Monday, March 30, 2020
Madeline Barnard Essays - Religion, Culture, Cultural Anthropology
Madeline Barnard Professor Coffey HS/102/01 September 20, 2016 European Witch Hunts The European witch-hunt lasted for sixty years causing constant turmoil throughout Europe. Due to the constant tension, women started to be accused of witchcraft. Religious conviction and science caused many questions to appear, as people started to panic about the alleged "witches". From 1570 to 1630 women were being targeted for witchcraft. Most people believed these women were witches because of their sex, their economic or social status, or because they were considered vulnerable. Due to the fact vulnerable women were thought to lack power and family support, they were common targets of the accusers. The women that were targeted also were "usually impoverished" (Hoak 1271). Also, Europe during this time period was war stricken and was facing a social upheaval, so resources were very scarce. This is how witch hunters justified their actions of eliminating "witches". People believed that these helpless women wanted more power to control their enemies and that's why they participated in witchcraft. I believe that that the socioeconomic conditions of this time period had a tremendous impact on the witch craze. For example, there was a lack of resources, which made life a challenge for the "witches" but their accusers as well. The accuser had no problem killing off "witches" due to the socioeconomic issues. Additionally, I feel as though the Scientific Revolution and the Reformation both played a major part in the witch craze. For instance, the Reformation made people feel as though god was not present in everyday life. As seen in the textbook on page 49, Protestants thought, " the symbols and rituals have provided a sense of protection" (text) were missing. As more questions arose about science people began to question everyday life and the unknown. Which contributed to the witch-hunt, craze and caused many questions to arise. I think that because everyone was questioning science they needed something to believe and that's were witches came in. By attempting to reconcile religious conviction with science it brought on the witch-hunts. I strongly agree with Dale Hoak's assessment of the witch craze because witch hunting appears to have been a socially destructive by product of the European transition to modernity.