March 7, 2017

Agents of Witchcraft in Early Modern Italy and Denmark by L. Kallestrup

By L. Kallestrup

This ebook deals a comparability of lay and inquisitorial witchcraft prosecutions. In lots of the early glossy interval, witchcraft jurisdiction in Italy rested with the Roman Inquisition, while in Denmark in simple terms the secular courts raised trials. Kallestrup explores the narratives of witchcraft as they have been laid ahead by way of humans eager about the rigors.

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Extra info for Agents of Witchcraft in Early Modern Italy and Denmark

Example text

Man could never trust the Devil nor put faith in his actions. A testimony from a person possessed by the Devil could therefore never be regarded as reliable. This assessment was made on the assumption that the possessed really was possessed and not the object or the perpetrator of a delusion. Before the case got as far as this, the inquisitor had to examine the relations of the implicated parties in their Marking the limits of transgression 31 local community. The Instructio was based on a pragmatic understanding that witchcraft could have substantial influence on local society and that local disputes and quarrels had tremendous significance in determining who was suspected of witchcraft.

To the inquisitors, illiterate villagers who dabbled in magical rituals were naive people, who had fallen into temptation. The open and explicit pact with the Devil was the more serious, since the practitioner had been conscious of temptation and was therefore knowledgeable of the pact having been made. The meaning of the pact was indisputable: magicians had traded their souls to gain the assistance of the Devil. Furthermore, magicians could pledge someone else’s soul to the Devil. 92 Scaglia noted that, even though the magicians might sell another person’s soul, they would themselves be doomed.

However, as we shall see, this bull should rather be viewed as a statement of power politics than as a testament to the Pope’s insistence on extensive witch trials. 54 After an urgent appeal from Krämer, Pope Innocent VIII used his Summis Marking the limits of transgression 19 desiderantes to stress that the jurisdiction of witch trials was solely the preserve of the inquisitor. Summis desiderantes differs on one particular point from the line the Church had previously held. It is these deviations from earlier decrees that have made it notorious.

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