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A Quantitative Evaluation of Demographic, Gender and Social Transformation Theories of the Rise of European Witch Hunting 1300-1500

A Quantitative Evaluation of Demographic, Gender and Social Transformation Theories of the Rise of European Witch Hunting 1300-1500

By Philip Smith

Historical Social Research / Historische Sozialforschung(HSR), Vol. 17:4 (1992)

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the European witch craze in the period 1300-1500 by attempting to evaluate two sets of theories. Among the significant findings are that substantial differences exist between the patterns of witchcraft persecution before and after 1420, that differing regions have patterns of witchcraft, and that these patterns are also shaped by demographic factors. These demographic factors relate to the interplay of urban characteristics of witchcraft hunting. One of the most important recommendations of this paper is that future research pays more attention to the role of urbanization processes in defining witch persecution.

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