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November 22.docx

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Sol Goldberg

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November 22, 2012 - Epistemology – Philosophical investigation of human hypothesis. - From the early periods of Christian beliefs. - What kinds of questions should we ask about witchcraft beliefs - Rise and decline - Where in medieval cultures – ideas were circulating - Need to know something about the people who produced them. - ^and rejected them - Ideas of diabolical witchcraft entered the trial of Temple –not from the villagers – through the judicial and scientific authorities (doctor testimony) - Introduced diabolical pact, witches Sabbath, desecrating holy objects and sexual intercourse with demonic entities. - Studying history from a social perspective – why ideas make sense to people, why ideas gain traction in certain places, etc… - These ideas are emerging precisely from the people who hold authority in the culture (legal, governance, moral, religious, and intellectual authority). - The same people who brought these beliefs of witchcraft to light are denouncing them. - ^16 th– 18 thC. - These documents don't represent all of the skeptical voices – there were skeptics before these centuries. - Expressing skepticism (particularly in the 15 and 16 hundreds) was dangerous – could draw accusations of diabolical witchcraft to the skeptical author. - The historical authors were often arguing for their beliefs. - Often the author did have opponents in line. - Jaquié was an inquisitor – his shrill argument suggests to us that there were Church inquisitors that were less likely to accept absurd notions of sex with demons and flying through the air. - If you took out flight then you cant get to the witches dance (where pacts are made, orgies happen, infanticide, etc…) - J argued that flight was real (against the canon episcope) - Our witches are not the same - Governing elites – The same types of people who produced the witchcraft beliefs over time are the same who are rejecting the beliefs over time. - People who have authority are making and then un-making these ideas. - Ideas themselves don't exist in a vacuum - Why was there this abrupt end? - What has changed? How did things change? - There is no single factor which can account for the change from belief and skepticism - Both Russell and K&P believe – the world is changing – changes in the legal system to prosecute witchcraft – identifying changes in Christian theological systems - Satan worked purposely to destroy all Christians. - Why did these beliefs disappear. - Russell cautions us against the answer which is too easy – superstition etc… - The periods of witchcraft are the same as the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, Humanism –
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