- Series: Dover Occult
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications; Revised edition (June 1, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486260305
- ISBN-13: 978-0486260303
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Discoverie of Witchcraft (Dover Occult) Paperback – June 1, 1989
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Scot argued that a belief in witches was fallacy and ran counter to the classical Christian view as given in the Canon Episcopi that stated that belief in witches and demonic magic was a delusion and that witches were not working in league with the Devil but were rather deluded persons who needed guidance in the ways of religion rather than death and torture. Scot goes on at length to discuss the illusion of supposed witchcraft and magic and that God alone, not Devils or witches, controls the elements and that he alone dictates the fate of men.
Scot, like his contemporary Johann Weyer, was met with hostility from the learned demonologists and theologians of the day. His work was condemned and ordered burned by King James I of England. Rather than being hailed as a rational and sensible humanist thinker for his valiant atttempt to stem the tide of the burnings of human beings, Scot was accused by some as promoting the heresy of Sadducism (a disbelief in spirits) while others dismissed his arguments and beliefs as being thinly veiled atheism and argued that witches were in fact real and dangerous and that the bonfires of witches must continue. The credulous and eccentric Montague Summers himself argues this viewpoint in his shamelful introduction. Summers even stoops so low as to essentialy accuse Scot and Weyer of Satanism!Read more ›
It offers much in the way of those sort of things and also gives us an idea how people actually worked the material in England at that period of time. As a book to disprove witchcraft I do not consider it that good but to show on how magic was practiced it is a great resource.
Reginald Scot's "Discoverie of Witchcraft" is one of the few prose books from Elizabethan England that still enjoys an actual readership in the 21st century. It remains well worth reading.
Scot, a Kentish gentleman of wide reading, was able, in Anglican England, to attack witchcraft root and branch, and his attack is a mishmash of modern, evidence-based thinking, extreme religious bigotry, reporting from the field and medieval gullibility.
In Book XIII, Scot comes close to a statement of experimental investigation: "In this art of natural magicke, God almightie hath hidden manie secret mysteries; as wherein a man may learne the properties, qualities and knowledge of all nature. For it teaches to accomplish maters in such sort and opportunitie, as the common people thinketh the same to be miraculous."
This is not far from Arthur Clarke's observation that, to the uninitiated, any sufficiently advanced technology must seem miraculous.
Yet on the same page, Scot falls for the classical fable about the remora, the sucking fish that could halt the progress of the largest ship.
Scot was not a modern man. Throughout, he considers Holy Scripture the strongest authority, and his argument that so-called witches (and their devils) cannot perform miracles relies on nothing more than an assertion -- not countenanced in scripture -- that the age of miracles was shut down by God's power in apostolic times.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book help you understand the falling Angels and how they give people power to control other peoplePublished 22 months ago by Elizabeth Cooley
This does not seem to be the complete text. Also, there may be something wrong with the file. My kindle was locking up when I was in it. I had to reboot my Kindle. Read morePublished on March 8, 2012 by David S
This work, first published in the late 16th century, is an attempt to refute the frenzied ideas which had lead to the execution of many women and men under charges of witchcraft. Read morePublished on August 20, 2008 by Christopher R. Travers
Note I am not a Catholic:
The Inquisitions and their evidence against supposed witches may have been false but Scot was wrong to claim that demons cannot mess with... Read more
I have read several books on medievil witchcraft from a historical point of view. This book not only seems to be by one person who has had first hand experience, but is also not... Read morePublished on August 23, 2005 by G. D. Mcallen