic in the Middle Ages second ed Cambridge Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0521785761 Klaniczay Gabor 1990 The Uses of Supernatural Power The Transformation of Popular Religion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe Susan Singerman translator Princeton Princeton University Press ISBN 978 0691073774 Lavenia Vincenzo 2015 The Alpine Model of Witchcraft The Italian Context in the Early Modern Period In Marco Bellabarba Hannes Obermair Hitomi Sato eds Communities and Conflicts in the Alps from the Late Middle Ages to Early Modernity Bologna and Berlin Il mulino Duncker amp Humblot pp 151 64 ISBN 978 3 428 14821 9 Leeson Peter 2017 Witch Trials PDF The Economic Journal John Wiley amp Sons 128 613 2066 2105 doi 10 1111 ecoj 12498 S2CID 219395432 Levack Brian P 1995 The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe second ed London and New York Longman Medway Gareth J 2001 Lure of the Sinister The Unnatural History of Satanism New York and London New York University Press ISBN 9780814756454 Midelfort H C E 1972 Witch Hunting in Southwestern Germany 1562 1684 The Social and Intellectual Foundations Stanford Murray Margaret A 1962 1921 The Witch Cult in Western Europe Oxford Clarendon Press Murray Margaret A 1952 1931 The God of the Witches London Faber and Faber Pocs Eva 1999 Between the Living and the Dead A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age Budapest Central European Academic Press Purkiss Diane 1996 The Witch in History Early Modern and Twentieth Century Representations Abingdon Routledge ISBN 978 0415087629 Roper Lyndal 2004 Witch Craze New Haven Yale University Press Rose Elliot 1962 A Razor for a Goat A Discussion of Certain Problems in Witchcraft and Diabolism Toronto Toronto University Press Runciman Steven 1962 Foreword In Margaret Murray ed The Witch Cult in Western Europe Oxford Clarendon Press Russell Jeffrey B Alexander Brooks 2007 A New History of Witchcraft Sorcerers Heretics and Pagans London Thames and Hudson ISBN 978 0 500 28634 0 Sanders Andrew 1995 A Deed Without a Name The Witch in Society and History Oxford and Washington Berg ISBN 978 1 85973 053 9 Scarre Geoffrey Callow John 2001 Witchcraft and Magic in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Europe second ed Basingstoke Palgrave ISBN 9780333920824 Sheppard Kathleen L 2013 The Life of Margaret Alice Murray A Woman s Work in Archaeology New York Lexington Books ISBN 978 0 7391 7417 3 Simpson Jacqueline 1994 Margaret Murray Who Believed Her and Why Folklore 105 1 2 89 96 doi 10 1080 0015587x 1994 9715877 Thomas Keith 1971 Religion and the Decline of Magic Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England London Weidenfeld amp Nicolson Thurston Robert W 2001 Witch Wicce Mother Goose The Rise and Fall of the Witch Hunts in Europe and North America Edinburgh Longman ISBN 978 0582438064 Trevor Roper Hugh 1969 The European Witch Craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries and Other Essays New York Harper amp Row Wilby Emma 2005 Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic Brighton Sussex Academic Press ISBN 978 1 84519 078 1 Further reading EditBailey Michael D 2006 Magic and Superstition in Europe A Concise History from Antiquity to the Present Rowman amp Littlefield ISBN 978 0 7425 3386 8 Federici Silvia 2004 Caliban and the Witch Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation Brooklyn NY Autonomedia ISBN 1 57027 059 7 Levack Brian P ed The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America 2013 excerpt and text search Gibbons Jenny 1998 Recent Developments in the Study of the Great European Witch Hunt The Pomegranate The International Journal of Pagan Studies Vol 5 Gouges Linnea de 2018 Witch hunts and State Building in Early Modern Europe Heselton Philip 2004 Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration An Investigation into the Sources of Gardnerian Witchcraft Somerset Capall Bann External links EditThe Stages of a Witch Trial a series of articles by Jenny Gibbons 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Witchcraft Retrieved April 2011 The Decline and End of Witch Trials in Europe by James Hannam Research on witch trials in Scotland Witchcraft BBC Radio 4 discussion with Alison Rowlands Lyndal Roper amp Malcolm Gaskill In Our Time 21 October 2004 Caliban and the Witch Women the Body and Primitive Accumulation by Silvia Federici at the Internet Archive Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Witch trials in the early modern period amp oldid 1089990557, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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