Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mi.sog.y.ny, Religion And The Witch Hunts~Part III



The witch-hunts can in fact be viewed as a case of genderized mass murder. The overall evidence makes plain that the growth -- the panic -- in the witch craze was inseparable from the stigmatization of women. ... Historically, the unreserved belief in female power and female evil is evidenced in the tight, recurrent, by-now nearly instinctive association of women and witchcraft. Though there were male witches, when the witch craze accelerated and became a mass phenomenon after 1500 its main targets, its main victims, were female witches. Indeed, one strongly suspects that the development of witch-hunting into a mass hysteria only became possible when directed primarily at women.
In The Holocaust in Historical Context, Vol. I, p. 433 [n. 1], 436.) Katz draws out the depths of this misogyny through a comparison with anti-Semitism:

"The medieval conception of women shares much with the corresponding medieval
conception of Jews. In both cases, a perennial attribution of secret, bountiful,
malicious "power," is made. Women are anathematized and cast as witches because
of the enduring grotesque fears they generate in respect of their putative
abilities to control men and thereby coerce, for their own ends, male-dominated
Christian society. Whatever the social and psychological determinants operative
in this abiding obsession, there is no denying the consequential reality of such
anxiety in medieval Christendom. Linked to theological traditions of Eve and
Lilith, women are perceived as embodiments of inexhaustible negativity. Though
not quite quasi-literal incarnations of the Devil as were Jews, women are,
rather, their ontological "first cousins" who, like the Jews, emerge from the
"left" or sinister side of being." (Katz, The Holocaust in Historical Context,
Vol. I, p. 435.)

Some historians even go on to say that the torture, was sexualized sadism, and in some respects the point of the trials, and not merely a feature of them!!

Does all of this sound familiar?

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