Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Rise and Decline of the Witchhunts Essay Example for Free
Rise and declivity of the Witchhunts EssayThe Reformation time was a time of great change in ahead of time modern-day Europe. Sixteenth and seventeenth century Europeans were attempting to make sense of the frightening events that were happening, much(prenominal) as the Black dying and famine. To construe meaning in a world that seemed in constant chaos, early modern Europeans looked to find patterns that would set things right. The Reformation would not have happened if ordinary plenty had not convinced themselves that they were actors in a cosmic drama plotted by immortal that in the Bible he had left them a record of his plans and directions as to how to carry them out. The Reformations brought a new-fashioned direction of faith, where unrivaled had to be more spry in sensations own salvation. They also brought a profound sense of the business organisation of hell, and this order much of the actions of the reformed.The Reformations were a catalytic force in the rise of the enchantress hunts during sixteenth- and seventeenth- century Europe because they brought a new emphasis on the fear of the devil, a new direction of faith that required mortal-to-person accountability and brought a sense of guilt to the one that felt they were not doing as they should, and did a delegacy with the acquainted(predicate) tokens and practices of magical that characterized an aspect of pre-Reformation, early modern European religion. The Reformations also contributed to the decline of the siren hunts as religion evolved during the time period to include an aw atomic number 18ness of the sovereignty of God as well as biblical literalism. The Reformations contributed to the development of the bewitch hunts in several ways, the first being a new emphasis on the fear of the devil. In terms of the Protestant Reformation, this was not necessarily a contradiction to former Catholic beliefs of demonology, as Catholics had an awareness of the battlefront o f the devil.It was simply a new heightened fear of the devil and his influence in the world. Although the great reformers did little to change traditional Catholic demonology, they did tend to emphasize the presence of the call on the carpet in the world and exhibit a more profound fear of him. Catholic theology incorporated the presence of the Devil, but did not adopt the concept of blamed agency. However, during the Counter-Reformation, Catholics became just as diligent in expressing this fear of the Devil. Catholic priests a lot matched their Protestant colleagues in convincing their parishioners of Satans omnipresence and in airlift their fears of him. They could also be equally effective in encouraging them to campaign ceaselessly against him. This awareness of diabolical activity for both the Protestants and Catholics was a new phenomenon, and it was a beginning phase in the persecution of witches during the Reformation era in that witchcraft came to be mooted as the wo rk of the Devil.Along with this new emphasis on the peril of the Devil and diabolical temptation was an emphasis on one being active in jumper lead a morally conscious life and being responsible for ones own salvation. kinda of merely encouraging conformity to certain standards of religious observance ( such as attending church), the reformers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries instructed the people to lead a more demanding, morally rigorous life. Personal sanctity became the new pith for ones salvation. A side effect of the emphasis on personal piety was a deep sense of sin that people desire to relieve in any way possible. Naturally, one of the methods of relief was projection of guilt onto another person. A person regarded as a witch often took the brunt of that projection during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, many accusations arose when individuals refused to provide economic assistance to people who needed it a nd who came to ones door asking for it. In denying this aid, which both Catholic and Protestant moral teaching enjoined, the person naturally felt guilty, but by depicting the unaided person as a witch and therefore as a moral aggressor unworthy of support, he could rid himself of the guilt he was experiencing. Projection of guilt on to the witch eliminated the responsibility of the pious person to cope with it, as the witch was seen as someone practicing morally dubious acts. The traditional blend of pagan forms of magic and religion in Europe came under attack during the Reformations, which changed the methodology of early modern Europeans.In the opinions of the reformers, this was an effort to teach people the true Christian faith and proper forms of worship. One of the main purposes of this learning was to purify the faith by eradicating superstitious beliefs and practices, eliminating vestiges of paganism and suppressing magic (the great rival of true religion) in all its form s. In the minds of the reformers, anything that was not expressly from the Bible was not true. Furthermore, a belief in anything not found in what was believed to be the direct word of God, the Bible, was a sin. Those persons who sought to use objects for purposes which nature could not justify were guilty of idolatry, superstition, and at least implicitly of soliciting the aid of the Devil. This contributed to the witch hunts in that it took away the usual forms of protection that those who believed themselves victims of witches were accustomed to, such as using the sign of the cross or holy water, as the reformers considered these to be external tokens that confuse one from true communion with God.When that happened, the victims of witchcraft could easily have been led to the conclusion that the only way to deal with witches was to take legal action against them, thus leading to an increase in the number of prosecutions. The prosecutions of those pretend of witchcraft was a new direction for dealing with a familiar problem, brought about by the societal shifts that the Reformations brought to early modern Europe. Just as the Reformations contributed to the growth of the witch hunts, they also contributed to their decline. This can be attributed to such things as the Protestant emphasis on the sovereignty of God and Protestant Biblical literalism. The Protestant view of the sovereignty of God made the idea of the Devils diabolical power a heresy, as this implied that the Devil had power equal to that of Gods.The insistence upon Gods sovereignty led a number of Protestant writers and preachers to deny the Devils ability to produce certain types of marvels, such as hailstorms, and this fostered a scepticism toward maleficia that involved such wonders. To the reformers, Gods sovereignty not only meant that the Devil did not have equal power to Gods, but that he was under Gods control. And therefore let us mark (as experience also shows) devils may work many il lusions by enchantments. And truly such things are not done in the dark. For as long as we are enlightened by God, we need not fear that a man shall seem a skirt chaser to us, or that such trishtrash shall get the upper hand of us. This evolving theology changed the view on the diabolical power of the Devil through witches in that Gods power began to be viewed as absolute and Gods word as absolute truth.Protestant reformers focus on Biblical literalism contributed to the course of the witch hunts in that the Bible contained very few references to witches, and none to devil-worship. The Bible also gave evidence of the restraints that God dictated on the Devils power. Calvinism may have encouraged people to engage in an invariant war with Satan, but it also encouraged them eventually to define exactly what he could do and to adopt a purely spiritual view of him. Therefore, the previously held belief in the diabolical power of Satan, and the fear of the Devil, were well-nigh elimin ated. The Reformations brought great change to early modern Europe a new direction of faith, a new sense of the fear of Hell, a new emphasis on personal responsibility for salvation, and the elimination of magic as an aspect of life.These changes drove an increase in the witch hunts as early modern Europeans sought to make sense of the changes the Reformations brought by recognizing the witch as an instrument of evil rather than a practitioner, a projection on to the witch of their own guilt for sin, and the removal of magic as a familiar token of comfort when attempting to cope with their surroundings. Likewise, as the Reformations caused an increase in the witch hunts, they added to their decline as the reformers introduced the sovereignty of God which took away the diabolical power of the Devil, and the acceptance of the Bible as a literal instruction manual where mention of witches and worship of the Devil was virtually absent.Works CitedCalvin, John. Sermon on Deuteronomy (155 0). In witchery in Europe 400-1700 A Documentary History, Second Edition, by Alan Charles and Peters, Edward Kors, 267. Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001. Levack, Brian. The Witch-Hunt in ahead of time fresh Europe, Third Edition. Harlow Pearson Education Limited, 2006. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Reformation A History. New York Penguin Books, 2005. Thomas, Keith. Religion and the Decline of Magic. New York Macmillan Publishing Co., 1971. 1 . Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation A History, (New York Penguin Books, 2005), 550. 2 . Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, Third Edition (Harlow Pearson Education Limited, 2006), 112. 3 . Ibid, 114. 4 . Ibid, 114. 5 . Ibid, 115. 6 . Ibid, 117. 7 . Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, (New York Macmillan Publishing Co., 1971), 256. 8 . Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, Third Edition (Harlow Pearson Education Limited, 2006), 118. 9 . Ibid, 128. 10 . John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy (1555), in Witchcraft in Europe 400-1700 A Documentary History, Second Edition, ed. Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters (Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001) 267. 11 . Brian P. Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, Third Edition (Harlow Pearson Education Limited, 2006), 129.