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The Triumph of the MoonA History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207443.001.0001

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Finding a Witchcraft

Finding a Witchcraft

Chapter:
(p.132) 8 Finding a Witchcraft
Source:
The Triumph of the Moon
Author(s):

Ronald Hutton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207443.003.0008

This chapter explores a major shift of opinion in world history which occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the majority of Europe's social, political, and intellectual elites moved from believing that humans could do damage by uncanny, non-physical means to believing that they could not. This led to the repeal of the laws against witchcraft which, between 1428 and 1782, resulted in 40—50,000 executions. Statutes against the practice of magic were still enacted, but treated that practice as fraud or superstition rather than as effective action. This conceptual alteration represents one of the most remarkable processes in the transition of European culture into modernity.

Keywords:   paganism, pagans, witchcraft, witch trials, European culture, magic

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