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Witch/Persecution of Witches

(1,833 words)

Author(s): Tschacher, Werner
Meaning of the Word and Determination of the Concept 1. ‘Witch’ (from Old English wicce/wicca, ‘sorceress’) denotes, generally, a female person who can use magic, sorcery, spells, and/or enchantment to evoke hurtful reactions and results. The concepts for ‘witch’ present in European languages and societies betray various accentuations of meaning, depending on different aspects of the person or her activity. In the Italian word strega (from Lat., striga, ‘owl’), the witch is interpreted as a flying, child-abducting being. The French sorcière (from Lat., sors, ‘lot’) indicates w…

Inquisition

(1,703 words)

Author(s): Tschacher, Werner
The term ‘Inquisition’ (Lat., inquisitio, ‘investigation’), denotes (1) a rational and reasonable juridical process in ecclesiastical law developed in the course of the thirteenth century, (2) an ecclesiastical office for the combating of → heresy, existing from 1231 to 1965, and (3) a symbol of religious or state intolerance and repression of dissidents and outsiders in a society. The Inquisition Process 1. The inquisition process was conceived by Pope Innocent III, between 1198 and 1213, as a new form of disciplinary procedure against clerics. A materia…