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Witchcraft and its Punishment

Perhaps no chapter in human history is more revolting than the chapter which records the wild belief in witchcraft and the merciless punishments meted out for it in Western Europe in the century just preceding the Protestant Reformation and the succeeding century. The mania spread from Rome and Spain to Bremen and Scotland. Popes, lawyers, physicians and ecclesiastics of every grade yielded their assent, and the only voices lifted up in protest which have come down to us from the Middle Ages were the voices of victims who were subjected to torture and perished in the flames. No Reformer uttered a word against it. On the contrary, Luther was a stout believer in the reality of demonic agency, and pronounced its adepts deserving of the flames. Calvin allowed the laws of Geneva against it to stand. Bishop Jewel’s sermon before Queen Elizabeth in 1562 was perhaps the immediate occasion of a new law on the subject.

Read the original article at: Classical Ethereal Library

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