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Journal > Volumes > 48 (2017) / 3 (Autumn)
John Knox, the Scottish Church, and Witchcraft Accusations
Stuart Macdonald
Knox College, University of Toronto

The link between the reformation and witch-hunting in Scotland has not always been clear, including the role played by the reformer, John Knox. This paper argues that Knox’s contribution was the direct consequence of how he read scripture and applied it to contemporary developments in Scotland. Knox’s approach to scripture, as studied by previous scholars, is outlined and then applied to the particular texts in the Bible related to witchcraft and sorcery. As the nation had made a covenant with God, all of the biblical laws, including those related to witchcraft, applied to Scotland, and Knox attempted to create a godly society through laws such as the Scottish Witchcraft Act of 1563. The criminalization of witchcraft in Scotland was a result of this approach to scripture and witchcraft was firmly part of the disciplinary agenda of the church.

Pages: 637 - 652