In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, entire communities, particularly in central Europe were gripped by a fear of witches and witchcraft, and pursued witches in order to bring them to justice. Professor David Nash unlocks the sometimes opaque history of the phenomenon of witchcraft in Britain, Europe and America. The book explores the development of witchcraft and belief in witches, the obsession with witches and witchcraft that spawned witch-hunting, the hey-day and decline of witch-hunting, and the fascinating 'afterlife' of witchcraft: covering not only the survival of some beliefs into the nineteenth century but the academic interest in witchcraft in the early twentieth century, which culminated in the interest shown in the phenomenon by experts serving the interests and ideology of Nazi Germany. Among the themes that the author will examine are the geographical spread and regional differences in witchcraft and witch-hunting across Britain, Europe and America; the theories on the rise of witch-hunting; and gender differences: why so many more women were accused and convicted of witch-hunting than men.
About the Author
David Nash is Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University and has worked extensively in the area of blasphemy, blasphemous libel and religious crime/law for over fifteen years. He is acknowledged as the world expert in this area. He is a panel member of the Centre for Legal Research and Policy Studies (Oxford Brookes University) and a member of the Academic Board of the Galleries of Justice Museum of Law Punishment and Policing (Nottingham). He has given advice to MPs and gave evidence to the recent House of Lords Select Committee on religious offences. He is currently advising the Irish government about their recently enacted blasphemy law. His most recent monograph is entitled Blasphemy in the Christian World: A History which has been widely reviewed and well received. Professor Nash lives in Great Britain.
Table of Contents
Introduction and Pre-history / Witchcraft and Witch-hunting Take Hold / The High Point and Heyday of Witches and Witch-hunting / The Declining Years of Witch-hunting / The Afterlife of Witch-hunting / Places to Visit / Further Reading / Index