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History Final - Essay Example

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Name: Institution: Instructor: Date: History Final Part One Question 5 Geertz’s discussion of culture in his piece on “thick description.” How can we read the issues of mysticism, heresy, magic, and witchcraft in late medieval and early modern Europe, by placing them within Geertz’s specific cultural anthropology methodology?…
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Download file to see previous pages Many folk practices and folktales have been catalogued in the ethnographic encyclopedia and folkloric motifs as a standard guide. These works allow the historian to crosscheck critically the practices and customs that were documented in primary sources. Our area of focus is going to deal with blood and its relationship to the early modern European (Redwald 27). The blood and the bodily symbolism are not only going to reflect the individual and social beliefs but also be able to interpret as they have the values and concepts that can be used to understand how people’s identity is built in a given society that they belong to. Anthropology methodologies are normally concerned with people’s culture; we are going to deal with an anthropological study of magic, witchcraft, heresy and mysticism commonly known as paganism. Paganism ranges in various ways of high magic (known as ceremonial magic); through witchcraft these two have varying cosmologies and mythologies, but they have a common unifying belief in communication with other spirits and deities in other worlds. These are usually experienced in one’s consciousness (Matteoni 97). According to Sprenger and Institoris’ analysis about witchcraft to have an effect, there must be the witch, the devil and God’s permission to concur in all the mentioned things. So the definition of many late medieval icons about the devil is not easy as one cannot tell the extent to which the devil is present in people’s minds (James 70). According to Peter Burke, the definition of “people” in western culture existed from the opposed categories: the nobility for the commoners, the literate for the illiterate, the rich for the poor, and the clergy for the laity. Historiography witchcraft reflects the problem of witch figure perception by different parts of society, and historians have taken into consideration the socio-economic problems and changes in religious tensions, early modern society, perception of the witch figure, effect of reformation and its gender relations (Levack 74). It’s quite difficult to distinguish between witchcraft and magic, but it’s advantageous to start with the physical perception of the witch and the object exchanged for the devil’s magical power it possesses. For the theologians, witchcraft was a religious crime while for other members of the society, it was perceived as the main source of sickness and death as they feared maleficium. This shows that it did not represent the same menace and danger to all people. That is the reason why it is vital to have the accused and the victim in order to understand people’s feelings and fears. Maleficium was a by-product of false religion as it caused harm to others; thus there was the notion of ritual devil worship whereby the witches met to worship their master (Kramer and Sprenger 45). After the reformation, there were widespread witchcraft intellectual ideas that originated from the Catholic medieval Europe. One was able to read this in the protestant context reflecting on the witch’s body, as there was a sign left by the compact of the devil. The body of the witch, according to the theologians, represented evidence for the devilish alliance while for other people it was a source of danger and anxiety that would affect their lives. Diabolism insisted on the heretical content mainly because of the legal persecution as the main focus of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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