Jean Bodin (1530-1596) was the universal genius of the 16th century. Therefore, the involvement of this master of rationality in the persecution of witches is considered a mystery. This 16th century riddle can be solved by tackling three European enigmas from the late 15th century:
(i) the transformation of the Population Catastrophe of 1348-1352 and its aftermath into a demographic explosion,
(ii) the Great Witch Hunt,
(iii) the sudden disappearance of birth control.
They can be solved by a political-economic explanation: The Great Witch Hunt was initiated as the most cruel and terrible measure to eliminate birth control to repopulate Europe. Bodin was still aware of this catastrophe and declared birth control as witchcraft which he carefully distinguished from traditional magic. Like the Malleus Maleficarum (1487), Bodin blamed the midwives, the experts of birth control, as witches. Population policy, executed as extermination of birth control, defined ”political economy”, a concept elaborated by him. Like combating the danger of inflation by controlling coinage out of the influx of gold and silver from the Americas, the state should prevent the danger of an under-supply of working people by forcing its citizens to boost their number of children.
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