gnidrologs ([info]gnidrologs) rakstīja,
@ 2022-06-29 21:07:00

Previous Entry  Add to memories!  Tell a Friend!  Next Entry

Did the Catholic Church kill witches in the Medieval Ages? Were the women who could cure diseases called witches at that time?

First, it wasn’t really a thing in the medieval period. It was more in the early modern era, early 1400s to late 1700s, the height of it in the mid 1600s.

And the gross exaggerations of “the Burning Times” are a compelling myth, but almost entirely fabricated. Which is not to deny or excuse what did, in fact, happen. There’s just no reason to exaggerate or lie about history.

The most generous realistic estimates suggest that, over a 400 year period, perhaps 30,000 “witches” were killed either by religious authorities, or, most often, by mobs or state authorities. Most were executed in other ways than burning, and many of those burned were killed first, then their bodies burned.

About 80% of these were women, and the rest men. But even this varied, in some countries, men were the majority of those accused and executed.

Now, that’s still 30,000 more than should have been killed for their identity or practices, except where they were accused of witchcraft as a means by which they had committed a capital crime like murder. (I don’t condone capital punishment, but many legal and ethical systems, then and now, do. And many of these were in that context - not executed as witches, so much as executed for capital crimes carried out by “witchcraft”, most commonly, poisoning).

For perspective, that’s an average of 75 people a year, globally. The US alone accounts for more than half that many death penalty cases annually, today. Also, about 75% of people accused of witchcraft were acquitted.

In some places, nearly all of those killed as “witches” were violent criminals. In others, many were guilty of petty crimes or prostitution, most likely as the result of poverty and limited social class or acceptance. It was almost never the case that those targeted were actual pagans, goddess-worshippers, or targeted for threatening the patriarchy with their ‘uppity’ ways and medical know-how - in fact, midwives and other wise women known for their healing knowledge were often part of the trials, used on the side of the prosecution.

Targeting “witches” seems to have been a practice that was not widespread, but was just as likely in Catholic and Protestant circles, whether Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran, or other, or in nonpartisan areas. Most of Catholic Europe never experienced any witch trials or persecution of witches. The phenomenon seemed to start in the western alps in about 1425, and died out in Poland in 1788. While English (Protestant) colonies saw famous witch trials, as in Salem, Catholic Spanish and Portuguese colonies saw none. On the other hand Catholic Belgium was worse than Protestant Netherlands. The infamous Spanish Inquisition - in its 350 year history - only ever executed two people as “witches”. So it really depended as much or more on local culture, politics, and populace than religion or religious identity.

The real factor seemed to be if an overzealous “witch hunter” was making his name - and profit - in the area. And the attitudes of the monarch or political ruler. In England, for example, the worst persecution of witches occurred under Elizabeth I - more than under any king, even James I.

Andrew Boyd
Professor of Theology and Religious Studies (2013–present)

(Lasīt komentārus)


( )Anonīms- ehh.. šitajam cibiņam netīk anonīmie, nesanāks.
Tematā HTML ir aizliegts
Neesi iežurnalējies. Iežurnalēties?