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RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Satanism, Inquisitorial System

2 pages86 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
Laury Silvers

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RLG337 November 15, 2012 Lecture
- Detailed look at Witchcraft trial Northern Germany
- Temple Anneke 1663
- Understanding of legal system in Europe during witchcraze
- Legal procedures have influenced the witchcrazes
- Made them worse/ spread farther because…
- 1) procedures/trials tended to spread (learned elites into general population) tended to involve
charges of sorcery and malificium
- charges involved diabolical witchcraft (demonic involvement)
- Temple Anneke was tried her for sorcery, her acussers convicted her for diabolical witchcraft
- Execution and trial public so general population would learn about connection of diabolism to
common sorcery, would then heighten fear of witchcraft
- 2) procedures themselves generate and multiple accusations
- (did not happen with Temple Anneke)
- Procedures create more accusations and so on….
- Once an accusation was accepted by court, focus turned to reviewing evidence to determine
quality and determine reliability of witness testimony
- If court reaches guilty verdict, gets defendant to confess freely to charges they previously
- In set of questions: are learned ideas of witchcraft being group activity
- Defendant also asked to name her collaborators
- That in term would breed more trials
- If do not confess freely, will try and get defendant to confess under threat of torture
- If defendant refuses to confess under torture
- After confession attained under torture she is allowed to confess freely afterward
- Giving confession outside of torture would verify torture confession (unless defendant recanted)
- This is the inquisitorial system, relies on witness testimony and confession
- Up to 13th century is the Accusatorial system
- Rely on oaths and ideals to resolve case
- Crime existed when individual accused another individual, public officials did not seek out crime
- Accuser had to swear oath to truth of her accusation
- If the accused denied the accusation the accused had to take an oath of innocent, court had to
determine if oath was sufficient, would call compurgators to ensure honesty
- If the accused had a malafama (bad reputation) then the oath of the compurgators may be
considered weak evidence, if court only has weak evidence then the accused was subject to the
- Ordeal involves form of physical trial (harmed physically)
- Final/certain guilt determined on how wound healed, if wound healed normally then considered
innocent if heals badly considered guilty
- Throwing in water, float if guilty, sink if innocent
- Idea is that God will perform a miracle and save the innocent
- Accusatory relied on theory of imminent justice, idea that divine intervention always a part of
human judicial prophecies
- If evidence not certain logic is to turn to God to make the final decision
- Oath and the ordeal function as forms of proof, if don’t have those rely on God
- 12th and 13th centuries a transition to Inquisitorial system
- Ancient Roman law adapted to Medieval law
- Year 1215 church outlawed use of Accusatorial system
- Church did not like this because accusatorial system seen to be unchristian
- Theological objection, puts God at bidding of human beings
- God cannot be coerced to be at certain place at certain time
- Results of ordeal could have been done by demons
- Doing justice means investigations and arrests are carried out through official inquiry
- Judge himself has to determine if crime occurred/ punishable (general inquiry)
- When the crime and guilty party identified then second stage begins (special inquiry)
- Consists of actual trial where judgment of guilt/innocence is made
- Torture and confession replaced ordeal and oath as final means to ensure guilt/innocence
- Confession seen as the single means of overcoming uncertainty
- Witchcraft very hard to prove
- Torture revived, believed to be best way to attain a confession because pain and terror is able to
break down ability to lie
- Torture cause the defendant to tell the truth
- This system can accept denunciation of accomplices
- Naming of accomplices under torture can be taken as sincere evidence
- Denunciations themselves increase number of trials because learn of more criminals
- Temple Anneke arrested in the summer on suspicion of witchcraft

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