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Detestable and Wicked ArtsNew England and Witchcraft in the Early Modern Atlantic World$
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Paul B. Moyer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501751059

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501751059.001.0001

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The Devil in New England

(p.1) Introduction
Detestable and Wicked Arts

Paul B. Moyer

Cornell University Press

This chapter traces the long-standing interpretations of witchcraft in New England. It takes advantage of studies on occult crime in early modern Europe that has enriched the understanding of how concerns over magical mischief intersected with gender, class, religion, and the law. It also identifies historians that stressed the divergence of elite and folk views on the occult and tended to see witch-hunting as a process imposed from above. The chapter looks at newer studies on European witchcraft that have broken down dichotomous views. It reveals a greater level of give and take between common folk and elites when it came to witch beliefs and shared responsibility for witch-hunting.

Keywords:   witchcraft, New England, occult crime, magical mischief, witch-hunting, witch beliefs

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