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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The law as it applied to witchcraft has often been viewed as a system of repression because witchcraft was considered a religious crime, and because many of the courts that prosecuted witches used torture to extort confessions from them. This article examines the role played by the law – both the written law and the officials who administered it – in restricting the number of prosecutions, curbing the use of torture in witchcraft cases, introducing new rules of evidence in witchcraft trials, and playing the leading role in ending the trials.

Keywords: witchcraft prosecutions, religious crime, torture, witchcraft trials, law

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