Essay on medieval witchcraft. College paper Writing Service

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James, on the other hand, asserted that no man was immune. He wrote that "no man ought to presume so far as to promise anie impunitie to himselfe: for God that before all beginninges preordinated aswell the particular sortes of Plagues as of benefites for euerie man." Unlike Kramer, James claimed there were none protected by God because their fate had already been decided by God, no matter what their situation. Even James himself was not immune, since he believed he himself was attacked by a violent storm conjured up by witches. James did, however, make it clear that there were some who were more to be harmed by witchcraft. He says that despite the fact that all people are subject to harm "there is no kinde of persones so subject to receiue harme of them, as these that are of infirme and weake faith (which is the best buckler against such inuasiones)." James' reasoning was that, as previously discussed, God would specifically punish those whose faith was waning. Kramer believed that God would protect those closest to him, that is, the workers of the Church who prosecute witches and those who adhere to the traditions of the Church. James, who had already fallen victim to the effects of harmful magic, had his own experience to lead him to the conclusion that no man was safe from witches.

Both Kramer and James go beyond simply stating why witchcraft was allowed, but also described what it actually looked like. Kramer went into much greater detail, describing how witches caused drought, removed men's penises, turned humans into animal shapes, and many others. One subject which both Kramer and James covered was how witches were able to transport themselves from one place to another. Kramer described magicians who rode on evil spirits in the shape of horses. He even mentions an incident where a man claimed he was carried through the air by an evil spirit. Kramer's reasoning was that angels (good and evil), being more powerful than human beings, can transport people from place to place. He even described the method for performing a "physical transvection", saying that "under instruction from an evil spirit, they make an ointment from the body-parts of children...They smear it on a piece of wood, and when they have done this, they are carried at once into the air, day or night, in full sight of everyone or invisibly." His explanations relied on the aid of evil spirits, some sort of ritual (as in the use of the ointment) and, as previously discussed, the permission of God.

In the text, Kramer discussed the question, "why are there more workers of harmful magic found in the female sex, which is so frail and unstable, than among men?" His explanation went back to Biblical Eve, explaining that "because she was formed from a curved rib, that is, from a chest-rib, which is bent and [curves] as it were in the opposite direction from [that in] a man; from this weakness one concludes that, since she is an unfinished animal, she is always being deceptive." What Kramer argued, then, was that women were fundamentally more prone to witchcraft because the nature of their creation made them weak. He analyzed the nature of women through the origin of the word , tracing it to the words , meaning "faith" and , meaning "less", concluding that it meant "less faith." This particular etymology used by Kramer is interesting because it is not the orthodox etymology, to say the least. Most would say derives from a word meaning "to suckle". By using his interpretation of the word's origin, Kramer could further his opinion of women.

1/11/2012 · I am dong an essay on medieval witchcraft and i need 3 main points about it

Changes had occurred since Kramer's era and many of the ideas found in the are not as visible in the writings of James. Similar ideas appeared, but these were not necessarily unique to the or the . Ideas such as the permission of God or women as a weaker sex were present in almost all demonology texts. The differences discussed, although sometimes subtle, are important because they show that James was taking common ideas of witchcraft that differed from the . James still exhibited a strong belief in witchcraft, but did not build up his definitions in the same way as Kramer. During the second half of his life, James began to show much more skepticism with regard to witchcraft. Since he wrote no text on witchcraft in his later life, his views must be inferred from his actions. One specific witchcraft case to which he showed particular attention was that of Anne Gunter. Not only was James' skepticism visible in this case, but the case itself shows a greater divergence from the ideas of witchcraft found in the .

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The use of sources is, of course, important in any intellectual enterprise. As previously mentioned, Kramer used the literature of the church to support his text. He cites scripture in abundance and makes extensive use of writers such as Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. For example, when discussing the existence of harmful magic he cites Aquinas in book four of to support the claim that those who deny the existence of witchcraft are heretics. He is specific in his use of the work, saying that his point is proven "especially in the third article where he says that the opinion runs entirely contrary to the authority of the saints, and grows out of the root of unbelief." Non-clerical sources, such as Aristotle, were also utilized. Kramer discuses Aristotle's book 3 of by explaining that "a wicked act, [he says] is a voluntary act, and he proves it by saying that no one acts unjustly unless he wants, of his own will and accord, to be unjust." These sources used by Kramer and their application to the argument of witchcraft reveal how the intellectual world of this time utilized scholarly sources both theological and secular as the foundation of its belief in witchcraft.

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Anne's story began when she fell ill in the town of North Moreton during the summer of 1604, when she was about fourteen. She was most likely afflicted with what was then known as 'the disease of the mother', also known as hysteria, although epilepsy was also put forth as a possibility. At first, the disease was thought to be a natural malady. However, when it returned in October of 1604, many began to believe witchcraft was the cause. In the absence of Anne's father, who was himself sick and away at the time in Oxford, Anne's mother began to bring in physicians. Dr. Cleyny of Wallingford was called on first to inspect Anne. He initially diagnosed a natural disease but suspected something supernatural when she failed to respond to treatment. Dr. Bartholomew Warner was called sometime after, and he immediately asserted that the girl suffered from no natural disease. More physicians declared similar opinions, including John Wendore of Newbury, who specialized in sickness brought on by witchcraft. Remedies such as drawing blood from the suspected women or moving Anne away from the sight of bewitchment were put forth by various professionals brought in to inspect the young girl.

The content of the literature is a useful tool in revealing the nature of witchcraft as defined by the two authors, Kramer and James. The reveals not only Kramer's own definitions, but also reflects on the intellectual views of the world in which he lived. As an inquisitor for the medieval church, Kramer's life was rooted in theology and dogma. The text was "in the first place, an expression of a distinctively clerical world view" and the product of "academic spiritual, and pastoral experience within the Church." The clerical influence in the is obvious in the many references Kramer used to support his arguments which included the scriptures, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. His own interpretations reflect ideas based on his life experience as an inquisitor and faithful servant to the Church. Faith in the Church became particularly important in Part II of the text, when Kramer outlines certain remedies for the effects of harmful magic. He used the writings of Thomas Aquinas to explain how exorcism could be used. He also described the prescribed religious practices which could be used as a cure for witchcraft. Kramer told the story of a man who had been injured in his foot from harmful magic. After having no success in medicinal cures a devout virgin came to visit him. When asked to give his foot a blessing she did nothing but apply the Lord's prayer and the Apostle's Creed and immediately he claimed to be cured. When asked what she had done she replied "your faith is weak, and you do not adhere to the approved religious practices of the Church...But if you would put your hope in prayer and the effectiveness of lawful signs, you would often be cured very easily." Kramer's concern with regard to witchcraft was for the Christian faith and he decried non-believers, saying that "this ignorance is the reason witches are not being crushed by the retribution they deserve, and that they now appear to be depopulating the whole of Christendom." By 1480, his concern for witchcraft grew into the strong desire to prosecute witches. The reveals this desire for an increase in the prosecutions of witches.

11.07.2013 · Essay: The feminisation of witchcraft and rise of misogyny in late medieval and early modern Europe

Essay: The feminisation of witchcraft and rise of …

Whereas Part I is concerned with proving witchcraft exists, Part II describes the acts specifically. This section of the text outlines how witchcraft is accomplished and the remedies for removing its effects. In this, Kramer utilized his experience as an inquisitor, using specific cases of witchcraft he encountered as examples for his arguments. In one instance, he used a personal experience with witchcraft to illustrate the way in which witches take advantage of people in order to "overthrow the innocent":