Thursday, April 23, 2009

Question from Liz - Malleus Maleficarum and witch hunts

I was wondering, was the Malleus Maleficarum "The Hammer Against Witches", read in England? How widespread were witch hunts during the sixteenth/seventeenth centuries?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Yes, the Malleus Maleficarum was read in England, especially in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It was also read in Scotland, where another witch craze, similar to the one in England, occurred at about the same time.

For detailed information on the so-called "witch craze" in England, see English Witchcraft, 1560-1736 edited by J.A. Sharpe, and Witchcraft in Early Modern England, also by Sharpe.

For Scotland, see Witchcraft and Belief in Early Modern Scotland by Julian Goodare, Lauren Martin and others.

These books are all fairly scholarly and treat belief in witches and witchcraft as a serious social phenomenon.