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Magic And Witchcraft Notes

History Notes > Reformation to Revolution 1517-1789 Notes

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Magic and Witchcraft Lecture: Definition:Witchcraft implies maleficium (Latin, literally 'evil doing), a particular type of magic that involves harming other people by means of some extraordinary occult or supernatural power

Difference between magic and witchcraft:-

Magic can be: o

Beneficial or harmful


High or low

Witchcraft is harmful magic of the low kind

Difference between sorcery and witchcraft:-

Sorcery can be: o

Beneficial or harmful


It implies the use of particular techniques, substances or paraphernalia

Witchcraft is invariably harmful, and requires no particular technique

Witchcraft and diabolism:Late medieval Catholic theologians drew a link between witchcraft and diabolism and regarded witchcraft as the worship of and service to Satan, whereby the witch willingly submitted herself or himself to the powers of darkness

Kramer on female witches:'As for the ... question, why a greater number of witches is found in the fragile feminine sex than among men ... the natural reason is that she is more carnal than a man ... All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in a women insatiable'

Preoccupation with the Devil:Major Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin warned all Christians of the omnipresence of Satan, but were not specifically preoccupied with witchcraftThe 16th-century German Catholic theologian Peter Canisius mentioned the Devil more often than Christ in his catechism

Witch-hunts and religious conflicts:Witch-hunts unevenly spread across EuropeMost intense in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland and Scotland

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