October 18, 12
- Option1 – write a standard response paper (week 6 heading) –
when essay is due
- Or don’t.
- Tensions – Label of “Evil”
- Prior to the witch crazes, people already believed in witchcraft and
- Helpful v. Harmful magic (Light v. Dark…)
- Exodus 12:18 – “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” – generally
considered to mean that witches couldn’t not be permitted to exist
within the Christian community
- Repentance was still considered possible
- Over time witchcraft came to be more associated with a pact or
deal with the devil.
- A conspiracy against faith
- Women considered particularly prone to becoming witches – less
control over urges (Eve)
- Women thought to have less control over sexual urges, and were
tempted into sexual relations with the devil. – initiation into
- The interpretation is that practitioners of witchcraft seek to bring
ruin onto the society of believers
- A blood oath made wit hthe devil
- Sexual rituals and encounters strengthen the bonds
- Gain ability to shapeshift and to summon animas animated by
- The “witches marl” is the sign of belonging
- Women stripped naked and shaved head to toe, then prodded with
pins and hot irons on moles, etc.
- If not physical mark could be found she would keep being poked
with needles until they found a numb spot
- Try to get a confession priests applied hot fat repeatedly to [her]
eyes and armpits, etc… sexual violation as well.
- All of this was done due to a very real fear that the Christian
community was actively under attack
- In 1468, witchcraft is declared a crimen exceptum
- Were an inquisitor to show leniency, they, too, would likely be
accused of witchcraft, or some other part of the demonic conspiracy.
- Summis Desiderantes (1484)
- Papal document issued to proclaim the virtue of inquisitors acting
on behalf of the Catholic Church during the time of the European
witch hunts (~1480 – 1750) - Denouncing those who have given themselves over to an “evil
- “witches” threaten the Christian faith and its adherents with ruin
- The “righteous” inquisitors are given full authority in terms of
neutralizing these heretics, and are encouraged to engage in their
“correction, imprisonment, and punishment”
- Bewitching, sacrilege, death, infanticide (midwives particularly
suspected): offences against humans, the Church and their G-d.
- The pure Self and the impure and scandalous Other: “…all heretical
depravity be put far from the territories of the faithful…”
- The offenders are “heretical” and the faithful are devoted
- But of the most interest here is the phrase “all errors being rooted
out by our toil as with the hoe of a wise laborer”
- ^Presupposition of purity and divine authority allows this group to
claim such a superior position.
- Witches are to be “weeded out” of the otherwise blessed garden.
- They are seen as a contaminant in the body of the faith.
- The stated deeds which have earned the perpetrators such lowly
status are of the most diabolical kind: All that is supposed to be
fruitful and multiply is being violated by these individuals.
- Once insiders themselves, they have denounced their religion and
made contact with the devil.
- 1517 – Martin Luther’s 95 Thesis
- Tension building for years prior to this
- Catholic church under increasing pressure
- ^Inquisition as purge movement w/in the church
- ^Internal – concerned only w/behavior of Catholics. Not explicitly
connected to conversion attempts or judgments of other religions.
- Retention in times of religious challenges within C