Book: A Treatise Of Witchcraft by Alexander RobertsI find the idea of rating an historical publication like Alexandr Roberts' A Treatise of Witchcraft difficult, so I have opted not to do so. However, the content itself is very interesting. In his 1620 writing Roberts moves through a series of topics related to witchcraft: he begins by insisting that witches are real (and references historical sources like The Odyssey and the Bible as support), and then outlines exactly why witchcraft is to be abhorred by the Christian community. Roberts speaks of the spiritual salvation of witches (which would ideally come just before their execution), defends the sentencing of witches, and details a specific example of witchcraft that occasioned the writing of his Treatise. The discussion of the contemporary case was intriguing, but I found Roberts' focus on gender roles particularly interesting. Throughout the text he assures his readers that not all witches are women, but he then goes on to explain why women are more susceptible to the Devil, and why the majority of magic Practitioners are therefore women. As you can imagine, Roberts references everything from Eve to physical differences to an inclination towards the passionate as reasons why women are more likely to fall into Satan's grasp.
While the ideas presented would be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of Witchcraft Trials, Roberts' treatise makes for a clear and forward primary source for the discussion of the occult.
Downloadable books (free):Michael Harrison - The Roots Of Witchcraft
George Lyman Kittredge - Notes On Witchcraft
Allen Greenfield - A True History Of Witchcraft
Alexander Roberts - A Treatise Of Witchcraft