Concerning why the witch hunts occurred when they did the agreed upon opinion by all three author’s is the social unrest and uncertainty felt due to the Protestant Reformation and the schism it created amongst the populace, the effects of recovering from plague and war, and the enforced patriarchal structure of a society that was changing. It was during the Reformation that Christian...
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...nt of the world with a broader awareness and accepting of the world without a “reliance upon supernatural explanations...and encouraged...scientific manner,”8 abolishing the need for scapegoats. A view that both Levack and Ben-Yehuda share is the result of religious changes. There emerged a new religious tolerance attributed by Ben-Yehuda to the Peace of Westphalia, stating that
“once stability was achieved and religious pluralism accepted, the witch-hunts weakened, finally disappearing altogether.”9 Though Boss does not exclusively establish a view it can be inferred through the understanding of disease and medicine, the end of persecution due to death and illness would cease.
1 Nachman Ben-Yehuda The European Witch Craze of the 14th to 17th Centuries: A Sociologist’s Perspective. The University of Chicago, 1980. 15. 2 Levack! 123.3 Levack 164.
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