And then towards the end of the Middle Ages, when the Renaissance brought into it all the demonic symbolism and reality of the later ancient world, the demonic prevailed over against the Divine in terms of anxiety. And the Church of this period lived in a permanent anxiety about the presence of the demonic within themselves or within others. And this is the background of the witch trials and partly of the persecution of heresies. It is the basis for a demonic persecution of the demonic – we cannot describe these witch trials differently. It is the feeling for an under-ground in life, which is overcome, which can break in every moment and broke out in many individuals in terms of neurotic anxiety. The churches were first able to conquer it and at the end of the Middle Ages they were not able any more, and so they started the great persecutions, which were more cruel and more bloody than the persecutions even of the heretics. But as every persecution –- those of the heretics and those of the sorcerers – it was the fear, the tremendous anxiety about non-being in terms of demonic symbols, which was behind this hostile attitude towards oneself and others, if one felt that there the demonic was present.

Now this is a survey of the religious forces of the Middle Ages. Of course, not everything is in it. We will return to it, partly. But if you have these seven religious forces in mind, you will know more than if you had 200 names of mediaeval theologians and saints.

Paul Tillich, A History Of Christian Thought – Table of Contents