Battling Demons: Witchcraft, Heresy, and Reform in the Late by Michael D. Bailey

By Michael D. Bailey

I used to be excited upon receiving this e-book as I anticipated an exhilarating evaluation of witchcraft as understood within the Medieval interval, regrettably it was once virtually merely an research of 1 person's unexciting interpretation of the malleus maleficarum. while you're trying to find a extra interesting and thorough heritage I hugely suggest Nancy Caciola's Discerning Spirits. This ebook can also be just a little incomplete because it is approximately third of Bailey's dissertation chopped into e-book shape explaining a lot of its overemphasis on a unmarried determine, possibly whilst he has released the remaining will probably be extra thorough and for that reason relaxing.

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Yet even then many individuals, churchmen among them, refused to accept the existence of a vast conspiratorial sect of diabolic sorcerers. qxd 32 9/3/02 2:44 PM Page 32 B AT T L I N G D E M O N S That Nider and other such educated and intelligent men, engaged by the major religious issues of their day, should have been so concerned about the existence of witches—indeed, that they should have accepted this idea at all—must not be taken as a foregone conclusion. Rather we must ask why they were drawn to this idea and why it troubled them so deeply.

For, as much as common beliefs and folklore contributed to the idea of the witch, ultimately it was a small elite of ecclesiastical and secular authorities who accepted this new concept, shaped it into a coherent system, and propagated it across Europe to such dire effect. 13 How, then, did this destructive idea take shape in the minds of authorities, particularly clerical ones, in the Middle Ages? At the root of most later witch trials lay charges of maleWcium—harmful sorcery. Yet maleWcium alone was not the most important element of witchcraft for most witch-hunting authorities, certainly not for ecclesiastical ones.

Even if Nider did receive this appointment in 1426, he could have remained on the university faculty, as he did years later when he was again a member of the faculty and yet retained all of his responsibilities within the observant movement. 32 NIDER AS PRIOR IN NUREMBERG AND BASEL Nider served as prior in Nuremberg, one of the great centers of the early Dominican observant movement, from 1427 until 1429, when he was transferred to Basel to direct the reform of the priory there. qxd 9/3/02 2:42 PM Page 19 T H E L I F E O F J OH A N N E S N I DE R 19 Nuremberg he preached, conducted visitations of other Dominican houses, and produced some of his early treatises.

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