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Bjarke Folner - Theoretical Foundations of Witchcraft and Demonological Development (45.0 Kb)

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This essay deals with a discussion of the historical background for the common belief in witchcraft among intellectuals and ecclesiastics in the last part of the 16th century. It aims at shedding light on the following question:What provided the basis for the consensus among most ecclesiastics and intellectuals on the reality of witchcraft, and how was this basis elaborated on during the general upsurge in the pre-occupation with witches as seen in the publishing of demonological treatises on witchcraft in the last half of t... More >>>
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Category 1:  Wicca and Witchcraft
Category 2:  Devil and Satanic
Category 3: 
Author:      Bjarke Folner
Format:      eBook
This essay deals with a discussion of the historical background for the common belief in witchcraft among intellectuals and ecclesiastics in the last part of the 16th century. It aims at shedding light on the following question:

What provided the basis for the consensus among most ecclesiastics and intellectuals on the reality of witchcraft, and how was this basis elaborated on during the general upsurge in the pre-occupation with witches as seen in the publishing of demonological treatises on witchcraft in the last half of the 16th century?

The first part of the essay, then, is concerned with a number of developments during the fourteenth and fifteenth century, which may be said to have provided an important part of the basis for the intellectual belief in witchcraft, that was to become so prevalent during the early modern period. More specifically, it deals with the nature of the beliefs giving rise to some of the earliest witchtrials, the significance of the shift in papal attitude to witchcraft, and the impact of the publishing of the Malleus maleficarum.

Secondly, the essay deals with the way in which these basic notions was incorporated, elaborated, expanded and developed upon by intellectuals an ecclesiastics during the reformations in the sixteenth century. This in turn leads to a discussion of the origins and developments of central demonological concepts, and the search for an answer to why the publishing of demonological treatises and other intellectual works on witchcraft reached its peak in the late part of the 16th century. In acknowledgement that the theoretical development of demonology and notions of witchcraft was in some ways inextricably bound to a broader context of development in religious worldviews and political ideas during the age of the reformation, some of the most recognisable influences of general reformation thought on the nature of demonology and the theoretical foundations of witch-belief will be discussed in this context. The last part of the essay sums up major points and concludes.

About Author:

Bjarke Folner is Master. mag. in Minority Studies and History from Roskilde University, University of Copenhagen and University of Edinburgh.

Bjarke Folner works at Als Research with project management, analysis and data collection in connection with surveys, evaluations and promotions. Bjarke has mainly dealt with issues in the integration, equality and education, and also provides strategic advice in relation to communication tasks in these areas. Bjarke's particularly extensive knowledge about sexuality, gender roles and honor-related conflicts among non-western immigrants and their descendants, and of the Jewish minority and its history in Denmark. He has experience as a lecturer at Minority Studies at the University of Copenhagen and the Organisation Danish Museums, and has previously worked as a curator at the Danish Jewish Museum.