“A machshefah shall not live.”
Machshefah (often translated as "sorceress" or "witch") comes from the word kishuf (pronounced kee-shoof, it includes methods utilizing what we call magic, sorcery, witchcraft, divination, occultism—whether real or faked).
Intensely derided by the feminist movement today, this verse contains a lot of wisdom that used to be more obvious, but today has been muddled by modern attitudes.
And, as Rashi clearly states, though the term used is feminine, this verse applies EQUALLY to men.
So all the exhortations knocking this verse as a demonization of women are bunk.
And no...Jews are NOT responsible for the way many Catholic priests or other gospel-believers interpreted and responded to this verse over the centuries.
If any of them wanted to understand what it really meant and how God really wanted them to behave, they could easily have asked one of the tremendous Sages around in their time.
(They had no problem accessing Torah Sages when they wanted to.)
So their attitude was neither the fault of the Torah nor Am Yisrael.
(Yet another reason why it's irresponsible to listen to random people who speak against any part of the Torah, especially when they lack any knowledge of the millennia of consistent interpretation—and particularly when these soapboxers hold little to no knowledge of the text in its original Hebrew language.)
For a 3-part series on the topic (including strange & illuminating stories), start here:
To read a halachic discussion of the prohibition's modern application, please click on the following: