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This essay explores how John Buchan uses a cultural gap between the disciplined church and the living-conditions of peasants in Woodilee to raise questions about the knowledge of evil and witchcraft in seventeenth-century Scotland. Published in 1927, when Scotland was not prepared to cope with a politico-religious struggle between King Charles I and Parliament during the English Civil War (from 1644 to 1646), Witch Wood depicts how a young Presbyterian minister, David Sempill, witnesses the pretenses and prejudices of three other church elders. The novel depicts how the seventeenth-century Scottish church interprets the concept of evil and convicts its members of witchcraft, focusing on the controversial relationship between nature and morality. This essay will explore how several of Buchan’s more negative political-religious characters lead to the eventual banality of domestic evil within the Scottish church; furthermore, it will point out the ironic moral contrast between the speculations and deeds of the Church’s Chief Elder Chasehope and the secular farmer Shillinglaw. This essay ultimately offers observations, on a somewhat more speculative level, in relation to the novel’s discourse concerning unorthodox, if not Christian, interpretations of evil, using manifestation of several convincing representatives of human nature. It questions whether witchcraft should be recognized as a phenomenon of the human impulse towards natural worship, or as a ritual with evil motive.

KEYWORDS: John Buchan, Witch Wood, witchcraft, evil, nature and morality

摘 要

本論文旨在探討約翰.布肯如何以蘇格蘭十七世紀訓化 的教堂和「巫地利」(Woodilee) 村民生活間的文化落差為議 題,進一步質疑傳統宗教對邪惡觀念與巫術的詮釋。出版於 1927 年,正當蘇格蘭尚未準備好如何因應英格蘭內戰時期查 理王一世與國會之間的政教紛爭時,《巫師森林》敘述一年 青長老教會(Presbyterian)的牧師大衛(David)如何見證其他三 位較年長教會前輩的虛偽與偏見。此小說敘述十七世紀蘇格 蘭宗教如何詮釋邪惡的觀念與如何判決執行巫術者,尤著眼 於自然與道德的爭議關係。本論文將討論布肯筆下的負面政 教人物們如何製造蘇格蘭教會中的惡習。再則,本論文將進 一步指出,教會首席長老「追望」(Chasehope)與世俗邊疆農 夫「世令法」(Shillinglaw)間的言行落差與道德諷刺。本論文 最後提出一些有關非傳統宗教詮釋邪惡的觀察,且這些觀察 皆與此本小說中內蘊蘇格蘭宗教文化的改革有密切關係。值 得質疑的是,巫術應該被認為是人類崇拜自然環境的本能現 象? 或者,巫術應該被視為一具有邪惡動機的神秘儀式?

關鍵字:約翰.布肯、《巫師森林》、巫術、邪惡、 自然與道德 

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