Drawing on quantitative data drawn from a range of trials Kateryna Dysa first describes the ideological background of the tribunals based on works written by priests and theologians that reflect attitudes toward the devil and witches. The main focus of her work, however, is the process leading to witchcraft accusations. From the stories of participants of the trials she shows what led people to enunciate first suspicions then accusations of witchcraft. Finally, she presents a microhistory from one Volhynian village, comparing attitudes toward two “female crimes” in the Ukrainian courts.
The study is based on archival research including witch trials transcripts. Dysa approaches the trials as indications of belief and practice, attempting to understand the actors involved rather than dismiss or condemn them. She takes care to situate early modern Ukrainian witchcraft and its accompanying trials in a broader European context, with comparisons to some African cases as well.