Religion Past and Present

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(1,595 words)

[German Version]

I. Religious Studies

The German word Hexe (witch) derives from the West Germanic hag (fence, gate). In Old High German hagazuzza is the “fence rider” (fem.). During the phase of Christian expansion until the early Middle Ages, missionaries met among Celtic, Germanic and Slavic peoples who knew, in addition to high gods, a number of lower and local divinities. Common to all Germanic peoples was belief in the power of magic, …

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Heinemann, Evelyn and Haustein, Jörg, “Witches”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 05 December 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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