Connection of European Trials
The witch hunting trials that took place in Early Modern Period occurred across the expanse of Europe, including in its believers groups of people ranging from kings and popes to peasants and servants. Some historians argue that the witch trials of the Early Modern Period where not connected; that the trials where not related to each other and are not part of one large witch-hunt. Other historians argue that the witch hunting trials are related to each other by there similar characteristics. The Early-Modern witch trails where both related and separate entities that where born with the help of elite and common people’s belief in Catholic as well as Protestant locations including Geneva, Trier, Scotland, England, Bamberg, and Runchain.
One thing that both the Catholics and the Protestants did have in common was the belief that the Bible was the word of God. Partly because of this belief both Protestant and Catholics participated in the practice of witch hunting. John Calvin began the Calvinist movement that began in Geneva Switzerland. Calvin lived from AD 1509-1564 during the Early Modern Period. During the Protestant Reformation Calvin wrote about witches stating, “And Paul, after he has warned us that our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the princes of the air, with the powers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness [Eph. 6:12].”1 This passage that Calvin took from the Bible helps to illustrate the feelings of the new Protestant church toward witches and witchcraft. The passage also shows that the Protestant church, like the Catholics, believe that witches are a threat and that something must be done to dispose of their demonic and wicked presence. The demonic “princes of the air” had to be stopped and dealt with. The elite members and founders of the Protestant movement believe in, and want rooted out, witches.
As well as pointing out that the Calvinists need to be aware of witchcraft and to persecute witchcraft Calvin tells that the new church must be aware of enemies that are against the church. Calvin writes that, “Scripture makes known that there are not one, not two, nor a few foes, but great armies, which wage war against us. For Mary Magdalene is said to have been freed from seven demons by which she was possessed [Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2].”2 The church has armies of enemies that they must contend with. These enemies include demonic witches that possessed people. The Protestant church as well as the Catholic Church has to rid itself of the demonic presence that threatens to destroy it. Not only must the church battle the enemy of the Catholic church but it must also contend with the demonic demons that threaten the good God fearing people of Calvinist Europe.
The persecution of witches in the German town of Trier from 1581-1593 was one example of how witchcraft was condoned and encouraged by the upper elite class of the city. An account of the...