Paper Proposing That Witchcraft Started as Dissident Christianity.

Sabrina Spellman

The Athenaeum Review has published an interesting paper by Diane Purkiss on the history of witchcraft proposing a narrative that contradicts current popular views on the subject. One excerpts states:

“There are in fact so many problems with some modern witches’ historical narrative that it’s hard to know where to begin, but a good starting point might be the assumption that witches are at variance with their culture rather than a product of that culture. Those accused of witchcraft—including those who genuinely believed themselves to be practicing magic, a minority of those accused—espoused beliefs that derived directly from medieval Christendom. In this essay, I will show that medieval and early modern witchcraft was for the most part not a pagan practice, but a dissident form of Christianity. I will also argue that modern pagans and modern witches are themselves products of the very globalized, commercial, urban and anywhere culture which they set out to resist, because rather than reacting against those trends, they are turning what might once have been a genuinely radical alternative into another form of self-care. Finally, I will show that the surviving remnants of pagan culture illuminate a much more violent and less liberal world than the one imagined by modern witches. A number of publications in the past ten years have focused on highly specific aspects of the medieval body, the classical understanding of sexuality, and a wide range of forms of magical thinking in the Middle Ages, including and in particular ideas about the beings usually called fairies. Here, I want to attempt a synthesis of all these strands of thought.”

Read the entire paper here:

Sabrina Spellman

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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