Journal of Genocide Research
"Wolfgang Behringer establishes the importance of a truly global history of witchcraft. Setting aside familiar Western notions, he deploys a more comprehensive definition of witchcraft as the malicious use of evil magic. He brilliantly sketches the history of European witch-hunting and uses this to illuminate the twentieth-century struggle against witches in many parts of the post-colonial world such as South America, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. This book marks a real advance in our understanding of witchcraft, and a remarkable and astute blending of anthropology with history."
H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia
"Witchcraft has recently been the subject of an enormous amount of research and yet some of its main issues still need reappraisal. This book makes a compelling case for re-examining witchcraft in a fundamental way by reconnecting the new historical scholarship with the discipline of anthropology and treating the subject in a world perspective and as a universal phenomenon. Already Europe's leading expert on the early modern witchcraft trials, Wolfgang Behringer not only gives us a superb overview of where our knowledge of them currently stands but takes us on a global tour of witchcraft in modern societies. Unexpectedly, we discover how much the European and non-European experience have had in common."
Stuart Clark, University of Wales Swansea
From the Back Cover
Wolfgang Behringer explores the idea of witchcraft as an anthropological phenomenon with a historical dimension, aiming to outline and to understand the meaning of large-scale witchcraft persecutions in early modern Europe and in present-day Africa. He deals systematically with the belief in witchcraft and the persecution of witches, as well as with the process of outlawing witch-hunts. He examines the impact of anti-witch-hunt legislation in Europe, and discusses the problems caused in societies where European law was imposed in colonial times. In conclusion, the relationship between witches old and new is assessed.
This book will make essential reading for all those interested in the history and anthropology of witchcraft and magic.