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Häxprocesserna i Europa

Rosenhall, Josefin LU (2013) LAGF03 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
De stora häxprocesserna i Europa ägde rum under 1400- till 1700-talet. Framställningen avser att besvara hur den juridiska processen mot häxeriet var utformad samt förklara hur häxförföljelserna kunde uppstå. Den inkvisitoriska processen var karaktäristisk för häxprocesserna. I motsats till den ackusatoriska processen kunde domaren ta initiativ till rättsliga processer och låta makthavarnas ideologier prägla juridiken. Inkvisitionen inrättades redan under 1200-talet av den katolska kyrkan för att utrota hotet från kättarna. Den fanns kvar i kyrkan och en distinktion bör göras mellan inkvisitionen i de andliga och de världsliga domstolarna. Den katolska kyrkan betraktade häxeri som kätteri och godtog inte några bevislättnader. Däremot var... (More)
De stora häxprocesserna i Europa ägde rum under 1400- till 1700-talet. Framställningen avser att besvara hur den juridiska processen mot häxeriet var utformad samt förklara hur häxförföljelserna kunde uppstå. Den inkvisitoriska processen var karaktäristisk för häxprocesserna. I motsats till den ackusatoriska processen kunde domaren ta initiativ till rättsliga processer och låta makthavarnas ideologier prägla juridiken. Inkvisitionen inrättades redan under 1200-talet av den katolska kyrkan för att utrota hotet från kättarna. Den fanns kvar i kyrkan och en distinktion bör göras mellan inkvisitionen i de andliga och de världsliga domstolarna. Den katolska kyrkan betraktade häxeri som kätteri och godtog inte några bevislättnader. Däremot var de protestantiska furstarna benägna att sänka rättssäkerheten och massavrättningarna blev störst i dessa länder. Användningen av tortyr för att framtvinga bekännelser var paradoxalt nog acceptabel för att garantera rättssäkerheten.

En jämförelse mellan häxprocesserna och antisemitismen i Nazityskland har gjorts för att underbygga analysen vid besvarandet av frågeställningarna. Den juridiska processen användes både av den katolska och den protestantiska kyrkan samt av nazisterna för att rättfärdiga förföljelser. I lagarna mot häxeri kunde ett påvisande av brottet maleficium medföra bränning på bål. Nürnberglagarna förbjöd äktenskap mellan tyskar och judar. Vidare ersattes den ackusatoriska processen med den inkvisitoriska för att komma till rätta med häxeriet, och i Nazityskland inrättades Folkdomstolen mot oliktänkande och judar. Den juridiska processens legitimering av en religiös eller politisk ideologi möjliggjorde inhumana metoder.

En förklaring till häxprocessernas uppkomst är bristen på demokrati. Den kristna kyrkan var vid häxprocessernas inledande skede ett envälde och dess makt kan liknas vid en diktatur. Den som inte följde den rätta läran riskerade att anklagas för Djävulsförbund. Vidare var häxeri ett brott mot Gud och religionens betydelse ska inte underskattas. Delar av Gamla testamentet utgjorde lag i många europeiska länder och legitimerade hårdare tag. Vid sidan av det anförda har medmänniskans roll belysts. Det är enkelt att skylla häxprocesserna på kristendomen eller antisemitismen på nazismen. Dock hade ingen av dessa förföljelser varit möjlig om medmänniskorna hade reagerat. Att tiotusentals häxor brändes och miljoner judar fördes till koncentrationsläger kan inte en makt ensamt stå till svars för, det ansvaret bär hela Europa. (Less)
Abstract
The witchcraft trials in Europe took place from the 15th to the 18th century. The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the model of the legal process against the witches and give an explanation of how the witch hunts started. The inquisitorial process was characteristic for the witchcraft trials. As opposed to the accusatory process, the judge could initiate the process and let the ideologies of the rulers impress the law. The Inquisition was created already during the 13th century by the Catholic Church to exterminate the threat from heretics. A distinction is to be made between the Inquisition in the spiritual and the worldly courts. The Catholic Church considered witchcraft an act of heresy and did not accept any ease of evidence.... (More)
The witchcraft trials in Europe took place from the 15th to the 18th century. The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the model of the legal process against the witches and give an explanation of how the witch hunts started. The inquisitorial process was characteristic for the witchcraft trials. As opposed to the accusatory process, the judge could initiate the process and let the ideologies of the rulers impress the law. The Inquisition was created already during the 13th century by the Catholic Church to exterminate the threat from heretics. A distinction is to be made between the Inquisition in the spiritual and the worldly courts. The Catholic Church considered witchcraft an act of heresy and did not accept any ease of evidence. The Protestant princes however did not uphold the current rule of law in the same manner and the executions were more frequent in these countries. The use of torture to force a confession was paradoxically acceptable to guarantee the rule of law.

A comparison between the witchcraft trials and the anti-Semitism in Nazi-Germany has been made to support the analysis in answering the questions in issue. The legal process was used by the Christian Church as well as by the Nazis to justify persecutions. In the laws against witchcraft an indication of maleficium could cause burning at the stake. The Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriage between Germans and Jews. There are parallels between the replacement of the accusatory process by the inquisitorial process to control the outbreaks of witchcraft, and the Nazi establishment of People´s Court to control dissidents and Jews. The legitimation by the legal process of a religious or political ideology made inhuman methods possible.

One explanation to the origin of the witchcraft trials is the lack of democracy. The Christian Church was an autocracy when the trials started and its power was similar to a dictatorship. Anyone who did not follow the right faith ran the risk of being accused of having a pact with the Devil. Witchcraft was a crime against God and the importance of religion is not to be underestimated. Parts of the Old Testament constituted law in many European countries and paved the way for severe measures. Apart from the above, the presentation deals with the role of the fellow men. It is easy to blame Christianity for the witchcraft trials and the Nazis for the anti-Semitism, but none of the persecutions had been possible if people had reacted. That tens of thousands of witches were burned and millions of Jews brought to concentration camps is not the responsibility of one Power alone, it is a liability for all of Europe. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Rosenhall, Josefin LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20131
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
häxprocesserna, inkvisitionen, maleficium, antisemitismen
language
Swedish
id
3799799
date added to LUP
2013-10-18 12:58:43
date last changed
2013-10-18 12:58:43
@misc{3799799,
  abstract     = {The witchcraft trials in Europe took place from the 15th to the 18th century. The purpose of this presentation is to clarify the model of the legal process against the witches and give an explanation of how the witch hunts started. The inquisitorial process was characteristic for the witchcraft trials. As opposed to the accusatory process, the judge could initiate the process and let the ideologies of the rulers impress the law. The Inquisition was created already during the 13th century by the Catholic Church to exterminate the threat from heretics. A distinction is to be made between the Inquisition in the spiritual and the worldly courts. The Catholic Church considered witchcraft an act of heresy and did not accept any ease of evidence. The Protestant princes however did not uphold the current rule of law in the same manner and the executions were more frequent in these countries. The use of torture to force a confession was paradoxically acceptable to guarantee the rule of law. 

A comparison between the witchcraft trials and the anti-Semitism in Nazi-Germany has been made to support the analysis in answering the questions in issue. The legal process was used by the Christian Church as well as by the Nazis to justify persecutions. In the laws against witchcraft an indication of maleficium could cause burning at the stake. The Nuremberg Laws prohibited marriage between Germans and Jews. There are parallels between the replacement of the accusatory process by the inquisitorial process to control the outbreaks of witchcraft, and the Nazi establishment of People´s Court to control dissidents and Jews. The legitimation by the legal process of a religious or political ideology made inhuman methods possible. 

One explanation to the origin of the witchcraft trials is the lack of democracy. The Christian Church was an autocracy when the trials started and its power was similar to a dictatorship. Anyone who did not follow the right faith ran the risk of being accused of having a pact with the Devil. Witchcraft was a crime against God and the importance of religion is not to be underestimated. Parts of the Old Testament constituted law in many European countries and paved the way for severe measures. Apart from the above, the presentation deals with the role of the fellow men. It is easy to blame Christianity for the witchcraft trials and the Nazis for the anti-Semitism, but none of the persecutions had been possible if people had reacted. That tens of thousands of witches were burned and millions of Jews brought to concentration camps is not the responsibility of one Power alone, it is a liability for all of Europe.},
  author       = {Rosenhall, Josefin},
  keyword      = {häxprocesserna,inkvisitionen,maleficium,antisemitismen},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Häxprocesserna i Europa},
  year         = {2013},
}