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Religion in the Medieval Europe - Essay Example

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Medieval European conceptualised magic and witchcraft in different manners depending on affiliation of beliefs and practices. Greco-roman paganism and magic intersected with Christianity, which interpreted magic as necromancy…
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Religion in the Medieval Europe
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Religion in the Medieval Europe

These were practiced in various ways including, divination that comprised of astrology, palm reading, interpretation of dream and reading of omens. Medical magic was also part of magical practice. It involved the use of charms, medical astrology, prayers and use of medical herbs. Other forms of practicing magic included the use of protective amulets alchemy and sorcery, which was the use of magic with an intention to harm. However, it faced opposition from the Christian religion, which viewed the use of magic as idolatry. Magic can be viewed as a religion from Etic and Emic perspectives. The initial refers to its perception from outside tradition while the latter refers to perception from within the religion. Christians, on the other hand, defined magic from what it is not. The definition was magic is neither a religion nor a science. Various groups blamed each other of practicing magic due to their varied beliefs. The church distinguished magic as not being a religion by believing that the church was a true religion while magic was demonic. Religion was associated with god while magic was associated with demons besides; magic was viewed to be a manipulation while prayer was viewed to be supplication (Hamilton 39). The theory of magic has an evolutionary model, which described the process to begin from magic to religion, then Christian religion that was to be taken over by science. This, however, was criticised by scholars who claimed that it was outdated, unsubstantial, unscholarly and bias. Magic was practiced in the pre modern Europe across the demographic boundaries as pagans adapted to Christianity, which accommodated them. This was due to the influence of the Arabs and scientific inventions. However, the Christians viewed magic as a cult. Magic became increasingly identifiable as definite phenomena in the medieval Europe. Until the conversion period of 300CE to 1100CE, this had acculturation characteristics including paganism coming to terms with Christianity, beliefs adapting to new religious views. In addition, at this point, the rulers of pagan societies got themselves aligned with the church (Louise, Edward & Raudvere 10). The Christians dominated the region and introduced its own view on culture to the local community. Tension arose between the locals who were pagans and the Christians who were the intruders. The church distinguished between magic and miracles. They viewed magic as an illusion that was created by demons while miracle was real actual and non-illusory. This was more evident on the Christian writings which included book IV of Isidore of Seville’s etymology, which is against divination and demonic behaviour and practices. Belief was one important thing at this time of conversion. The church believed that magic was conducted by demons and highly condemned it. It was believed by the pagans that there were women who were capable of cutting fingerprints of the foot and performs rituals with them. In addition, some women were dedicated to killing people through devil powers. Bishop Buchan of worms (950-1025) discouraged this. St. Benedict’s and St. Gregory the great (540-604) gave a description of how St. Benedict saw through an illusion a fire that consumed the monks which he perceived that was caused by a heath idol buried under the building. Strigae was a roman term used by pagans to refer to vampire creatures and witches. The penal code in medieval condemned the belief in the Striga who were claimed to steal children. The belief that a certain woman had experienced a nocturnal flight with the pagan gods Diana who was recognised as a Striga was ... Read More
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