Joseph Glanvill and the Defense of Witchcraft and Spirits During the Decline in early modern England
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Towards the later part of the seventeenth century the belief in witchcraft and spirits was in decline. Many theories have arisen as to why the persecution and belief in witchcraft diminished. A few reasons that have been suggested by scholars are the rise in religious tolerance, judicial skepticism, and elite disbelief. While many elites in Early Modern England wrote about their doubt in witches, there were also dissenters among them who steadfastly defended traditional beliefs in witchcraft. One of the major dissenters was Joseph Glanvill, who refuted the points of his skeptical adversaries in defense of traditional supernatural beliefs. The examination of Glanvill’s views on witchcraft and spirits will form the basis of this project.