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Department
History
Course
HIS389H1
Professor
Jane Abray
Semester
Fall

Description
HIS389H1F - Sceptics - Lecture - November 23, 2010 1. Demonological Sceptics (Yes, but approach to cumulative concept) - Cumulative Concept – scepticism all about the cumulative concept – long time coming though - Nider, Formicarius; Kramer and Sprenger, Malleus maleficarum - Ulrich Molitor, De lamiis et pythonicis mulieribus (Of Female Sorcerers and Soothsayers), 1489 Archduke Sigismund of Austria Regensburg, Innsbruck o From the very beginning, people had doubts. One of the reasons literature of witchcraft is so immense is that there is a lot of argument going on… o Scepticism about particular demonological ideas o Then ideas scepticism of trials and hunts- trials that raise doubts about political process, and thubts on core beliefs (pact with the devil) o Middle of 17 century on- philosophers take a position of real doubt- who are able to come to the conclusion that this cannot be real and thus should not be put on trial o Demonologists never agree amongst selves, we can trace scepticism among particular ideas in the cumulative concept- ideas that are emerging with writers like Nider, Kramer and Sprenger o Consider the case of Ulrich Molitor – 1489 wrote book Of Female Sorcerers and Soothsayers wrote to doubts in mind of Archduke Sigismund who is mad about works of Nider. Molitor wrote to try and settle his doubts and show what his role as a Christian ruler should be… o What Molitor believed- he believed there are witches, witches make pact with devil, give up Christian faith and because of that they deserve to be put to death, also believes Devil is master of deception and thinks a lot of the witch craft package is nonsense, people diluted, he does not believe in the sabbath, does not believe humans have sex with devil, woman can be made pregnant by devil (does not believe), does not believe they can fly or turn into animals. Molitor says all this stuff is just delusions created by the devil. Many people share his yes but attitude towards the big package of witchcraft:  French medical doctor- Symphorien Champier,  Italian monk Franciscan Samuel de Cassini believes sabbath is an illusion and says it is heretical to believe the devil can move people around or the devil can conduct Sabbaths.  Dodi  Andreas Alciatus- lawyer, jurist, theoretician, law professor, Italian, humanist, tells us that often those sub-alpine valleys where trials take place, there are a lot of sceptics, peasants do not like Inquisition  Johann Fichard- law professor, famous German  French, Italian, German, lawyer, doctor, monk = range of professions, geographic range, chronological range- of tradition of scepticism of particular aspects of demonological package  All of these people draw on old text called the Canon episcopi, Gratian’s Decretals, case 26- Gratian is the author, best work is Decretals in which he preserves the Canon textbook which is one of the most successful law textbooks of all time- late 12 century into 20 century = standard textbook for those studying canon law- all work from Gratian- so all demonologists will be familiar with Gratian and Canon episcopi  26 case – hypothetical case- bishop excommunicates priest because he is a stubborn unrepentant magician, confesses on death bed, second priest grants final rights- what are the implications in canon law of such an absolution, is the pries reconciled? – what concerns us = Gratian in discussion preserves text of Canon- who he got from Burchard of Worms’ who got it from Abbot of Trier who said it actually comes from early 4 century Council of Ancyra- thus a text that goes back into 300s! – What is relevant? – bishops and officials must labour with all strength to rid maleficium – bishops should uproot sorcery- if bishops and officials find man, eject them from parishes (kick out, excommunicate) – Do not omit (tricky part for demonologist) that some wicked women perverted by devil believe and profess selves at night to ride on beasts with Diana goddess of pagans and in silence of night traverse many spaces… you have the canon saying there are deluded women who think they can fly on beasts accompanying goddess to go to some place to worship – but Canon says this is a disillusion of the devil! It is also heretical to believe you can fly on back of beast or believe Diana exists- there is only the divinity and power of one God! – that every flight with Diana is false! – only happen in mind of deluded people  Banishment is worse punishment Church could impose, but text rejects travel to sabbath, questions devils powers and makes role of delusion and fantasy part of magical belief and error = see why demonology has both people who say devils power is so great he can fly people to Sabbaths and then other group (less modern) who follow canon episcopi who said the devil cannot do these things (Church said devil cannot)  Where demonological scepticism comes from  Refuting sceptics- we are talking about new witchcraft- not what canon talks about  Why malleus says witchcraft of the day is new and not like old pagan magic  Canon episcopi is regularly invoked in discussions of devil and reality of witchcraft-if you adhere to it you reject other presumptions of other demonologists- Molitor shows you can reject demonology but still believe in essential ideas of supernatural crimes being committed  Demonological scepticism did not end witch hunts- just generated more writing on witch hunts 2. Judicial Sceptics- yes but about the trials and hunts – Levack was right saying judicial scepticism made courts reluctant to convict witches, and lead to abolition of torture- not that lawyers do not believe but they realize it is getting too difficult to conduct trials with any certainty, or being lawyer like going amongst work - Cornelius Loos, Trier- disgraced theologian from Trier- gets into trouble for objecting to big chain trials in Trier, persuaded that massive hunt in Trier is a travesty of justice, massacre of innocent, city council does not listen to him, he writes a book and sends off to printers – locked up in monastery after book, and made to confess - Reconstruct ideas from confession- many reasons Loos is uncomfortable derive from canon episcopi –problem with demonological ideas firmly held- Loos things physical travel to sabbath is impossible - He is troubled by flight (canon episcopi) aerial flight is false, rejects demonic copulation, trouble with basic demonological ideas… Loos rejects the idea of the pact between devil and humans (possible taken from Nider) and also possible his ideas that no witches renouncing god, worshipping devil, does not believe witches are creating storms (from Nider) or could be his own individual response about what he knows about confessions being made in Trier, a lot derived from watching witch hunt in late 16 century in Trier- conviction that torture produces false confessions – says Trier hunts are tyrannical abuse of power, taken in bad faith for monetary gain (derive from personal experience) - Rejecting witchcraft is heresy (malleus) – thus Look heretic - Alonso de Salazar Frias (canon lawyer in service of Spanish Inquisition: La Suprema) - La Suprema heard of witch hunt in Basque country began in 1609 o Hear stories of doubts on process, Salazar sent with edict of grace to investigate o 1611- 1614- investigates – edict of grace allows anyone who confesses to him to be absolved and not punished o Sends back 9 reports – remember he believes in existence of devil and possibility of witchcraft o Investigations lead him to conclude what happened in Basque is out of line with inquisitorial process o Talked to 1800 people- very specific, spoke to many children, concludes Sabbath is invention and made up b/c no reliable evidence o Investigates stories of potions and powders which makes him conclude people simply imagine o Found no material proof of witch activities despite people tried and condemned o Answer= poor judicial process o Troubled by credibility of fellow inquisitors o 1670 confessed to committing perjury o 1612- conclusion- earliest conclusion made by Salazar – talks about panic, mass delusion o Salazar has a real effect to doubt realities of witchcraft- he is not cure-all of all problems of Spain - La Suprema Basque - Friedrich Spee, Cautio Criminalis (Precautions Prosecturos), 1631- German - Jesuit, more well known than Salazar, more controversial char
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