Witch-Hunting in Scotland: Law, Politics and Religion, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Witch-Hunting in Scotland

Law, Politics and Religion, 1st Edition

By Brian P. Levack


232 pages

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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.


‘Brian Levack has once again produced an eminently readable and accessible book on witch-hunting which will be a boon to all who teach the subject’ – Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Table of Contents

1. Witch-Hunting in Scotland and England 2. Witchcraft and the Law in Early Modern Scotland 3. King James VI and Witchcraft 4. Witch-Hunting in Revolutionary Britain 5. The Great Scottish Witch-Hunt of 1661–1662 6. Absolutism, State-Building, and Witchcraft 7. Demonic Possession and Witch-Hunting in Scotland 8. The Decline and End of Scottish Witch-Hunting 9. Witch-Hunting and Witch-Murder in Early Eighteenth-Century Scotland

About the Author

Brian P. Levack is the John Green Regents Professor in History at the University of Texas at Austin. His publications on the history of witchcraft include The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe (3rd ed., 2006), The Witchcraft Sourcebook (2004) and Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (1999).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Western
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century