Shortlisted for the 2008 Katharine Briggs Award
Witch-Hunting in Scotland presents a fresh perspective on the trial and execution of the hundreds of women and men prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft, an offence that involved the alleged practice of maleficent magic and the worship of the devil, for inflicting harm on their neighbours and making pacts with the devil.
Brian P. Levack draws on law, politics and religion to explain the intensity of Scottish witch-hunting. Topics discussed include:
- the distinctive features of the Scottish criminal justice system
- the use of torture to extract confessions
- the intersection of witch-hunting with local and national politics
- the relationship between state-building and witch-hunting and the role of James VI
- Scottish Calvinism and the determination of zealous Scottish clergy and magistrates to achieve a godly society.
This original survey combines broad interpretations of the rise and fall of Scottish witchcraft prosecutions with detailed case studies of specific witch-hunts. Witch-Hunting in Scotland makes fascinating reading for anyone with an interest in witchcraft or in the political, legal and religious history of the early modern period.