By Clare Copeland
"And no surprise; for devil himself is reworked into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14) Paul's caution of fake apostles and fake righteousness struck a different chord within the interval of the ecu Reformations. At no different time used to be the necessity for the discernment of spirits felt as strongly as during this newly confessional age. greater than ever, the facility to determine used to be a mark of holiness and failure the manufactured from demonic temptation. The contributions to this quantity chart person responses to an issue on the center of non secular identification. They express that the matter of discernment used to be now not completely a Catholic quandary and used to be a subject for authors and artists up to for prophets and visionaries.
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Karlstadt or concerned about him. ”79 Luther took perhaps an extreme position in this regard. Maybe only he could have held in tension the idea that wrong theology literally derived from demonic possession: possibly such a line of argument led inevitably towards the very end the reformers did not seek, namely the conversion of the idea of possession into a metaphor for a psychological state. 80 Two important consequences followed for Protestant thought. First, Reformed theologians embarked on an elaborate and detailed campaign to discredit the rite of exorcising spirits from people as practised in Catholicism.
39 See esp. Alphonsus de Spina, Fortalitium Fidei (Lyon, 1487), bk. 5, consideration 10, sigs. Lr–L3v. Spina there enumerates a variety of folk-spirits and concludes that all are really demons. 36 ANGELS, DEMONS, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN 31 beguile and deceive humanity. In this binary, quasi-Manichaean world the task of discerning spirits became intellectually simpler but pastorally more demanding. Could a pastor really persuade his people that all commerce with spirit-creatures was in truth supping with the devil?
Glimpses through the Veil The first major challenge of this subject consists in trying to work out what kinds of spiritual creatures were believed to exist in premodern Europe. Any portrait which can be drawn is to some extent a construct of the literary imagination. One snatches at those elements in the sources which appear to depend least heavily on the scholastic analysis. Some hints about majority beliefs in spirits may be located in the lore which scholastic pastoral theologians criticised in others, or claimed to have discovered while on visitations.
Angels of Light?: Sanctity and the Discernment of Spirits in the Early Modern Period by Clare Copeland