The elaborated concept of witchcraft, one of the intellectual foundations of Early Modern European witch-hunts, has frequently been considered marginal or even absent from English elite demonological discourse, which was usually assumed to be a moderate or an incomplete version of the continental theorizations about witches and demons produced during the same period. This article aims to demonstrate that both the core elements of the sabbat stereotype and the belief in the idea of a diabolical conspiracy to overthrow Christian society were crucial to the representation of witchcraft fashioned in English demonological treatises between 1587 and 1648. The use of these ideas in England, however, had distinctive features. I suggest that the intellectual and cultural context of English Reformation, particularly the development of apocalyptic ideas and anti-Catholicism, determined the English conceptualization of witchcraft as a conspiracy.


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pp. 84-113
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