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On witches as heretics

Summary

Christine Caldwell Ames considers one way in which women were targeted by the inquisitions.

Summary

Christine Caldwell Ames considers one way in which women were targeted by the inquisitions.

Transcript

We have in witchcraft documents inquisitors who are talking about witchcraft, say in the late 15th century. We have a great fear of women’s power through witchcraft. And there’s a very long process in the medieval church, in the mentality of the medieval church, whereby heresy and witchcraft come to be associated. We don’t seem to see it, again, in the 13th century, in the 14th century, but it’s a fear of women’s power that is going beyond these boundaries of right behaviour for women, is going beyond the norms of law and custom. And we do have, it’s fair to say, a great deal of anxiety from late medieval inquisitors about this power, which is something that they associate with women particularly.