Thomas Ady

Thomas Ady's most famous work

Thomas Ady was an English Skeptic who drew on the works of Reginald Scot and others to argue the fallacy of witchcraft.  He wrote 3 books credited to him with the most famous by far being

A Candle in the Dark: Or, A Treatise Concerning the Nature of Witches & Witchcraft: Being Advice to Judges, Sheriffes, Justices of the Peace and Grand-Jury-Men, What to Do, before They Passe Sentence on such as Are Arraigned for Their Lives, as Witches.

Much as the title claims, it was a book written for these men to study and read in order to more accurately be able to judge accusations of witchcraft.  The book argued that not only is witchcraft impossible, but in fact it was unchristian to accuse someone of it or even believing in witches.  He claimed that magic was the realm of charlatans and that only the uneducated accepted magic.  He used the Bible as his primary source for these accusations asking where in the Bible does it say that magic or even the existence of witches is possible.

He claimed that witchcraft and accusations of it stemmed from the uneducated misinterpreting the Bible and the Scripture.  Never in it does Jesus acknowledge the concept of witchcraft and if it were so important why did the Lord not attempt to preach it to his followers? However, if a woman could be proved she killed someone or break the law, she should still be tried under judicial law.

It was men such as these that prohibited the witch-craze that spread to the rest of Europe.  He along with other contemporary English writers maintained a strong system of skepticism and physical, provable evidence to convict English people.

Source:

Ady, Thomas. A Candle in the Dark: Or, A Treatise Concerning the Nature of Witches & Witchcraft: Being Advice to Judges, Sheriffes, Justices of the Peace and Grand-Jury-Men, What to Do, before They Passe Sentence on such as Are Arraigned for Their Lives, as Witches. London, :1656.

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