Lewd Women and Wicked Witches: A Study of the Dynamics of Male Domination

By Marianne Hester | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

The early modern witch-hunts II

PEASANT BELIEFS AND THE INQUISITION

Two aspects of pre-witch-craze Europe may be considered a particularly important basis for the witch-hunts: peasant beliefs regarding the existence of witches; and the establishment by the ruling class of an inquisitorial apparatus. Norman Cohn argues that it was the alteration of traditional peasant beliefs and incorporation of these into the beliefs of the ruling class (and especially the clergy), combined with change in the legal system via the inquisitorial process, which provided the necessary elements for the European witch-hunts to take off. 1 In other words, actual witch-hunting relied on peasant beliefs, but could not have occurred without the intervention of the upper echelons of society. I will examine these issues before going on to look at the main period of witch persecution.

The belief in maleficium, that is, doing harm by occult means, has been shown to have a long history among the European and also the English peasantry (see Thomas 1971). According to Cohn (1975), such beliefs can be identified in historical documentation stretching back to the fourth century and persisting during the Middle Ages. He distinguishes between sorcery and witchcraft, because ‘sorcery’ refers to general techniques while ‘witchcraft’ denotes particular powers residing with only certain individuals, and the witches could use their powers, or substances, objects, gestures or spells to carry out their supposedly evil deeds. However, although sorcery and witchcraft were known in pre-witch-hunt Europe as distinct concepts, these forms of maleficium were also perceived to overlap (ibid.: 148).

During the medieval period the practice of maleficium was

-131-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lewd Women and Wicked Witches: A Study of the Dynamics of Male Domination
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 240

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.