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Flashcards in Chaper 1B - Sceptical Publications Deck (42)
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What is melancholia?

Depression or sorrowfulness


Who is Reginald Scott?

-Wrote, "The Discoverie of Witchcraft" which is regarded as the first major work of English scepticism (1584) -extremely well read, took interest in magic and witchcraft -member of the family of love


Who influenced Scott's work?

-not first to write about scepticism -influenced by Dutch physician Johann Weyer's "On the Illusions of Demons" which argued that 'witches' were in fact suffering from some form of Melancholia and that those who were guilty were unable to cause harm themselves as they were mere tools of the devil


What is the Family of Love?

-a radical Protestant sect that rejected traditional practices such as baptism. (Didn't like catholics) -Believed nature controlled events on earth not god -wealthy and high profile figures but remained members of Church Of England in order to avoid prosecution -Scot made clear connection between fraudulent witch-hints and the Catholic Church


What events also influenced Scot?

-hunts in chelmsford; area that scot knew well -1582 the JP, Brian Darcy, who favoured harsh punishments led a hunt resulting in 14 arrests and 2 executions -1566 3 women were charged, one sentenced to hang, another for 1 year imprisonment and the third was acquitted -believed in existence of witches but disapproved of terrible effects of the hunts


What were Scot's key points?

-doubted far-fetched charges brought against suspected witches, such as cannibalism -also claimed that women who genuinely believed they were witches were suffering from melancholia or delusions -witches who did harm to animals or people did so through natural means such as administering poison


What does scot write about in terms of catholicism and witchcraft?

-large amount of text is spent discounting magic tricks disguised as supernatural phenomena -includes the sacraments of the catholic church in his list of tricks, which he believed increased fear of witches -inquisition of the catholic church is given much of the blame for the cruelty handed out to the suspected witches


What impact did scot have?

-did more harm than good -James I of England ordered all copies of the book to be burnt -stated his clear and unwavering belief in witches and denounced Scot by name calling him "unchristian"


Why was scot so sceptical?

-devoted to belief in the supernatural unknown -undiscovered elements of nature contained many mysteries that could explain unknown phenomena -accepted that healing could be done at a distance, or that plants and stones could have hidden properties -this belief meant he was able to discount witchcraft as an explanation for mysterious events -saw that children used as witness' in Chelmsford, view that most trails were held on dubious foundations was affirmed


Who is Samuel Harsnett?

-Born in Essex in 1562 into a humble family and gained degree from cambridge

-also aware of Chelmsford trials and became deeply religious as a young man

-ordained as a minsiter in 1583 and returned to cambs to study divinity 

-rose through ranks and became Bishop of chester in 1609, Norwich in 1619 and Archbishop of york in 1629

-working as chaplin in london during time of Darrell 


What was Samuel Harsnett's publication and what sceptical case is he linked to?

-"A discovery of the fraudulent practises of John Darrel 1599"

-BoB, and the work of john Darrell

-present at the examination of Darrell and George More


What is Harsnett's view on Catholicism?

-Catholic priests claim to carry out miracles as easily as a squirrel can crack a nut

-Quick to perform tricks and miracles, such as those carried out through the power of holy water, making the sign of the corss in order to perform a blessing and carrying out communion with bread and wine. 

-Believe rituals can solve any problem 

-claim to cast out devil through prayer and excorcism, can only be done by god and anyone who attempts to take credit is a fraud and heritic 


What was in the first section of Harsnett's publication?

-A survery of all the people Darrell claomed to have excoricsed and an account of Harsnett's interrogation or Darrell.

-Darrell immediatly called into question the reliability of witnesses, something Harsnett says all guilty ment will do 

-He then goes into detail about how Darrell convinced people that somers was possessed 

-Calls Darrell sinful and immoral as in his hobby as a musician he has played blasphemous songs 


What is the Historical view on the case of Darrell?

-Many think its a case of factional fighting within the chuch as Darrell was puritan and Harsnett a Church of England conformist

-however historian Keith Thomas argues that the entire controversy centres on whether pryaer and fasting were accepted method of exorcising spirits. Puritans used these methods but senior clergy did not 


What is in the second and third parts of Harsnett's publication?

-2; outlines how Darrell instructed somers to fake possession and how they conspired together

-3; confession of william somers and Darrell's role in encouraging him to intially revoke it. Then details how Darrell and More argued that Somers had been forced to make a confession through threats or promises. Somers fits were not extraordinary 


what was in the fourth section of Harsnett's publication?

-Discredit's Somer's fits

-"superhuman strength" during fits was nothing amazing and evidence that he became fluent in Greek and Latin was non existant 

-when he fell into a "fit" infront of Harsnett, he was asked questions in Greek but laughed, when asked in Latin he only responded with a few basic words


What was in the fifth and final section of Harsnett's book?

-BoB, how Darrell ordered Darling to act possessed and how Darling confessed 

-discredits a confesdsion made by one women suspected of being possessed and treated by Darrell years before (Kathrine wright), beaten by her father-in-law for many years whihc made her weak and therefore liable to hallucinations, exagerated symptoms to avod beatings


What was the phamlet war?

-Darrell responded with "a detection of that sinful, shaming, lying and ricicoulous discours of Samuel Harsnett (1600)

-John Deacon and John Walker, two minsiters who had Puritain sympathies, questioned wether excorcism was a mircale or if it was even possible in "Dialogical discourses of spirits and dievls (1601). Devil unable to possess people, only god had the power and demanded proof from Darrell that he had the power to excorise

-Darrell responded "The Replie of John Darrell to the answere of John Deacon and John Walker (1602) wher he defended himself 


What were the effects of the Pamphlet war?

-revealed disagreements about the honesty of Darrell's patients and questioned entire possibility of demonic possession and its cure by prayer and fasting 

-Darrell still had support; Bishop of Exeter had his backing

-Scepticism still a minority opinion 


What was an Arminian?

-Follower of Jacobus Arminian (1560-1609) a Dutch theologian who rejected the calvinist notion of predestination (all events done by will of god)

-English viewed them as closet Catholics 


Why was Harsnett so sceptical of witchcraft possession?

-own beliefs are contradictory

-accused as a young minister of having catholic sympathies 

-1596 supported Peter Baro, a prof at cambidge who had showed Arminian tendencies 

-explains dislike for Darrell who was Puritan 

-Bishop Bancroft (a close college of Harsnett) also member of the Arminian faction 

-However his work shows he is very anti-catholic and blames witchcraft accusations on the Catholic Church


What is Thomas Ady's background?

-Renowned doctor who lived in essex

-witnessed in person the trials at Bury St Edmonds 

-highly educated


What were Ady's publications called?

-candle in the dark (1656)

-a perfect discovery of witches (1661)

-the Doctrine Of Devils, Proved to be the grand Apostacy of these later times (1676)


What was the basis of Ady's second book?

-A perfect Discovery of witches attacked the wich-hunts in the earlier 17th century 

-critical of physicians who failed to understand diseases and were too quick to blame them on witchcraft 

-attacked belief that witches were to blame for natural disasters or unexplained events 


What was the basis of Ady's third book?

-initially published anonymously and was influenced by Joseph Mede's book of a similar title

-both agreed that possession could be attributed to mental illness 


What is the significance of Ady's first book?

-uses the bible as its only source (same source used by witchfinders to justify their persecutions)

-states that the actions of witchfinders cannot be found written anywhere in the Bible 

-compelled to write book due to too many wrongful convictions

-mentions Scot as an influence and Atempts to repeat his original message 


What is in the first section of "A candle in the dark"?

-Describes Definition of a witch according To the bible

-this definition includes, jugglers, users of charms, astronomers and those who attempt to. Communicate with the dead

-these types of magician's could be seen as false prophets or idolaters

-if witches are people who encourage idolatry, then catholic priests are guilty of witchcraft


What is in the second section of "A candle in the dark"?

-orignal scriptures have been misinterpreted particularly by catholics in order to justify the hunts 

-includes examples of idolatry (worshipping false idols) and corrupt priests from the old testament who he directly compared to catholic priests 

-catholics first to kill for religion and this is unchristian 

-criticises theologists and philosophers who claim that torture was acceptable in witch-trials as rumors about witches were almost always false. Calls some "Popish" even though some were protestants 


What is in the third and final section of "A candle in the dark"?

Critique of a Number Of english works that promoted witch trials

criticises Daemonologie for being work of Bishop james montague, a close ally of the king who published his collected works


What was Ady most critical of?

Magicians and conjurors

goes some way To explain how magicians carried out their tricks (plants in the crowd of sleight of hand)