The Rise of Witch Hunts in Europe During the Early Modern Period Essay

The Rise of Witch Hunts in Europe During the Early Modern Period Essay

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The Rise of Witch Hunts in Europe During the Early Modern Period

Tens of thousands of people were persecuted and put to death as
witches between 1570 and 1680 – known as the great age of witch-hunts.
Europeans had an extensive range of magical beliefs and practices,
mainly due to the Christian belief that magic exists. The elite
believed in magic as fervently as the most ignorant peasant. It was
believed that some members of the society sold their soul to the devil
giving them power to inflict pain on others and take part in
supernatural performances. Famous intellectuals such as James V1, or
the internationally famous lawyer Jean Bodin, publicly declared the
existence and reality of witchcraft which only convinced the thoughts
and fears of the common folk.[1] There remain a number of reasons and
explanations given by historians over the years to explain why the
witch hunt was it its peak during this period and whom were the most
targeted members of society.

Religion was a colossal factor in the rise of witch hunts like an
epidemic. The Pope XX11 expressed a particular horror of witches and
claimed that he “feared for his own life at their hands.”[2] The
Church and its teachings also played a big part in the views and
beliefs of people. This was due to people having a strong faith in
religion and therefore lacking the audacity to refute the teachings
and views of the Bible and the state. “The Church was keen to condemn
all such traditions as superstitious and pagan….for several centuries
regarded as having conciliar authority.”[3] In the early modern period
it was common to believe the words of the Church and only natural to
ac...


... middle of paper ...


... without any genuine form
of evidence, it was based on word of mouth, which led to the huge
increase of witch-hunt during this period.


---------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Europe 1600-1789, Anthony F. Upton, p15-17.

[2] Witchcraft in Europe, Alan C. Kors & Edward Peters, 72.

[3] Witchcraft and Magic in 16th and 17th Century Europe, Geoffrey
Scarre, p14.

[4] Witchcraft in Europe 1100-1700, Alan C. Kors & Edward Peters,
p193.

[5] Witchcraft and Magic in 16th and 17th Century Europe, Geoffrey
Scarre, p59.

[6] Witchcraft and Magic in 16th and 17th Century Europe, Geoffrey
Scarre, p24.

[7] The Witch- Hunt in Early Modern Europe, Brian P. Levack, p129.

[8] Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Early
Modern England, Deborah Willis, p65.

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