Return to site

Malleus Maleficarum

· Malleus Maleficarum,Witchcraft,Montague Summers,Satanism,Fine Book Collecting

Our anniversary date is October 30, and in two days we will be acknowledging, no celebrating, our 6th anniversary! I was going to do our musing on that event tonight, but when I looked back at previous anniversary musings, they had been done in November, the weekend after our Christmas at the Forum event. This is always big in out calendar, so I’ll keep my powder dry for a couple of weeks. No musing next week, as we will be manning the booth. Hmmm, what will I muse about tonight? Halloween is almost upon us, and I have focused on witchcraft all month – why stop now! But this book takes a different viewpoint on the subject – church doctrine about what to do about the scourge of witchcraft. The publishing of this book in 1489 resulted in unbelievable persecution, suffering, and death for centuries. Truly a crime against humanity.

On that note:

broken image
broken image
broken image
broken image
broken image

Malleus Maleficarum; translated with an Introduction, Bibliography, and Notes by the Rev. Monague Summers; John Rodker, Publisher, 1928. From the limitation note – This edition of Malleus Maleficarum, comprising 1275 numbered copies, is here translated into English from the edition of 1489 for the first time. This book is printed by Messrs. R. Clay & Sons, Ltd., Bungay, Suffolk, on a Dutch paper specially made for this edition. This copy is No. 339.

Summers was the author of the first book in this Witchcraft series. From the September 30 Musing –

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the author:

"Augustus Montague Summers (1880 – 1948) was an English author, clergyman, and teacher. He was employed as a teacher of English and Latin while independently pursuing scholarly work on the English drama of the 17th century. The latter earned him election to the Royal Society of Literature in 1916.

“Noted for his eccentric personality and interests, Summers became a well-known figure in London society as a result of the publication of his History of Witchcraft and Demonology in 1926. That work was followed by other studies on witchcraft, vampires, and werewolves, in all of which he professed to believe. Summers also produced a modern English translation, published in 1929, of the 15th century witch hunter's manual, the Malleus Maleficarum. (This just may be the subject of a later musing in October.) He has been characterized as "arguably the most seminal twentieth century purveyor of pop culture occultism."

"Summers' interest in Satanism appears to have derived in part from his reading of the works of the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans, particularly the novel Là-bas (1891), which includes an account of a Black Mass. Summers himself later claimed in private conversation to have attended Black Masses in Bruges, Brighton, and London. There are also testimonies from former associates, including the poet J. Redwood Anderson, suggesting that Summers may even have conducted such ceremonies himself.

‘In 1926, his work on The History of Witchcraft and Demonology appeared as part of the series "History of Civilization" published by Kegan Paul and edited by C. K. Ogden. In the introduction to that book, Summers wrote:

In the following pages I have endeavoured to show the witch as she really was – an evil liver: a social pest and parasite: the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed: an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes: a member of a powerful secret organisation inimical to Church and State: a blasphemer in word and deed, swaying the villagers by terror and superstition: a charlatan and a quack sometimes: a bawd: an abortionist: the dark counsellor of lewd court ladies and adulterous gallants: a minister to vice and inconceivable corruption, battening upon the filth and foulest passions of the age.

"The book sold well and attracted considerable attention in the press. That success made Summers "something of a social celebrity" and allowed him to give up teaching and write full time. In 1927 a "History of Civilization" series (this book).

"The popular novelist Dennis Wheatley relates that he was introduced to Summers by the journalist and politician Tom Driberg while Wheatley was researching occultism for his novel The Devil Rides Out (1934). A weekend visit by Wheatley and his wife to Summers' home in Alresford was cut short by the Wheatleys, who determined "never to see the, perhaps not so Reverend, gentleman". Summers and Wheatley continued to correspond on friendly terms, but Wheatley reportedly based the character of the evil Canon Copely-Syle, in his novel To the Devil – a Daughter (1953), on Montague Summers."

broken image
broken image
broken image

And this is what Wikipedia has to say about this infamous volume:

"The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches, is the best known treatise purporting to be about witchcraft. It was written by the German Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (under his Latinized name Henricus Institor) and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1486. Some describe it as the compendium of literature in demonology of the 15th century. Kramer blamed women for his own lust and presented his views as the Church's position. The book was condemned by top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne for recommending unethical and illegal procedures, and for being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology.

"The Malleus calls sorcery heresy, which was a crime at the time, and recommends that secular courts prosecute it as such. The Malleus suggests torture to get confessions and death as the only certain way to end the "evils of witchcraft." When it was published, heretics were often 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 for a time among laypeople.

"In 1519, a new author was added, Jacob Sprenger. Historians have questioned why since this was 33 years after the book's first printing, and 24 years after Sprenger died. Kramer wrote the Malleus after he was expelled from Innsbruck by the local bishop. Kramer was accused of illegal behavior, and the tribunal was suspended because of Kramer's obsession with the sexual habits of the accused, Helena Scheuberin: the papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus which formed the basis of the investigation permitted the investigation of heresy, not sexual impropriety.

"The book was later revived by royal courts during the Renaissance, and contributed to the
increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.

"Copies of the Malleus Maleficarum contain a reproduction of a papal bull known as Summis desiderantes affectibus that is addressed to Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger. According to it, Pope Innocent VIII acknowledges that sorceresses are real and harmful through their involvement in the acts of Satan.

"According to the date on the document, the papal bull had been issued in 1484, two years before the Malleus Maleficarum was finished. Therefore, it is not an endorsement of a specific final text of the Malleus. Instead, its inclusion implicitly legitimizes the handbook by providing general confirmation of the reality of witchcraft and full authority to Sprenger and Institoris in their preachings and proceedings.

"Section I

"Section I examines the concept of witchcraft theoretically, from the point of view of natural philosophy and theology. Specifically it addresses the question of whether witchcraft is a real phenomenon or imaginary, perhaps "deluding phantasms of the devil, or simply the fantasies of overwrought human minds." The conclusion drawn is that witchcraft must be real because the Devil is real. Witches entered into a pact with Satan to allow them the power to perform harmful magical acts, thus establishing an essential link between witches and the Devil.

"Section II

"Matters of practice and actual cases are discussed, and the powers of witches and their
recruitment strategies. It states that it is mostly witches, as opposed to the Devil, who do the
recruiting, by making something go wrong in the life of a respectable matron that makes her
consult the knowledge of a witch, or by introducing young maidens to tempting young devils. It
details how witches cast spells, and remedies that can be taken to prevent witchcraft, or help
those who have been affected by it.

"Section III

"Section III is the legal part of the Malleus Maleficarum that describes how to prosecute a witch. The arguments are clearly laid for the lay magistrates prosecuting witches. The section offers a step-by-step guide to the conduct of a witch trial, from the method of initiating the process and assembling accusations, to the interrogation (including torture) of witnesses, and the formal charging of the accused. Women who did not cry during their trial were automatically believed to be witches.

"Between 1487 and 1520, twenty editions of the Malleus Maleficarum were published, and another sixteen between 1574 and 1669. The Malleus Maleficarum was able to spread throughout Europe rapidly in the late 15th and at the beginning of the 16th century due to the innovation of the printing press in the middle of the 15th century by Johannes Gutenberg. 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."

It was all Gutenberg’s fault!

A spooky Halloween to all of my readers.