Popular beliefs are studied as a sub-field of social sciences, like history and anthropology, which examines spiritual beliefs that develop not independently from religion, but still outside of established religious institutions. Aspects of popular piety, historical folklore, and historical superstitions are some of the themes explored.

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  • Popular beliefs are studied as a sub-field of social sciences, like history and anthropology, which examines spiritual beliefs that develop not independently from religion, but still outside of established religious institutions. Aspects of popular piety, historical folklore, and historical superstitions are some of the themes explored. Social scientists who study popular belief offer explanations for behaviors and events that arose as a means of redress in times of adversity or from perceived practical or spiritual utility. The cause of the European witch craze, responsible for the death of many older women in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, is one such area of research. The attitudes to sanctity and relics in the central Middle Ages, which represent a bottom-up phenomenon (whereby relics became acceptable to the Roman Catholic Church as a result of their popularity among the masses), is another widely studied area of popular belief. (en)
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  • Popular beliefs are studied as a sub-field of social sciences, like history and anthropology, which examines spiritual beliefs that develop not independently from religion, but still outside of established religious institutions. Aspects of popular piety, historical folklore, and historical superstitions are some of the themes explored. (en)
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  • Popular belief (en)
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