Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series)

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9780810848603: Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series)

A great deal has been written about the history of witchcraft, but much of what has been written is unreliable, exaggerated, or inaccurate. This problem is especially acute in regard to modern witchcraft, or Wicca, and its supposed connections to historical witchcraft in medieval and early modern Europe. This Dictionary provides a reliable reference source for both academics and general readers interested in the actual historical development of witchcraft in the western world.

The focus of the dictionary is on Western Europe during the late-medieval and early modern periods, when the specific idea of diabolical witchcraft developed and when the so-called "great witch-hunts" occurred. Entries are also provided that deal with magic and witchcraft in the earlier Christian period and classical antiquity, as well as with the lingering belief in witchcraft in the modern world, and with the development of the modern, neo-pagan religion of witchcraft, also known as Wicca. For comparative purposes, some entries have been provided that deal with aspects and systems of magic found in other parts of the world that seem to bear some relation to the idea of witchcraft as it developed in Christian Europe. The regions dealt with are mainly Africa, along with such New-World practices as Voodoo and Santeria. Entries in the dictionary cover important people in the history of witchcraft, from the medieval inquisitors and early modern magistrates who developed the stereotype of the historical witch to the modern individuals who have developed the religion of Wicca. Also included are legal terms and concepts important to the prosecution of the supposed crime of witchcraft, and religious and theological concepts pertaining to the demonic elements that came to be associated with witchcraft, as well as more popular beliefs and aspects of common folklore and mythology that became attached to the developing idea of witchcraft. Geographic entries are also included, discussing the scope of witch-hunting in various regions of

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About the Author:

Michael D. Bailey is Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of history at Iowa State University. He is the author of Battling Demons: Witchcraft, Heresy, and Reform in the Late Middle Ages. He has held academic positions at Bethany College, Kansas, at the University of Cincinnati, at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame, and at Saint Louis University. His principal research interests focus on the history of magic, witchcraft, and superstition in Europe.

Review:

Entries cover a wide range of historical figures, as well as folklore, mythology, and theological ideas associated with early witchcraft and witch trials...accessible and objective. (Library Journal)

...concise and economical. It should be considered for academic libraries and larger public libraries. (Reference Reviews)

No single author has attempted an English-language reference work on witchcraft since 1959. Following a meaty twenty-six page introduction, this work packs over two hundred short entries into 150 pages, concluding with almost fifty pages of bibliography (including many titles not in English). Its laudably comprehensive coverage extends from pre- to post-Christian forms of magical belief associated with witchcraft, principally contemporary Wicca and Satanism. Bailey...is a medievalist; his numerous entries on medieval topics constitute the richest single part of his enterprise. The author's extremely solid acquaintance with the most important works on witchcraft of the past generation makes his other sections quite reliable also. (Religious Studies Review)

Bailey's dictionary focuses on the historical facts of witchcraft during the era of the European witch hunts, 15th through 18th centuries. He also includes factors that influenced the historical events and beliefs as well as those from other parts of the world such as Africa and the New World. He distinguishes historical witchcraft from the modern practice of witchcraft, often referred to as Wicca. (Choice)

...presents the historical development of witchcraft in the western world as well as provides links between the medieval witchcraft of Europe to the modern practice of Wicca today. The book begins with a chronology of Witchcraft that dates from 1750 B.C.E. with the Code of Hammurabi, one of the first written laws dealing with magic and sorcery, to 1999, when Ronald Hutton Published The Triumph of the Moon, a historical study of modern witchcraft. Following this is an extensive introduction, which provides a historical summary of witchcraft and how it has evolved to the religion of Wicca and neo-paganism today. The bulk of the work is an A to Z listing of terms dealing with important people in the history of witchcraft (both believers and persecutors), legal terms and concepts during the time when witchcraft was considered a crime, and theological concepts of the religion. Most of the entries are one to two paragraphs in length and cross-references to other entries are indicated by bold type within the entry. The work concludes with an extensive bibliography that is organized intro primary sources, general studies, witchcraft in the ancient world, witchcraft in medieval and early-modern Europe, the devil and demonology, theorists of witchcraft, witch (Arba)

...presents the historical development of witchcraft in the western world as well as provides links between the medieval witchcraft of Europe to the modern practice of Wicca today. The book begins with a chronology of Witchcraft that dates from 1750 B.C.E. with the Code of Hammurabi, one of the first written laws dealing with magic and sorcery, to 1999, when Ronald Hutton Published The Triumph of the Moon, a historical study of modern witchcraft. Following this is an extensive introduction, which provides a historical summary of witchcraft and how it has evolved to the religion of Wicca and neo-paganism today. The bulk of the work is an A to Z listing of terms dealing with important people in the history of witchcraft (both believers and persecutors), legal terms and concepts during the time when witchcraft was considered a crime, and theological concepts of the religion. Most of the entries are one to two paragraphs in length and cross-references to other entries are indicated by bold type within the entry. The work concludes with an extensive bibliography that is organized intro primary sources, general studies, witchcraft in the ancient world, witchcraft in medieval and early-modern Europe, the devil and demonology, theorists of witchcraft, witchcraft in art, witchcraft in the modern world, and non-European witchcraft. (Arba)

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Michael D. Bailey
Published by Scarecrow Press (2003)
ISBN 10: 0810848600 ISBN 13: 9780810848603
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