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Study of the Factors that Lead to Decline in Witchcraft and rise of Christianity - Research Paper Example

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As far as witchcraft and Christianity is concerned, Francis book A Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft brings up a detailed analysis of the effects of witchcraft, its trends and factors leading to the decline. Witchcraft and magic have been in practice from the ancient time throughout the ages to contemporary times. …
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Research Topic: Study of the Factors that Lead to Decline in Witchcraft and rise of Christianity
Research Primary source: Francis H., An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft: With Observations Upon Matters of Fact; Tending to Clear the Texts of the Sacred Scriptures, and Confute the Vulgar Errors about that Point. And Also Two Sermons: One in Proof of the Christian Religion; the Other Concerning Good and Evil Angels
Knaplock & Midwinter Publishers London, (1720), Print.
Research Proposal
As far as witchcraft and Christianity is concerned, Francis book A Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft brings up a detailed analysis of the effects of witchcraft, its trends and factors leading to the decline. Witchcraft and magic have been in practice from the ancient time throughout the ages to contemporary times. However, there is a general decline in beliefs and practices that surround witchcraft, witches and magic from 18th century henceforth. The goal of this historical analysis is to unmask those factors believed to have caused a significant shift of human beliefs and attitude towards this practice. The mental framework achieved a significant dynamicity after the advent and spread of Christianity. In his book, Francis brings up a clear analysis of how people were brainwashed with witchcraft. He describes vividly the events surrounding witchcraft adoption and how religion set in to wash away the trend. What are the factors that ushered in the decline of witchcraft and the rise of Christianity? How did science contribute to the washing away of the culture? What are the beliefs that surrounded the art of witchcraft?
In his in-depth studies and analysis about witchcraft, Francis (1720) provides a very clear approach of the factors that had led to the thriving of the witchcraft during the 17th century in Europe. There is a lively and pragmatic approach towards the effects of Christianity, medicine, law and science on the witchcraft. Although he admits that, most communities still fall prey of witchcraft as monolithic part of cultural practices despite global advent Christianity. Some of the ancient communities framed ideas about the creator and embarked on an adventure of creating a world of witchcraft. Everything did rotate around witchcraft. People had immense belief on it
Advent of Christianity however provided a more formal structure and approach that arguably replaced witchcraft approach in seeking solution to problems. Certainly, there is a mental shift from believing in spirits that are feared to cause harm and destruction if not appeased to a benevolent God, who brings good tidings. Stuart further identifies this mental change to the reformation period on attitudes and beliefs on witchcraft. It was the philosophical inquisitiveness interlaced with firm religious beliefs that questioned the authenticity and the blind approach used by witches in solving very serious problems.
The industrial revolution in Europe marked the need for a new approach towards rising sociological concerns (Francis, pg. 15). Unlike Christianity, witchcraft offered generalized set of beliefs that were strange and ambiguous, from the ancient time, the ugly crone that worked evil demanded authority that was intolerant to dissenting voices. Christianity, on the other hand, appeared liberal with people given choices to make; therefore, Christianity was, therefore, well adapted as a better platform to solve natural mysteries such as famine, floods and drought.
The decline in witchcraft saw an upsurge faith in God and scientific approaches to problems. He blames use of the beneficent spell and gentle herbs as the practices that were in disconnect with the real issues of the people. Characteristics of witches cut across all age groups and still many believed in the modern legal structures. Most came to court and acquitted. He brings up an aspect of persecution of torture of witches in 19th century in Europe.
Science provided another framework of addressing human concerns, the knowledge on the disease that culminated in the discovery of modern medicine marked a significant step in curative medicine. Herbs and appeasing spirits through witchcraft to cure diseases rapidly lost ground; moreover, Christian overwhelmingly embraced medicine approach to cure diseases (Ankarlo, pg. 43). By late 19th and earlier 20th century, people had overwhelmingly adopted Christianity and science. Unlike the traditional literature such as Hexan films that displayed powerful mythologies where witchcraft appeared to torture the monks and nuns, the literature focused on biblical and scientific grounded approach on issues. At this time, witchcraft was isolated as interesting cartoon-like stereotype, a complex figure that did lack genuinely truth.
Francis book ushers in an interesting area of historical analysis on witchcraft and the reason it is fast dying. One of the fundamental deviations was how it curtailed the free will of conscience, and the book narrates how the practice took communities across Europe hostages of mind. It is, however, surprising that it is now associated with lack of civilization. Some communities, which still trap in devout beliefs in witchcraft, have been gradually relegated to extinction.
Works Cited
Ankarloo, Bengt. Witchcraft and magic in Europe: Ancient Greece and Rome. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (PENN), 1999. Print.
Francis H., An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft: With Observations Upon Matters of Fact; Tending to Clear the Texts of the Sacred Scriptures, and Confute the Vulgar Errors about that Point. And Also Two Sermons: One in Proof of the Christian Religion; the Other Concerning Good and Evil Angels Knaplock & Midwinter Publishers London, (1720), Print. Read More
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