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Witches and Warlocks

Nature volume 139, page 268 (13 February 1937) | Download Citation



DR. MARGARET MURRAY'S study of witchcraft in western Europe, which revived the theory of a Dianic cult and brought its manifestations into relation with modern ideas on the character of primitive religion, gave an orientation to the numerous studies of witchcraft which followed, and demanded from her imitators and successors something more than descriptive narrative to justify publication. Mr. Sergeant's claim to serious attention lies in his careful and detailed analysis of the evidence in the cases of the Lancashire witches, and the part played by the Mathers and others in the persecution of the Salem witches in America, as well as in his account of the Elizabethan Dr. Dee and his evil genius Kelly. On the theoretical side he is not equally happy. His knowledge of primitive religion is scarcely adequate to th& demandhis reference to totemism seems particularly wide of the marknor does his knowledge of the literature of that subject appear to be extensive.

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