Elara, on Aug 21 2005, 04:52 PM, said:
Jid, on Aug 21 2005, 04:27 PM, said:
Whatever figure you're recalling, I'm sorry to say, is likely to be highly inflated, unless you mean to use the end of the inquisition as a terminus, with an undefined time period prior which would allow for the number to reach that high.
Of course, to make such extrapolations is a highly dangerous practice, and people who perpetuate such myths tend to do so because they're either too busy picking at their preferred bone, or simply have unfortunately not found the voluminous historical documentation which seriously refutes any claims of a murderous rampage on the scale of millions.
(In fact, most historians of any reputable level would peg the witch burnings at between 40-60000.)
~.~ I agree with Waterpanther that your amount is most likely at the low end of reality.
And it is possible that people on both sides of that 'myth' could fit your description.
I don't discount the possibility. I do, however, choose to side with the most concrete evidence available, which puts any estimates above 100,000 into serious doubt.
Which is not to discount the deaths of 100,000, but rather to correct the notion that millions of people could die and there still be no evidence to support that massive of an extermination, other than specious estimates based on extrapolation.
And an examination of the rather careful records kept by the church (some things never change
) the *punishments* meted out reached 350000 (for all crimes, predominantly heresy, rather than witchcraft), while actual deaths in those two countries totalled between five and seven thousand.
~.~ See, now here is where the problem lies and I don't mean this to be just with Christianity, but with everything. You speak of 'careful records kept', which says you accept what they say simply because of what you believe to be an unfallible truth.
No, I speak of careful records, which I accept, because they are *careful records*, rather than a source of infallible truth. Despite the implication otherwise, I remain a healthy skeptic, rather than a mindless sheep, thanks ever so kindly.
Yet, if you were of another belief, a belief that has been attacked by those who kept such 'careful records', you may not be so quick to trust and may actually wonder just what those 'careful records' could be hiding.
Actually, the founder of the brand of religion I was born into was branded a heretic by the Catholic Church and threatened with death. You might have even heard of him. His last name was Luther. The simple fact of the matter, is I refuse to discount historical evidence based on my emotions. (And, as a point of interest, at least to me, the destabilization of the "civilized world" caused by the Reformation in all likelihood fed the societal conditions that allowed for such a widespread attack on "witches" - the demographic variation in countries making them roughly 75% women overall.)
We Neopagans now face a crisis. As new data appeared, historians altered their theories to account for it. We have not. Therefore an enormous gap has opened between the academic and the "average" Pagan view of witchcraft. We continue to use of
We owe it to ourselves to study the Great Hunt more honestly, in more detail, and using the best data available. Dualistic fairy tales of noble witches and evil witch hunters have great emotional appeal, but they blind us to what happened.
And what could happen, today. Few Pagans commented on the haunting similarities between the Great Hunt and America's panic over Satanic cults. Scholars noticed it; we didn't.
We say "Never again the Burning!" But if we don't know what happened the first time, how are we ever going to prevent it from happening again
~.~ I would be willing to read what this person has to say, but unfortunately, this quote makes me wonder why it sounds almost as if she is blaming those that were killed, instead of those that did the killing? It makes me think she is suggesting that Pagans should go back into hiding. I am basing my opinions on this quote and may be incorrect, but this is the feeling that it brought.
I never take anything at face value, if you don't believe me, ask my Sunday school teachers.
~argh!~ quote tags! I checked, twice, still missed one!
While I admit I cannot honestly see how this can be interpreted as "It's those women's own fault they were accuse of witchcraft and burned.". The way I interpret her remarks is the bemoaning of a lack of scholarship that has lead to the gap she describes between historical reality as scholars can decipher it, and the lack of similarly updating the historical views of a seemingly large majority of practitioners (hence her mention - though snipped from your quotation above - of the perpetual availabilty of outdated (and inaccurate) historical resources, and the lack of availability of those which make use of the most recent discoveries and most reliable material.
Edited by Jid, 21 August 2005 - 06:48 PM.