“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?