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Life and writings
Anton Praetorius was the son of Matthes Schulze. He later changed his name to Praetorius. Praetorius wrote a poem about the Heidelberg Wine Barrel in the Heidelberg Castle in city of Heidelberg in October 1595.
Fight against the chase of witches
Praetorius fought against torture and against the hunting of witches. Some women were accused of being witches. People thought that witches can do harm to others. So these women were arrested and put in prison.
In 1597 Anton Praetorius protested against the torture of women accused of witchcraft.
Praetorius was so shocked about the torture of the accused woman that he demanded a stop. His protest was successful.
In 1598 he wrote a book to protest against torture and the prosecution of witches. The book was published again in 1602, 1613 and in 1629. Praetorius described the terrible situation of the prisoners and protested against torture.
Theological argument against witchcraft
Praetorius was a Protestant minister. He believed that man can do either good or bad things. However, God chooses certain people to do certain things. Those things can be good or bad. According to Praetorius, witchcraft can only be a fall from the favour of God, and a pact with the devil. But, neither the devil nor sorcerers can do more than is in their nature (and predestination). God will punish those who are witches or sorcerers. This however, does not give human courts a right to put those to death, they believe are guilty of the crime of witchcraft. For Praetorius, witchcraft cannot exist, because it is beyond the faculties of either man or the devil. It is also against Nature.
Bibliography (in German)
- Hartmut Hegeler: Anton Praetorius, Kämpfer gegen Hexenprozesse und Folter, (fighter against the persecution of witches and against torture) Unna, 2002
- Hartmut Hegeler und Stefan Wiltschko: Anton Praetorius und das 1. Große Fass von Heidelberg, (the 1. Great Wine Barrel in the Castle of Heidelberg) Unna, 2003
- Anton Praetorius, De Sacrosanctis Sacramentis novi foederis Jesu Christi, Eine reformatorische Sakramentenlehre von 1602 über die hochheiligen Sakramente des Neuen Bundes Jesu Christi (teachings about the sacraments) Lateinische Originalschrift (the original writing in Latin with a translation into German, translated by Burghard Schmanck), herausgegeben und übersetzt von Burghard Schmanck, Bautz Verlag, Nordhausen 2010, ISBN 978-3-88309-550-9
- http://www.bautz.de (Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, Verlag Traugott Bautz)
- http://www.anton-praetorius.de biography and literature about Anton Praetorius
- http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/%7Ecd2/drw/F3/praetor/o02wid.htm reprinted text of the "Bericht" of Praetorius 1613
- http://www.theology.de/praetorius.htm Biography including coulored pictures
- http://news.genealog.de/rheinhessen/dittelsheim-hessloch/anton-praetorius-teil1.shtml Praetorius as pastor in Dittelsheim (with pictures)
- http://www.sfn.uni-muenchen.de/hexenverfolgung/art784.htm biography
- http://126.96.36.199/hd/content/titleinfo/281386 (Latin text of De Sacrosanctis Sacramentis, 1602, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt)