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In writing this book, King James was influenced by his personal involvement in the North Berwick witch trials (1590).
The North Berwick witch trials were the trials in 1590 of a number of people from East Lothian, Scotland, accused of witchcraft in the St Andrew's Auld Kirk in North Berwick. They ran for two years and implicated seventy people. These included Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell on charges of high treason. The "witches" held their covens on the Auld Kirk Green, part of the modern-day North Berwick Harbour area. The confessions were extracted by torture in the Old Tolbooth, Edinburgh.
In 1597, James published Daemonologie, his rebuttal of Reginald Scot’s skeptical work, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, which questioned the very existence of witches. Daemonologie was an alarmist book, presenting the idea of a vast conspiracy of satanic witches threatening to undermine the nation. In 1604, only one year after James ascended to the English throne, he passed his new Witchcraft Act, which made raising spirits a crime punishable by execution.
Daemonologie, In Forme of a Dialogue
Is in the form of a dialogue between characters called "Philomathes" and "Epistemon"
Epistemon- That fielde is likewise verie large: and althought in the mouthes and pennes of manie, yet fewe knowes the trueth thereof, so wel as they beleeve themselves, as I shall so shortely as I can, make you (God willing) as easelie to perceive. PHI. But I pray you before ye goe further, let mee interrupt you here with a shorte disgression: which is, that manie can scarely beleeve that there is such a thing as Witch-craft. Whose reasons I will shortely alleage unto you, that ye may satisfie me as well in that, as ye have done in the rest. For first, whereas the Scripture seemes to proove Witch-craft to be, by diverse examples, and speciallie by sundrie of the same, which ye have alleaged; it is thought by some, that these places speakes of Magicians and Necromancers onlie, & not of Witches. As in special, these wise men of Pharaohs, that counterfeited Moyses miracles, were Magicians say they, & not Witches:
As in special, these wise men of Pharaohs, that counterfeited Moyses miracles, were Magicians say they, & not Witches:
Witchcraft is common in Africa... It's comparable to the 16-17th century England
originally posted by: Hex1an
a reply to: Klassified
"How common was witchcraft at the time?" I think you may get a good insight if you read the book.
"Daemonologie" is like a Fox and Mulder dialog about such questions.
historical documents are widely available, estimated at the moment is about 80.000 trials during that period.