Comments: Certainty

But don't you know that September 11th was a joint CIA/Mossad operation conducted in order to have an excuse to invade the Middle East and exploit its resources...or something like that.

;)

Posted by LJ at October 3, 2004 01:31 AM

It's more sort of incidental, but have you read on the Salem Witch trials In the Devil's Snare? And on witch trails in general... oh, I wish I could remember some of the books. But there were significant procedural differences between the Catholic and Protestant versions, if I remember right (and The Night Battles isn't bad, even if I don't agree with the thesis that what can be found is a pan-European pre-Christian religion, really. At least not until the Romans started increasing some of the cultural exchanges, anyway). And the Salem trials violated some previous standards of evidence, in terms of testimony and the like, I seem to recall.

Been ages since I've had the time to read things not related to Japan, though. ;) (Now, books on trials involving black magic in Japan, that I'd like to see, because I do know that it was a fairly serious offense.)

Posted by kristina at October 3, 2004 08:40 PM

Well, you know what I think about latter-day Puritanism.

Kristina, you don't want to bring Japanese religious history to the attention of Wiccan types. They might find out that Evil Persecutor Christians get burnt as well.

Posted by Mitch H. at October 4, 2004 01:06 PM

Kristina --

In Salem, the judges accepted spectral evidence (i.e. -- claims by the afflicted to see the spirits of the accused tormenting them) as grounds for conviction. The rule was that spectral evidence was good enough to question someone, but without stronger evidence (and there was some involving some of those convicted at Salem), it couldn't be trusted.

I have read In The Devil's Snare, and found it of interest. As for your question about a pan-European cult, Chadwick Hansen suggests Pan as the devil figure -- he's got it all (horns, fertility god, drinking, music, debauchery).

So what happened to your blog?

Posted by Bill at October 5, 2004 01:53 AM

Yes, that sounds a bit like what I was trying to remember, about the spectral evidence. The variations between witch trials in various courts was pretty interesting too. There are some cases in Russian history of political sorcery, which when I am back in the states I can look up the citations.

Fortunately, I guess, studies of witchcraft and witch trials are decently popular. I've been nosing around doing a little comparative reading.

Mitch: Wiccan forms of history are sometimes... um. I mean, I have Wiccan friends, so constantly questioning stories of a pan-European mother-goddess cult or numbers batted around for the "burning times" is a little rude, but.... Well, the development of modern Wicca and related systems, and that whole ceremonial magic(k) scene's interesting in and of itself.

I'll have to read Hansen, but Pan... that's definitely Greco-Roman influence there, isn't it? Not so much Indo-European, then.

My blog was... a combination of server failure, lack of time in entering grad school, and then a decided suspicion on the part of people around in terms of that sort of thing. I've contemplated restarting something similar, instead of bugging people over email with (what are effectively) blog entries, but have come to no conclusions.

Posted by kristina at October 5, 2004 02:43 AM

Your description of the similarity between the madness of witch-trials and the madness of the terrorists is incredibly clear.

I agree, the comparison between Salem witch-hunters and the neo-conservative ideologues is absurd on its face.

Posted by steve h at October 5, 2004 03:14 PM