Sunday, August 05, 2012

Pagan traces in medieval and early modern European witch-beliefs

Abstract: The aim of this research is to explore how pre-Christian beliefs, cults and popular traditions may have indirectly survived in early modern and medieval European witch-beliefs. It will be attempted to show how witch-beliefs and medieval/early modern popular imagination may have reflected (through the filter of Christian demonology and by unwittingly drawing upon folklore and mythology), extinguished pre-Christian cults and beliefs.

Whether and to what extent such cults may have actually survived in Christianised Europe, however, is completely beyond my scope. This research is solely concerned with the origins of popular belief and imagination. Since valuable comparative studies of the subject are still relatively rare, it seems that lack of cross-disciplinary communication may have led scholars to neglect the examination of those aspects of evidence which do not appear to be directly linked with the witch-hunt but might nonetheless be relevant to the still ungrasped aspects of it.