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They took place in Ravensburg near Constance and Innsbruck since His position was in harmony with the scholastic theory at the time. In contrast, Sprenger never conducted a witch trial [] though he was consulted in a few cases. Authors warn of imminent arrival of the apocalypse foretold in the Bible and that men risk bewitchment that leads to impotence and sensation of castration.

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According to the Malleus , the only way a woman can avoid succumbing to her passions — and becoming a witch — is to embrace a life of devout chastity in a religious retreat. But the monastic life is reserved to the spiritually gifted few. Therefore, most women are doomed to become witches, who cannot be redeemed; and the only recourse open to the authorities is to ferret out and exterminate all witches.

Strixology in the Malleus Maleficarum is characterized by a very specific conception of what a witch is, one that differs dramatically from earlier times. The word used, malefica, carries an explicit condemnation absent in other words referring to women with supernatural powers. The conception of witches and of magic by extension is one of evil. It differs from earlier conceptions of witchcraft that were much more generalized. This is the point in history where "witchcraft constituted an independent antireligion".

The witch lost her powerful position vis-a-vis the deities; the ability to force the deities comply with her wishes was replaced by a total subordination to the devil. In short, "[t]he witch became Satan's puppet. 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.

According to Mackay, this concept of sorcery is characterized by the conviction that those guilty engage in six activities: []. In the Malleus demons are the ones who tempt humans to sorcery and are the main figures in the witches' vows. They interact with witches, usually sexually. The book claims that it is normal for all witches "to perform filthy carnal acts with demons.

It is worth noting that not all demons do such things.

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The book claims that "the nobility of their nature causes certain demons to balk at committing certain actions and filthy deeds. For example, it devotes large sections to incubi and succubi and questions regarding their roles in pregnancies, the submission of witches to incubi, and protections against them. Joseph Hansen, a historian who was appalled by the witch-craze and those who carried it out, proposed that coauthorship by Sprenger was a falsehood presented by Institoris Kramer and that approbation is partially a forgery.

Christopher Mackay, author of the modern academic translation of the Malleus into English offers rebuttals to arguments of proponents of this theory [] [] and in an interview gives an accessible summary:. The argument was made in the nineteenth century by a scholar hostile to what the Malleus stood for that the approbation was a forgery by Institoris and that Sprenger had nothing to do with the composition. The evidence for this is in my view very tenuous and the main argument is clearly invalid.

Nonetheless, once the argument was put forward, it took on a life of its own, and people continue to advance arguments in favor of the idea that Sprenger's involvement was a falsification perpetrated by Institoris, despite the fact that this argument was vitiated from the start. In addition, Mackay points out that allegations raised in support of this theory that supposedly two of the signatories had not in fact signed the approbation are unsubstantiated.

A similar response is offered by the author of the first translation of the Malleus into English Montague Summers. In his introduction, he ignores completely the theory that joint authorship or approbation could be a mystification. Nonetheless, he mentions briefly that it was questioned whether Kramer or Sprenger contributed more to the work. He comments that "in the case of such a close collaboration any such inquiry seems singularly superfluous and nugatory".

Broedel, a historian who writes that it is likely that Sprenger's contribution was minimal, nonetheless says that "Sprenger certainly wrote the Apologia auctoris which prefaces the Malleus and agreed to be a coauthor.


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Wolfgang Behringer argues that Sprenger's name was only added as an author beginning in , thirty-three years after the book was first published and decades after Sprenger's own death. Jacob Sprenger 's name was added as an author beginning in , 33 years after the book's first publication and 24 years after Sprenger's death.

Jenny Gibbons, a Neo-Pagan and a historian, writes: "Actually the Inquisition immediately rejected the legal procedures Kramer recommended and censured the inquisitor himself just a few years after the Malleus was published. Secular courts, not inquisitorial ones, resorted to the Malleus ". The preface also includes an allegedly unanimous approbation from the University of Cologne 's Faculty of Theology. In Heinrich Kramer had made one of the first attempts at prosecuting alleged witches in the Tyrol region.

It was not a success and he was asked to leave the city of Innsbruck. According to Diarmaid MacCulloch , writing the book was Kramer's act of self-justification and revenge. Ankarloo and Clark claim that Kramer's purpose in writing the book was to explain his own views on witchcraft, systematically refute arguments claiming that witchcraft does not exist, discredit those who expressed skepticism about its reality, claim that those who practiced witchcraft were more often women than men, and to convince magistrates to use Kramer's recommended procedures for finding and convicting witches.

Kramer received a papal bull , Summis desiderantes affectibus , in It directed Bishop of Strasburg then Albert of Palatinate-Mosbach to accept the authority of Heinrich Kramer as an Inquisitor, although the motivation of the papal bull was likely political. Kramer was intensely writing and preaching until his death in Bohemia in They were worthy of presence and patronage of Patriarch of Venice.

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He was appointed as papal nuncio and his assignment as inquisitor was changed to Bohemia and Moravia by Pope Alexander VI in Later, he was elected Provincial Superior of the whole German Province in He had enormous responsibilities. He received a letter from Pope Alexander VI praising his enthusiasm and energy in Gender-specific theory developed in the Malleus Maleficarum laid the foundations for widespread consensus in early modern Germany on the evil nature of women as witches.

Those who did, attributed female witchery to the weakness of body and mind the old medieval explanation and a few to female sexuality. Some authors argue that the book's publication was not as influential as earlier authors believed. The Malleus went through 28 editions between and and was accepted by Roman Catholics and Protestants alike as an authoritative source of information concerning Satanism and as a guide to Christian defense [against acts of Satan].

Between and , twenty editions of the Malleus Maleficarum were published, and another sixteen between and The invention of printing some thirty years before the first publication of the Malleus Maleficarum instigated the fervor of witch hunting, and, in the words of Russell, "the swift propagation of the witch hysteria by the press was the first evidence that Gutenberg had not liberated man from original sin. The late 15th century was also a period of religious turmoil.

The Malleus Maleficarum and the witch craze that ensued took advantage of the increasing intolerance of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe, where the Protestant and Catholic camps respectively, pitted against one another, each zealously strove to maintain what they each deemed to be the purity of faith. The Catholic Counter-Reformation would eventually even out this religious turmoil, but until then both the Catholics and Protestants constantly battled for what they believed was right.

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The Latin book was firstly translated by J. Montague Summers was responsible for the first English translation in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the album, see Malleus Maleficarum album. For the Supernatural episode, see Malleus Maleficarum Supernatural. For the Cradle of Filth album, see Hammer of the Witches. For the film, see Witchhammer. See also: Strappado torture , Rack torture , and Category:Medieval instruments of torture. Fellow Catholics, to whom we are forever bound in the communion of saints, did sin grievously against people accused of witchcraft.

If our historical memory can be truly purified, then the smoke from the Burning Times can finally disperse. Archived from the original on Retrieved CS1 maint: archived copy as title link "Archived copy".

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Mackay explains the terminology at length — sorcerer is used to preserve the relationship of the Latin terminology. Rather, it was their claim that harmful magic belonged exclusively to women that was new. If this assertion was granted, then the presence of maleficium indicated decisively the presence of a female witch.


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  5. In the Malleus , the 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. Instead, it was the effects of magic that mattered most, and harmful magic, the magic most characteristic of witches, belonged to women. Men might be learned magicians, anomalous archer wizards, or witch-doctors and superstitiosi, but very seldom did they work the broad range of maleficium typical of witches.

    Even his spelling of "maleficarum," with an a in a feminine gender instead of the usual masculine-gender "maleficorum" with an o, seems to emphasize his hostility toward women. They were less clever, vainer, and more sexually insatiable. The Malleus devotes an entire chapter to the sinful weakness of women, their lascivious nature, moral and intellectual inferiority and gullibility to guidance from deceiving spirits.

    Meaning of "flegelig" in the German dictionary

    In Kramer's view, women witches were out to harm all of Christendom. Scholars have debated the reasons for Kramer's misogyny; he may have had a fear of the power of women mystics of his day, such as Catherine of Siena, who enjoyed the attentions of royalty as well as the church. Kramer did accept the standard argument of misogynist demonologists that the female propensity for witchcraft was in part due to female weakness. He even derived the Latin word for woman, femina, from fe minus — 'less in faith. Kramer saw sex as the root of all sin, as that for which Adam and Eve originally fell.

    Kramer also discussed witch-caused impotence at length, going so far as to claim that witches had the ability to steal men's penises through illusion.

    The Cambridge History of Magic and Witchcraft in the West edited by David J. Collins, S. J.

    They argue that the evil of women stems from their physical and mental imperfections, a notion derived from Aristotle's theory that matter, perfection, and spirituality are purely expressed in the male body alone, and that women are misbegotten males produced by defective sperm. Women speak the language of idiots, Aristotle contends; like slaves, they are incapable of governing themselves or developing into the 'zoon politicon'.

    Thomas Aquinas adapted these views to Christianity, arguing that because woman is less perfect than man, she is but an indirect image of God and an appendix to man. Citing such views, Kramer and Sprenger find that women are 'intellectually like children,' credulous and impressionable, and therefore easily fall prey to the devil. Lack of intelligence prevents women not only from distinguishing good from evil, but from remembering the rules of behavior.

    Amoral and undisciplined, women are governed primarily by passion. Widely influential, it was reprinted numerous times. This literature is in most cases intensely misogynistic, in the sense that it is demeaning, if not blatantly hostile, to women. The common theme in these demonological treatises is that women were more susceptible to demonic temptation because they were morally weaker than men and more likely, therefore, to succumb to diabolical temptation.

    This idea, which dates from the earliest days of Christianity, is expressed most forcefully in the Malleus Maleficarum , but it can be found in many places, even in the sceptical demonological treatise of Johann Weyer. Georg Schott, who as we have already seen was banished from Schongau in the s for stealing human intestines, insisted in his testimony that he had not stolen them at all, but purchased them from the executioner; other hangmen supplemented their income by selling bits of rope and wood from the scaffold.