The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer),
December 8, 2000 5:28 AM   Subscribe

The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486, is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches. "Therefore, let us now chiefly consider women; and first, why this kind of perfidy is found more in so fragile a sex than in men. And our inquiry will first be general, as to the general conditions of women; secondly, particular, as to which sort of women are found to be given to superstition and witchcraft; and thirdly, specifically with regard to midwives, who surpass all others in wickedness." link via the always excellent larkfarm
posted by lagado (4 comments total)
Another quote from this delightful book: "And it should be begun in this way. While the officers are preparing for the questioning, let the accused be stripped; or if she is a woman, let her first be led to the penal cells and there stripped by honest women of good reputation. And the reason for this is that they should search for any instrument of witchcraft sewn into her clothes; for they often make such instruments, at the instruction of devils, out of the limbs of unbaptized children, the purpose being that those children should be deprived of the beatific vision. And when such instruments have been disposed of, the Judge shall use his own persuasions and those of other honest men zealous for the faith to induce her to confess the truth voluntarily; and if she will not, let him order the officers to bind her with cords, and apply her to some engine of torture; and then let them obey at once but not joyfully, rather appearing to be disturbed by their duty. Then let her be released again at someone's earnest request, and taken on one side, and let her again be persuaded; and in persuading her, let her be told that she can escape the death penalty. "
posted by lagado at 5:33 AM on December 8, 2000

all in grand tradition of the caholic church
posted by jyoung at 7:57 AM on December 8, 2000

Does the book explain the "weighs the same as a duck" methodology?
posted by harmful at 8:08 AM on December 8, 2000

Cute, harmful.

This book is one of the MAJOR reasons those who practice the Wicca or various forms of pagan religion are seen as "worshippers of the devil." I swear whenever I come across it or find snippets of it that they must have been written by a group of religious Christian zealots:

*jovial laughter and sniggering*

Writer1: Hmm. Any other ideas about how to terrify the general populace into believing people are witches?

Writer2: Simple- tell them that they make tools out of arms and legs of children.

Writer3: That's sick!

Writer1: No - I think he's onto something. This is a great way to make sure people get their children baptized faster - tell them it's the limbs of "umbaptized children." Telling them their kids will go to hell isn't bringing them to the church...let's see if threats of horrible mutilation will work.

Writer3: Ahhhh. I see. But how do we come across such tools?

Writer2: Simple when we strip search them, have one of our "honest" stooges of "good reputation" plant animal bones somewhere in their clothes. These idiots won't know the difference and our case will be sewn up!

*more snickering and giggling*
posted by bkdelong at 8:37 AM on December 8, 2000

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