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W: Gillian Hendershot – Are Ministers Witches Too?

July 22, 2009
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

The Sweet House
254 E. Fulton
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 United States

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Organized by:
Jennifer Beahan
Phone: 616-698-2342 x801
Email: jbeahan@centerforinquiry.org


Join us as Professor Gillian Hendershot presents “Oh Dreadful, Dreadful. Are Ministers Witches Too?” Churchmen Accused of Witchcraft.

There are many historical examples of persons accused of witchcraft that do not meet the common popular culture stereotype of the witch as an aged, impoverished, often malevolent, old woman. In fact, twenty-five percent of people accused of witchcraft in Europe and North America were men. Among those men, there are several notable examples of clergymen accused of sorcery and devil worship, namely Father Urbain Grandier, the licentious Catholic priest from Loudun, France; John Lowes, the “renegade” Vicar of Brandeston, England; and George Burroughs, the erstwhile pastor of Salem Village. Each of these men had considerable levels of education and prominent public positions, which negates the stereotypical witch-figure. But, more importantly, each of these men had run afoul of the prevailing religious standards in his society.

To that end, this talk will examine the extraordinary lengths taken by Catholic and Protestant authorities to weed out clergymen who did not fit with religious standards or expectations and will establish that Christian religious institutions used witchcraft accusations as a tool to weed out malignant clergymen.

Meetings are open to the Public

After the meeting, join us at Vitale’s Restaurant, 834 Leonard NE, Grand Rapids, MI to socialize. View Map

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About Gillian Hendershot

Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Grand Valley State University

Gillian Hendershot is the Visiting Assistant Professor of European History at Grand Valley State University. She received her MA in History from the University of Strathclyde in conjunction with Central Michigan University in 2002. She is currently a PhD candidate at Central Michigan University and is in the process of writing her dissertation on the topic of “Witches, Wizards and Marginalized Men: Gender Accusation and Conviction in Witch Trials in 17th Century England and Colonial New England.” She has had articles published in Gender and History. Her fields of interest include Early Modern Europe, Ancient Near-East, Mediterranean, Colonial North American and Gender History.