The Primary Sources For Katharina Kepler’s Case


Assignment Book & Film
(Only the first question is about the film)
Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlAugcVYdbY&feature=youtu.be
1. Watch the video clip for this module. Free writing … what are your impressions?
Response:
Book:
Ulinka Rublack, The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler’s Fight for His Mother (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017; first published 2015).
2. How do scholars attempt to explain the witch craze that took hold of Central Europe between 1580 and 1650?
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3. According to Ulinka Rublack, what are the primary sources for Katharina Kepler’s case? How and why are they preserved?
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4. Why/how, in Rublack’s assessment, did Johannes Kepler succeed in his mother’s defense?
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5. What all may have accounted for the popularity of alchemy around 1600 (and beyond)?
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6. What is your take on Sibylle of Württemberg’s court pharmacy?
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7. Who first accused Katharina? Why (apparently)? And why (presumably) did the accusation stick?
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8. In a nutshell, how does Rublack explain the reasons for witchcraft accusations?
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9. How does Rublack characterize Johannes Kepler’s style?
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10. On what grounds did Katharina’s son (Christoph Kepler) and son-in-law (Georg Binder) counter-sue Ursula Reinbold? What about this might have harmed their case?
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11. What is the essence of the argument Johannes Kepler made in his letter to Duke John Frederick? Why/how was his letter “smarter” than his relatives’ intervention?
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12. According to Johannes Kepler, what had caused the accusation of witchcraft against his mother?
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13. In “Harmony of the World,” Johannes Kepler presents a causal analysis of personality based on which five points and applies the latter to himself? Why/how so?
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14. Which of the testimonies/accusations brought forth against Katharina strike you as especially outrageous? Why?
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15. Why was Katharina’s request for a skull considered damning evidence (despite the then current usage and displaying of skulls)?
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16. What might have been the significance of the cases against Margaretha Frisch and Lena Stüblerin in the context of the witchcraft accusations against Katharina?
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17. On which three principal charges was Katharina to be tortured?
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18. Why (apparently) was Christoph Kepler upset that his brother Johannes was taking on their mother’s defense?
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19. How did Johannes Kepler explain his mother’s apparent lack of emotions? Why was this an issue? Discuss.
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20. What was the theme of Johannes Kepler’s poem in honor of Johann Leonhard Breitschwert’s Tübingen doctorate?
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21. What was the argument of those arguing for the relentless persecution of witches?
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22. Describe/paraphrase the key elements of Johannes Kepler’s extensive legal defense of his mother.
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23. What was the central argument against torture cited by Johannes Kepler?
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24. What may account for Johannes Kepler’s meticulous attention to the publication of “Somnium?”
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25. Considering Rublack’s self-assessment of her book as “micro-history” and “history from the ground up,” what do you consider the most important methodological take-away(s) from this study?
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