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A New History of Witchcraft

Sorcerers, Heretics & Pagans

Jeffrey B. Russell, Brooks Alexander

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The one authoritative concise illustrated history of witchcraft


For nearly thirty years, during which it has been continuously in print, Jeffrey Russell’s A History of Witchcraft has been the one authoritative concise illustrated history of witchcraft.

Now, in collaboration with Brooks Alexander, who has conducted innovative researches in the field, this classic book has been fully revised with new chapters and illustrations.

Whether or not one believes in the powers of witchcraft, one must believe in the existence of witches. Here the definition of witchcraft in its many diverse forms is discussed and its historical, anthropological and religious manifestations charted from its origins through to the present day.

The book now includes an analysis of the importance of the Internet and films in the dissemination of witchcraft and the potential tensions as a movement that was originally a closed, secretive, initiatory cult becomes an open, public religion.

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'Serious, well argued ... Russell’s book is rich, competently written and intelligently illustrated'
Sunday Times

'Disentangles semantic confusions and vulgar misconceptions, and traces traditions from the pagan world through the medieval heresy hunts and the witch crazes of the 16th and 17th centuries and to the present day'

'Good stuff … a useful classic updated for witchcraft aficionados'
Fortean Times

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Edition Type: New Edition

Size: 23.8 x 17.1 cm

Extent: 216 pp

Illustrations: 105

Publication date: 2 April 2007

ISBN: 9780500286340

Contents List

Preface • Introduction: What is a witch? Part I: Sorcery and Historical Witchcraft – 1. Sorcery • 2. The Roots of European Witchcraft • 3. Witchcraft, Heresy and Inquisition • 4. The Witch-craze on the Continent of Europe • 5. Witchcraft in Britain and America • 6. Witchcraft and Society • 7. The Decline of Witchcraft Part II: Modern Witchcraft • 8. Survivals and Revivals • 9. Neopagan Witchcraft: The Sources • 10. Neopagan Witchcraft: The Movement • 11. The Role of Witchcraft

About the Author

Jeffrey B. Russell is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Brooks Alexander is author of Witchcraft Goes Mainstream and has written numerous articles on witchcraft, neo-paganism and other new religious movements.