The Demonological Reading of Superstitions in the Late Middle Ages: Areas of Difference and Disagreement
This chapter explores some of the fault-lines and differences between the theological writers on superstitions. Very broadly, theologians divided themselves into two groups. First, some writers portrayed God as the arbiter of a cosmic gymnasium or military training camp, where individual souls were pitted against demonic adversaries, equipped with a variety of resources, spiritual and physical, for their own protection, and more or less left to get on with the struggle. On the other hand, another group of theologians consisted of providentialists. They envisaged God controlling the malice of evil spirits with constant vigilance, only permitting human beings to suffer misfortune for specific reasons at specific times. This highly abstract question impacted on the practical advice that pastoral theologians gave clergy and laity.
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