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p. 132. Heresylocked

  • Malcolm Gaskill

Abstract

According to ‘Heresy’, historically, political and religious orthodoxy went together. Romans saw witches as ruthless criminals. The early Christian church expressed hostility to magic but was actually tolerant. Between the 6th and 9th centuries, reformers worked to absorb paganism, infusing old beliefs and rites with new meanings. Uniformity remained a political ideal. Heresy became the label orthodox Christians attached to dangerous beliefs: a good Christian was also a good citizen. This idea was refined by Protestant and Catholic states during the Reformation, but proved hard to enforce. The Malleus Maleficarum established witches as lewd criminals, usually female, to be hounded to death in the secular courts, suspending laws if necessary.

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