For nearly three centuries Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches’ Hammer) was the professional manual for witch hunters. This work by two of the most famous. While the Malleus Maleficarum was the first comprehensive book of witchcraft and witchcraft prosecution, its authors did not create all their theories on witches. The Malleus Maleficarum was meant to be a manual for inquisitors. It laid foundations for much of the early modern period’s witch persecutions.

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Malleus Maleficarum (1486)

In clergyman Heinrich Kramer made one of the first attempts at prosecuting alleged witches in the Tyrol region. Most laity are either unaware or unopposed, and most people of the cloth are content with the current system of patriarchy and to let sleeping dogs lie.

The Catholic Church played an important role in shaping of debate on demonology, but the discourse was not much affected by the Reformation.

The Malleus is often advertized as a “witch hunter’s handbook”, but it really isn’t.

Malleus Maleficarum – Wikipedia

The malefcius lays the foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The Malleus Maleficarum was intended to implement Exodus Copies of the Malleus Maleficarum contain a reproduction of a papal bull known as Summis desiderantes affectibus that is addressed to Heinrich Institoris and Jakob Mallesu.

Kramer and Sprenger were the first to raise harmful sorcery to the criminal status of heresy. Cambridge University Press has done an incredible job piecing together a polarizing yet important historical work on the history of demonology and witchcraft.

Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition through the Salem Trials. The Latin book was firstly translated by J. Anyway, that was a weird read. Maximilian I] takes these Inquisitors under his complete protection, ordering and commanding each and every subject of the Roman Empire to render all favor and assistance to these Inquisitors and otherwise to act in the manner that is more fully contained and included in the letter.

Text of approbation mentions that during proceedings Institoris had a letter from Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor which is summarized in the approbation: Witches were said to store the removed genitals in birds’ nests or in boxes, where malefichs move themselves like living members and eat oats and corn”.

Sometimes, as in the Saarland, Catholic overlords the Duke of Lorraine and the Archbishop of Trier were more likely to sponsor witch-hunts than Protestant sovereigns in this case, the Lutheran Count of Nassau and the Calvinist Count of Zweibrucken. One would expect, however, that had such a document been forged, Mr. So far as Kramer was concerned witchcraft was a huge diabolic conspiracy against Christendom, a terrorist threat, if you will, with Satan in the role of Osama Bin Laden and the witches as his agents.

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Malleus Maleficarum

In the Spanish Inquisition cautioned its members not to believe everything the Malleus said, even when it presented apparently firm evidence.

Then, at the prayer of some of those present, the prisoner is loosed again and is taken aside and once more persuaded to confess, being led to believe that he will in that case not be put to death. God gives the Devil his power and thus prevents him from destroying the world. Part 1 also discusses the Biblical and theological basis of witchcraft. It’s really all about the tedious little details of the trial process.

The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft.

A lack malefius a proper index or bibliography in the book itself is a crime of omission, but regardless, the book and footnotes lend to an ease of understanding in the moment of reading, rather than a flip back and forth between the book and its endpapers. Jan 20, Shannon Ellsworth rated it liked it. Previously, the courts had mostly pursued witchcraft when it involved maleficia, or harmful acts. View all 4 comments. The arguments are clearly laid for the lay magistrates prosecuting witches.

The Malleus is a historical document therefore reflects the views of some people at a specific time. To ask other readers questions about The Malleus Maleficarummalefichs sign up. Yes, I would malefidus to say it but I know, contrary to a more general prejudice, that this is a gross exaggeration; for it was only one of a number of similar texts, and by no means the most popular.

Aug 21, Gary Bonn rated it liked it. The stigmatization of children as witches in the Niger Delta region, as a phenomenon, suddenly exploded in the … https: The treatise often makes references to the Bible and Aristotelian thought, and it is heavily influenced by the philosophical tenets of Neoplatonism. Written by James Sprenger and Henry Kramer of which little is knownthe Malleus remained in use for three hundred years. Not only is it a vast improvement on past translations but it comes with a superb introductory essay.


Kramer wrote the Malleus following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop, due to charges of illegal behavior against Kramer himself, and because of Kramer’s obsession with the sexual habits of one of the accused, Helena Scheuberinwhich led the other tribunal members to suspend the trial.

Those who did, attributed female witchery to the weakness of body and mind the old medieval explanation and a few to female sexuality. In this conception, a witch was a member of “a malevolent society presided over by Satan himself and dedicated to the infliction of malevolent acts of sorcery maleficia on others.

In the Malleusthe field of masculine magic is dramatically limited and male magicians are pointedly marginalized; magic is no longer seen as a range of practices, some of which might be more characteristic of men, some of women, and some equally prevalent among both sexes.

The Malleus was used as a judicial case-book for the detection and persecution of witches, specifying rules of evidence and the canonical procedures by which suspected witches were tortured and put to death. So if this book is so bad, why should one read it? Thousands of people primarily women were judically murdered as a result of the procedures described in this book, for no reason than a strange birthmark, living alone, mental illness, cultivation of medicinal herbs, or simply because they were falsely accused often for financial gain by the accuser.

If you weren’t informing, you were likely to be informed upon. Tradition has it that Kramer forged the document that he included with his work, that he and James Sprenger parted ways on bad terms, and that Kramer was denounced by the Inquisition in Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Oct 14, L rated it really liked it Shelves: The truth is Kramer and Sprenger’s ideas were not widely accepted even during their time.

Nevertheless, many historians have argued that it is well established by sources outside the “Malleus” that the university’s theology faculty condemned the book for unethical procedures and for contradicting Catholic theology on a number of important points: