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European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and by Richard Kieckhefer

By Richard Kieckhefer

In renowned culture witches have been both practitioners of magic or those who have been objectionable not directly, yet for early ecu courts witches have been heretics and worshippers of the satan. This learn concentrates at the interval among 1300 and 1500 while rules approximately witchcraft have been being shaped and witch-hunting was once amassing momentum. it truly is enthusiastic about distinguishing among the preferred and discovered rules of witchcraft. the writer has built his personal technique for distinguishing renowned from realized innovations, which supplies sufficient substantiation for the reputation of a few files and the rejection of others.

This contrast is through an research of the contents of people culture relating to witchcraft, the main simple function of that's its emphasis on sorcery, together with physically damage, love magic, and climate magic, instead of diabolism. the writer then indicates how and why discovered traditions grew to become superimposed on renowned notions – how humans taken to court docket for sorcery have been finally convicted at the extra cost of satan worship. The booklet ends with an outline of the social context of witch accusations and witch trials.

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European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300-1500

In well known culture witches have been both practitioners of magic or those who have been objectionable indirectly, yet for early eu courts witches have been heretics and worshippers of the satan. This learn concentrates at the interval among 1300 and 1500 while rules approximately witchcraft have been being shaped and witch-hunting used to be amassing momentum.

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Example text

The canon Episcopi, composed not long after the Christianization of northern Europe, is part of a long series of texts designed to combat pagan survivalsY In accordance with the standard interpretatio Christiana, the translation of pagan notions into Christian terms,42 the author equated pagan deities with demons, and attributed the popular belief in nightly rides to the suggestion of malign spirits. But the intepretatio Christiana did not suggest that pagans recognized the true identity of their gods and persisted in venerating them despite this knowledge, as in diabolism.

The first interrogation of the subject herself was conducted by a notary and his assistants, and dealt exclusively with the witnesses' charges. Perrusonne either denied the allegations or gave different interpreta- Distinction oj Popular a,ld LeaTllcd Traditions 33 [ions of [he events. For example, she admitted having gone to the bedroom of the mother with the newborn baby, yet claimed that her motive was not kidnapping, but merely solicitude for the mother. Soon afterwards, however, an inquisitorial vicar entered the case.

Historians have traditionally contrasted English and Continental diabolism, ponraying the former as less extravagant than the latter. But the most reliable texts show no major difference at the popular level between English witch beliefs and those of the Continent. The idea of diabolism, developed and elaborated on the Continent, was evidently the product of speculation by theologians and jurists, who could make no sense of sorcery except by postulating a diabolical link between the witch and her victim.

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