Next Article in Journal
Bioethics and Jainism: From Ahiṃsā to an Applied Ethics of Carefulness
Next Article in Special Issue
“Such Fictitious Evil Spirits”: Adriaan Koerbagh’s Rejection of Biblical Demons and Demonic Possession in A Light Shining in Dark Places (1668)
Previous Article in Journal
Monastic Meat: The Question of Meat Eating and Vegetarianism in Tibetan Buddhist Monastic Guidelines (bca’ yig)
Previous Article in Special Issue
“Paltrie Vermin, Cats, Mise, Toads, and Weasils”: Witches, Familiars, and Human-Animal Interactions in the English Witch Trials
Open AccessArticle

The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Democratisation of Magic in Post-Reformation England

Independent Scholar, 8 Tabor Court, Peterborough PE7 8GF, UK
Religions 2019, 10(4), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040241
Received: 18 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic)
The dissolution of the monasteries in England (1536–1540) forced hundreds of former inmates of religious houses to seek livelihoods outside the cloister to supplement meagre pensions from the crown. Among the marketable skills these individuals possessed were Latin literacy, knowledge of liturgy, sacramental authority and a reputation for arcane learning: all qualities desirable in magical practitioners in early modern Europe. Furthermore, the dissolution dispersed occult texts housed in monastic libraries, while the polemical efforts of the opponents of monasticism resulted in the growth of legends about the magical prowess of monks and friars. The dissolution was a key moment in the democratisation of learned magic in sixteenth-century England, which moved from being an illicit pastime of clerics, monks and friars to a service provided by lay practitioners. This article considers the extent of interest in magic among English monks and friars before the dissolution, the presence of occult texts in monastic libraries, and the evidence for the magical activities of former religious in post-dissolution England. The article considers the processes by which monks, friars and monastic sites became associated with magic in popular tradition, resulting in a lasting stereotype of medieval monks and friars as the masters of occult knowledge. View Full-Text
Keywords: ritual magic; monasticism; dissolution of the monasteries; English reformation; monks; friars ritual magic; monasticism; dissolution of the monasteries; English reformation; monks; friars
MDPI and ACS Style

Young, F. The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Democratisation of Magic in Post-Reformation England. Religions 2019, 10, 241.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Search more from Scilit
 
Search
Back to TopTop