Referring to a complete renunciation of the basic principles of faith, apostasy was considered to be one of the chief crimes entailed in witchcraft, along with idolatry, during the medieval and early-modern periods. Upon entering a heretical cult of witches, usually at a witches’sabbath, new witches were generally believed to be required to renounce the Christian faith entirely and pledge themselves to the service of the devil.

Unlike normal heresy, which involved errors of belief or practice that could be corrected, apostasy was often seen as an unforgivable crime, a kind of treason against God that required the most severe form of punishment possible.


Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft – Written by Michael D. Bailey

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