Why did Puritans execute witches?

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The Puritans were were Calvanists who took the Bible literally. As such, they knew the command in Deuteronomy 18:10 “There shall not be found among you anyone . . . who practices witchcraft. . ." and the command in Exodus 22:18 “You shall not allow a sorceress [or witch] to live." As a result witchcraft was a capital crime in Puritan society. Puritans believed it was their duty to execute witches because it was God's command. Ironically, the people accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witchcraft Trials were condemned for other reasons than practicing witchcraft and those who may have practiced it were left unpunished.

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