Gottfried Christian Voigt

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Gottfried Christian Voigt.

Gottfried Christian Voigt (1740–1791) was an 18th-century German scholar, author of a 1791 "History of Quedlinburg Abbey" (Geschichte des Stifts Quedlinburg)

He is known as the source of the estimate of "nine million victims" in the European witch-hunts which became an influential popular myth in 20th century feminism and neopaganism. The history of this estimate was researched by Behringer (1998)[1]. Voigt published it in a 1784 article,[1] writing in the context of the Age of Enlightenment, wishing to emphasize the importance of education in rooting out superstition and a relapse into the witch-craze which had subsided less than a lifetime ago in his day. He was criticizing Voltaire's estimate of "several hundred thousand" as too low.


  1. ^ Voigt, G.C. (1784). "Etwas über die Hexenprozesse in Deutschland" [A few words about witch trials in Germany]. Berlinische Monatsschrift (in German). 3: 297–311. From p. 308: "Wenn nun in einem so kleinen Bezirk Deutschlandes, … neun Millionen vierhundert zwei und vierzig tausend neunhundert vier und neunzig Menschen." (Now when in so small a region of Germany, which contains hardly 11- to 12,000 people, up to 133 persons have been executed as witches in one century; then in the whole Christian Church [i.e., in all Christian Europe], this [i.e., the number of people executed for witchcraft] amounts to 858,454 [victims] every century, and in the period of eleven centuries designated by me [i.e., from 600 A.D. to 1700 A.D.], nine million four hundred and forty-two thousand nine hundred and ninety-four people [have been executed for witchcraft].)
  • Bailey, Michael David (2007). Magic and Superstition in Europe. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 236–238. ISBN 978-0-7425-3387-5.
  • Behringer, Wolfgang. "Neun Millionen Hexen. Entstehung, Tradition und Kritik eines populären Mythos". Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht. Stuttgart: Klett. 49 (11): 664–685. ISSN 0016-9056.
  • Herbert Pohl, Ein Blutige Catastrophen vnnd Ende. Osnabruecker Hexenprozesse im Spiegel fruehneuzeitlicher Publizistik, Nds. Jb. f. LG 62 (1990), 305-9.