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The God of the Witches by Margaret Murray first edition 1931

The God of the Witches by Margaret Murray first edition 1931


London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., [1931]


Large 8vo., black publisher’s cloth lettered in orange to spine; cream dust jacket printed in black and red; pp. [iv], v-ix, [i], 214; with 21 pages of black and white illustrations on glossy paper; a near-fine copy, slightly bruised to spine tips and spotted to outer edges; endpapers lightly offset; in like dust jacket, very minor creasing, browning and shelf wear, a patch of abrasion to spine, likely caused by the removal of a sticker, the only defect.  


The true first edition of this controversial work in which Murray attempts to prove the existence of a Cult of Witches, throughout history and into modern day. An anthropological enquiry which turns a scholarly eye on the mysteries of witchcraft. 


Margaret Murray (1863-1963) was the first woman to be appointed as a lecturer of archaeology in Britain, working at UCL from 1898-1935. Born in India, she travelled extensively in her youth as a nurse and social worker, but it was her study at UCL and developing friendship with the department head and British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie which was to truly influence her career. At the turn of the century she took part in a series of excavations in Egypt, and in 1908 led the unwrapping of Khnum-nakht, becoming the first woman to unwrap a mummy. 


Murray was also highly involved in the first-wave feminist movement. When the First World War broke out, she began to focus her research on the witch-cult hypothesis. Taken at the time to be irrefutable by folklorists and scholars, she established the concept of the ‘dying God’, and the theory that the witch trials of early modern Christendom were an attempt to extinguish pagan worship - in particular those devoted to a ‘horned God’. 

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