Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials

Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials

Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials

Witch Hunts in the Western World: Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials

Synopsis

"A vivid portrait of a troubled country." -- The New York Times

Corruption, drug smuggling, rampant human rights abuses--New York journalist Lindsay Cameron finds plenty to report, covering the regime of Nigeria's President Michael Olumide. But in the aftermath of two probable assassinations, her inquiries attract unwanted government attention. As rebel factions call for free elections, Lindsay races to penetrate the intricate network of corrupt government officials, oil interests, and CIA agents who really run the Nigerian show. Meanwhile, her entanglement with a rare art dealer leads her still deeper into terrain that's confounding in every respect - from matters of the heart to those of politics and trade. Drawing from Nina Darnton's own experiences living in Africa during the mid-1970s--including imprisonment in Nigeria with her two small children-- An African Affair is an edge-of-your-seat debut thriller in the bestselling tradition of The Constant Gardener and The Last King of Scotland.

Excerpt

The academic literature on witches and witchcraft has increased by leaps and bounds over the past few decades, as has popular writing about witchcraft. This book participates with the former to help illuminate errors and fantasies of the latter. Too many misconceptions still possess the popular imagination about witches. This book should contribute to efforts for sound research and reasoning regarding this magical subject.

As I began reading centuries-old treatises on witches, I kept groping for terminology to describe those who studied and hunted them. It seems to me they belong to a unique genre, although often related to or part of works of theology (the study of the Christian God) and demonology (the study of demons as if they were real). The clumsy term “witch theorists,” seems too close semantically to historians who build theories to explain the witch hunts within the context of rationality. I have therefore coined the term “strixology,” drawing on a Latin word for a witch. Strixologists write about the problem of witches, whether they were real and their magic could actually change the natural world. During the time of the witch hunts, these writers were usually trying to explain the witches’ origins, character, and powers and how they could and must be fought. Increasingly as the hunts went on, strixology refuted the reality of witches, contributing to the decline of the hunts. Today, this genre would include the many writers whose instructional manuals on the occult and Wicca crowd bookstore shelves. If the topic of writing is witches, it is strixological.

This text should provide a satisfactory overview of all the most important aspects of the witch hunts. Much more can be read, with fascination. No book today can be written without the help of hundreds of scholars who have labored and published the readings and sources used to research this book.

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