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Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This is an intensive study of the witch cult in Great Britain. The author uses French and Flemish sources to obtain a clearer understanding of the ritual and beliefs, as the witch cult appears to be the same throughout western Europe. The sources from which the information used within are the judicial records and contemporary chroniclers. In the case of the chroniclers, th ...more
Published March 31st 2003 by Kessinger Publishing (first published January 1st 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
Aug 05, 2012 Molly rated it really liked it
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
Bri Fidelity
Thoroughly unconvincing as actual history, and thoroughly entertaining as an exercise in world-building. I only wish Murray hadn't left such great swathes of her source material in its original Ye Olde French.
Mar 05, 2014 Allison rated it it was ok
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
Jan 07, 2015 Tepintzin rated it it was ok
I was only reading this because of its being so influential. I couldn't finish. Despite the subject matter, it was agonizingly boring. Yes, even though I speak French.
Alexandra Chauran
A little slice of history. I wish I could see this literature study redone with better scholarship.
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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.
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