“Norton contends that Puritanism wasn’t the cause of what famously happened in Salem. A better explanation is a 17th-century mindset of intolerance and superstition prevalent worldwide…”

It’s true that Puritans weren’t the only ones who engaged in lethal witch-hunts. But was the 17th century obsession with witches “worldwide” or was it Christendom-wide?

Witch-hunting — in the sense of efforts to combat what is perceived as harmful magic — has existed in many parts of the world since ancient times.

Nonetheless, this form of violence had its peak period in a particular region and epoch. The region was Europe and North America, and the epoch was the 15th to 18th centuries. That was when Christian theologians gave witch-hunts a new rationale, based on beliefs about the Devil.

Do you really think it’s a big deal that, compared to other Christians, Puritans gave witches more “due process”, before killing them by hanging rather than burning?

Someone who likes sharing factual information and fragments of the big picture

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