Thursday, 16 August 2012

Witchcraft in Tudor Times

Are these witches or historical writers in the fire?
Some small controversy seems to have arisen at History Today over a blog post I've contributed there. The post is on "Witchcraft in Tudor Times".

One key issue seems to be that I have referred to Dr John Dee without proper respect for his status as a man of science, pointing out that he openly summoned and spoke with spirits from the 'super-celestial realm', otherwise known as angels.

The problem would appear to be that I have thereby suggested double standards from those stalwart Elizabethans who hanged women as witches. Women who - under torture, mind you - confessed to speaking with the Devil and his demons, or with familiar spirits they were able to summon at will. Yet Dr John Dee's activities were only occasionally questioned by those in authority, perhaps because he was under the Queen's protection for so many years as court astrologer. And also because he was a man?

But read it for yourself and see if you agree.

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