The Witch-cult in Western Europe
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The Witch-cult in Western Europe

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  99 ratings  ·  8 reviews
'The Witch Cult in Western Europe deserves to be reprinted, not only because of its importance in showing that the subject needed a scientific approach- which, since the appearance of this, it has generally been given- but also because it is one of those rare books which combine scholarly methods and valuable findings with a quality of fascinating which makes it a delight...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published 1967 by Oxford University Press (London) (first published 1921)
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This book is written by Anthropologist Margaret Murray to outline the survival, beliefs, and rituals of a pre-Christian witchcraft-centric "old religion." Unfortunately Murray subjectively interpreted the confessions of witch trials and manipulated and cited her findings out of context to support her theory of an old pre-christian religion based around a horned god and a goddess that survived the persecution of witch trials in europe. While her work is not accepted by modern historians, Murray's...more
This was a superb book! Finally reading it gave me perspective on not only the controversial issues it touches on (the possibility of a real, widespread survival of pre-Christian Paganism and its suppression during the Witch Hunts), but also the controversy which has surrounded the book itself since its publication.

Personally, I believe Murray's work to have been treated with undue criticism, then and now. Though this book has gained more respectability in recent times, the scoffing that went u...more
It's a good source for quotes and starting points for further research, as it is well-organized and -categorized alongside being at least two-thirds direct quotes and passages. But it is fairly difficult to read. The quotes are not translated, so you see: Middle English, non-standardized Early Modern English, Scotch, French (Early Modern?), and German (I do not know German, so I can't guess what period of the language). You also get to read Us as Vs and Js as Is. Otherwise, I find this subject v...more
Bri Fidelity
Thoroughly unconvincing as actual history, and thoroughly entertaining as an exercise in world-building. I only wish Murray hadn't left so many swathes of her source material in its original Ye Olde French.
Sep 08, 2011 Alexis marked it as to-read
I added this edition to goodreads because it is in fact the third edition, it is also the 53rd book that was printed by Oxford Paperbacks.
Alexandra Chauran
A little slice of history. I wish I could see this literature study redone with better scholarship.
Interesting and very pleasant.
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Egyptologist and Anthropologist. Known mostly for her theories on the Witch Cult which the witch trials were an attempt to destroy a pre-Christian surviving religion.
More about Margaret Alice Murray...
The God of the Witches The Splendor That Was Egypt: Revised Edition The Witch-cult in Western Europe A Study in Anthropology Legends of Ancient Egypt Egyptian Temples

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