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Not only were physicians and surgeons the principal professional arbiters for determining natural versus preternatural signs and symptoms of disease, they occupied key legislative, judicial, and ministerial roles relating to witchcraft proceedings.
Many examples appear in early texts, such as those from ancient Egypt and Babylonia.
These practitioners served on coroners' inquests, performed autopsies, took testimony, issued writs, wrote letters, or committed people to prison, in addition to diagnosing and treating patients.
Some practitioners are simply mentioned in passing." There has also existed in popular belief the concept of white witches and white witchcraft, which is strictly benevolent.
Christian views in the modern day are diverse and cover the gamut of views from intense belief and opposition (especially from Christian fundamentalists) to non-belief, and in some churches even approval.
From the mid-20th century, witchcraft – sometimes called contemporary witchcraft to clearly distinguish it from older beliefs – became the name of a branch of modern paganism.