Salem  The Nature of Witchcraft Lecture topics: History Types of Witchcraft The Evil that Witches Do How a Witch Does What She Does How to Catch a Witch
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Salem : The Nature of Witchcraft
•1692, Salem, Massachusetts
•Puritans - religious descendants, left England between 1620-40 and moved to the new
world. couple of reasons, access to land, wanted to create “the new holy
commonwealth” saw the english church as corrupt, so wanted to provide a new start for
themselves and provide a moral example for those back in england “we must consider
that we shall be as a city on a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us”
•also brought old European ideas/values with them, one of which was belief in
•WITCHCRAFT AND ITS HISTORY
•belief in magic is common in many societies, supernatural abilities.
•the church used to coexist with witchcraft peacefully until the 12th century, when it
starts taking a more negative view of those it viewed as heretics.
•among the first to be criticized were jews, gay men, lepers, then witches (around
the 14th century)
•Sprenger and Kramer - Malleus Maleficarum (book)
•summation of everything that has been known, discovered, about
witchcraft until that point
•book available to clergy and government in salem
•this issue is not just important to the church but to the secular authorities
and the government and how to try and convict witches. THE STATE
•key texts that makes the connection between witchcraft and women
•as a result of increasing interests, witches go from being an individual threat to
being an organized threat to Christianity and the church.
•the reason this sect was believed to be taking place was people were increasing
signing pacts with the devil in a conspiracy to take down Christianity.
•BOTH A RIVAL AND A THREAT TO CHRISTIANITY
•1450-1750 - the great European witch hunt
•50,000 - 9 million people are killed as witches
•the most eminent minds of europe believed in witchcraft (Newton, Locke, etc. top
scientists, statesmen, philosophers, believed we lived in a dualistic universe. things
from the invisible world could pass over into the material world) NOT an eccentric
•THREE TYPES OF MAGIC
•magic, supernatural beliefs that is used for innocent or good purposes.
curing the sick, helping crops, bringing good luck. ie. rabbits foot, wearing
the same socks for every game
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