Beoordeling 6.3
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  • 5e klas vwo | 689 woorden
  • 21 mei 2004
  • 14 keer beoordeeld
Cijfer 6.3
14 keer beoordeeld

Witch persecutions: From the late 14th century to the early 18th, the hierarchy of Christianity essentially turned its back on the peaceful and compassionate message of Jesus and substituted instead a fanatical rage of intolerance and paranoia aimed at anyone suspected of being a witch. The Sermon on the Mount and a Christian gospel of love towards humanity was replaced with the rack, the thumbscrew, the hangman's noose, and the burning stake. The House of God was, in effect, replaced with the torture chamber. Almost anyone could be accused of being a witch and a devil worshiper during this reign of terror. In that time of extreme suspicion, women and children where the victims of the persecutions and especially older women who had little influence in the community. Needless to say, a woman who was a midwife or who practiced herbal medicine or observed any remnants of the Old Religion (with the nature-based celebrations like Samhain) was in a severely precarious position. The once benign pagan celebration days of the seasons were now seen by the inquisitors as evil, as witches' "sabbats" or sabbaths upon which witches worshipped the devil. It was believed that witches would travel to sabbats where they would consort with the devil and even engage in sexual relations with Satan. How did they get to these meetings? Naturally, they flew there on broomsticks or used magic unguents or potions. If you to fly, you have to be very skinny and that is why they throw witches in the water with their limbs tied to their bodies. Even when it was a fat woman she wouldn’t sink so fast, because of the air in her lungs. The real cause of the witch persecutions is the threat of the Pagan religion. Much people in North Europe didn’t follow the Christian religion and the Christians want to enlarge their territory. The Christian leaders changed the pagan God with their Devil. The look of the devil is lead from the Pagan God. This was a first step of the Christians againt the pagan believers. Their God was changed into nothing but evil. As late as the Middle Ages (circa 1300's), although the Church gave no credence to paganism, it had tolerated the pagan faith and its witches, for there were a multitude of pagans throughout Europe. By the late 14th century and certainly by the 15th, the persecution of witches began in earnest. The Church had gone from a somewhat tolerant disbelief in witches to a fanatical doctrine toward the existence of witches and their alleged alliance with Satan. One of the most important works of the Inquisition against heresy and witches was the creation of the book called Malleus Maleficarum, which means "The Hammer Against Witches." (Malleus is Latin for hammer or mallet; Maleficarum refers to people who commit bad or evil acts.) Some of the material in the Malleus Maleficarum could be used not only to condemn witches but also other evil creatures which were in league with the devil like the vampire or the incubus. The Malleus Maleficarum was composed in 1486 by two fanatical Dominicans, In 1484 was proclaimed a papal bull, "Summis Desiderantes Affectibus" which stated that both men and women could be witches. Witch hunters were getting obsessed of their job. In the beginning of the witch persecutions they where assigned by God to persume witches. For each caught witch the inquisitiors received a large sum of money. Of course this spur on to catch more and more witches. Witches were tortured until they confessed guilty of occuping witchcraft. The people easily believed the guiltiness of the witches because of their quick confess in the courtroom. Nobody dared to offer resistance to the Church because of the crazy persecutions. By the 1700s witch trials were becoming a thing of the past, however. Louis XIV of France, for example, enacted an edict in 1682 that reduced the presence of witch trials. How many people were murdered altogether in the Burning Times? No one knows for sure, but even the moderate Encyclopedia Britannica puts the number as estimated "from the hundreds of thousands to the millions."


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