In this fascinating account of witches and devils in colonial America, the renowned and influential minister of Boston’s Old North Church attempts to justify his role in the Salem witch trials. A true believer in the devil’s battle to get converts in Salem and other Massachusetts towns during the late seventeenth century, Mather also believed the fantastic accusations of those who accused their neighbors of witchcraft.
The theologian’s book, first published in 1692, provides readers with guidelines for discovering witches, explanations for how good Christians are tempted by the devil to become witches, and methods of resisting such temptation. The great Boston minister also provides testimony from a number of similar trials, describes instances of witchcraft in other countries, and explains the devil’s predicament in dealing with Christianity.
Essential reading for students of the Salem witch trials, On Witchcraft will intrigue anyone interested in early American social and cultural history.