Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts

By Richard Weisman,

Book cover of Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts

Book description

The Salem witchcraft persecutions are one of the most well-known events in history, but there is more to the story. In this book, Weisman explores the social, political, and religious implications of witchcraft. He ventures outside of the usual studies of the Salem trials to provide a comprehensive understanding of…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Witchcraft, Magic, and Religion in Seventeenth-Century Massachusetts as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is another sociologically inflected study, which broadens the context of belief behind witchcraft accusations. Like all the best work of the last forty years, it helps us to grasp the internal logic of witch-beliefs in the minds of intelligent and actually very sophisticated people, rather than falling back on the old chestnuts of hysteria, prejudice and the madness of crowds.

Weisman constantly reminds us that a supposed superstitious consensus (in contrast to the sceptical consensus of the modern world) simply didn’t exist. So much of the furious energy of thinking about witches was generated by disagreement and doubt. We’re…

From Malcolm's list on witch hunting in Colonial America.

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