A HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT: Sorcerers, Heretics, & Pagans by Jeffrey B. Russell
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Drawing comparisons between modern sorcery and that of the ancient world, the book shows how the European witch craze in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries developed out of a combination of ancient sorcery and medieval Christian heresy, paganism, folklore, scholastic theology, and inquisitorial trials. Whether the diabolical witchcraft for which men and women went to the stake ever existed is open to question. What matters more is that it was believed to exist by intellectuals and peasants alike.