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The European Witch-Hunt, Hardback Book


The European Witch-Hunt seeks to explain why thousands of people, mostly lower-class women, were deliberately tortured and killed in the name of religion and morality during three centuries of intermittent witch-hunting throughout Europe and North America.

Combining perspectives from history, sociology, psychology and other disciplines, this book provides a comprehensive account of witch-hunting in early modern Europe.

Julian Goodare sets out an original interpretation of witch-hunting as an episode of ideologically-driven persecution by the 'godly state' in the era of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Full weight is also given to the context of village social relationships, and there is a detailed analysis of gender issues.

Witch-hunting was a legal operation, and the courts' rationale for interrogation under torture is explained.

Panicking local elites, rather than central governments, were at the forefront of witch-hunting.

Further chapters explore folk beliefs about legendary witches, and intellectuals' beliefs about a secret conspiracy of witches in league with the Devil.

Witch-hunting eventually declined when the ideological pressure to combat the Devil's allies slackened.

A final chapter sets witch-hunting in the context of other episodes of modern persecution.

This book is the ideal resource for students exploring the history of witch-hunting.

Its level of detail and use of social theory also make it important for scholars and researchers.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 430 pages, 15 Illustrations, black and white
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: European history
  • ISBN: 9780415254526



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