Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft
Witchcraft has proven an important, if difficult, historical subject to investigate and interpret over the last four decades or so. Modern historical research into witchcraft began as an attempt to tease out the worldview of ordinary people in 16th- and 17th-century England, but it quickly expanded to encompass the history of witchcraft in most cultures and societies that have existed with scholarly studies now extending back to the time of earliest law code that punished sorcery, the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (1792-1750 B.C.E.), and forward to the last witchcraft cases in England, those of Helen Duncan and Jane Yorke, tried in 1944. There has also been a significant amount of interest in the development of the modern religion of witchcraft, or Wicca, as various forms of neo-paganism continue to attract adherents.