Year/Century: 17th century
Subject: Religion & Spirituality
Description: Maleficarum Malleus Vol. II (of 4); 2 parts in 1 volume Lyon, Bourgeat, 1669 Size 7.5 by 10" Engraved with 2 printer's marks, head vignettes 6 sheets, 184 pages, 4 sheets, 322 pages, 10 sheets Leather binding Good condition, some wear". The most well-known book that claims to be about witchcraft is the Malleus Maleficarum, often known as the Hammer of Witches. It was composed in 1486 in the German city of Speyer by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic preacher, writing under the Latinized name Henricus Institor.
Some refer to it as the 15th-century demonology literary compendium.
Kramer portrayed his opinions as the Church's and condemned women for his own lust. Prominent Inquisitor theologians at the Faculty of Cologne denounced the book for advocating immoral and unlawful practices and for being at odds with Catholic demonological beliefs.
The Malleus advises secular courts to punish magic as heresy, since it was considered a felony at the time. When it was published, heretics were frequently sentenced to be burned alive at the stake, and the Malleus suggested the same for "witches." Despite, or perhaps because of, being condemned by the church, the Malleus was popular among laypeople for a while. It suggests torture to get confessions and death as the only certain way to end the "evils of witchcraft." Jacob Sprenger, a new author, was introduced in 1519.
Given that this occurred 24 years after Sprenger's passing and 33 years after the book's initial printing, historians have questioned why. After Kramer was banished from Innsbruck by the local bishop, he authored the Malleus.
Due to Kramer's fixation on Helena Scheuberin's sexual practices, the tribunal was placed on hold and he was charged with illegal behavior. However, the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, which served as the foundation for the investigation, allowed for the investigation of heresy rather than sexual impropriety.
Later, during the Renaissance, the book was brought back to life by royal courts, which helped to fuel the increasingly severe persecution of witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries.
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