By Louise Nyholm Kallestrup, Raisa Maria Toivo
This booklet breaks with 3 universal scholarly limitations of periodization, self-discipline and geography in its exploration of the comparable issues of heresy, magic and witchcraft. It units apart developed chronological limitations, and in doing so goals to accomplish a clearer photograph of what ‘went before’, in addition to what ‘came after’. hence the amount demonstrates continuity in addition to switch within the strategies and understandings of magic, heresy and witchcraft. furthermore, the geographical trend of similarities and diversities indicates a comparative procedure, transcending confessional in addition to nationwide borders. in the course of the medieval and early glossy interval, the orthodoxy of the Christian Church used to be continually contested. The problem of heterodoxy, specially as expressed in different types of heresy, magic and witchcraft, used to be continually current in the course of the interval 1200-1650. Neither contesters nor fans of orthodoxy have been homogeneous teams or fractions. They themselves and their rules replaced from one century to the subsequent, from sector to area, even from urban to urban, yet inside a typical framework of interpretation. This choice of essays makes a speciality of this advanced.
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Extra resources for Contesting Orthodoxy in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Heresy, Magic and Witchcraft
How many? The answer, as it turns out, is more uncertain, and, to my eyes in any event, more interesting, than previously thought. At one level, a discussion of this problem could easily turn solely on important if relatively narrow terminological and administrative issues, but my interest resides rather in the broader issue of those who walked outside of, or on, the lines of doctrinal and behavioural acceptability in medieval Scandinavia. How were these ideas of orthodoxy, heterodoxy and heresy understood and employed by bishops, canon lawyers and others in Catholic Scandinavia, and, especially, what sorts of light might such instances shine onto the murky image that emerges of superstition and so-called popular religion in the medieval North?
22 Yet at the same time, the dead in all these tales were celebrating a Christian mass. If the living priest, the vicar of Christ, was in some sense functioning as a pagan burnt sacrifice in this story, at the same time he was ‘NIGHT IS CONCEDED TO THE DEAD’ 27 offered upon the altar of a church, the place where the sacrifice of Christ would ritually have been re-enacted in the Eucharist. In fact, the story intermingles pagan and Christian symbolisms rather promiscuously and indifferently; Thietmar himself does not appear concerned to sort them out.
In fact, I find in Thietmar’s text intimations of three ways of understanding these tales. First, they may be taken at face value, as the Christian dead arisen before the end in order to offer a theological lesson; second, they may be interpreted as demons impersonating the dead for nefarious purposes; or third, they may be interpreted as embodying a fundamentally pagan sensibility about the afterlife, albeit one transposed to a Christianizing context. In the remainder of this essay I unpack each of these notions in turn.