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NLPI RADIO USA WITH KURT AND MOE DELVE DEEP INTO THE PRACTICE OF WITCHCRAFT

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It was not until the very end of the medieval period (ca. 1500) that a definition emerged of the witch as a person in league with the devil, and that full-scale persecution began. In the period from 1000-1500 concepts of the witch ranged from that of benevolent healer to feared sorcerer or sorceress. The transition from these early vague ideas of witchcraft to a fully-formed image of the diabolical witch deserves study in the history of marginality because it illustrates the rhetoric of persecution that had come into existence by the end of the medieval period. In fact, the languages of exclusion aimed at deviant sexuality, heretics, Jews, and lepers, were all utilized in the definition of the witch.Both men and women were accused of witchcraft. Even the notorious witch-hunting manual, the Malleus Malleficarum, used pronouns of both genders to discuss and to identify witches. On the other hand, the Malleus also contained statements like "No one does more harm to the Catholic faith than midwives". Furthermore, estimates indicate that, in the period of greatest persecution (1500-1700) the overwhelming majority of executed victims were female (82%).The origins of medieval witchcraft are not clear. Jeffrey Russell identified four current theories about medieval witchcraft:

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