Sprenger. The Malleus Maleficarum was first published in Germany in 1487. Both men were
members of the Dominican Order of Monks and also inquisitors for the Catholic church.
The Malleus Maleficarum became known as the “Hammer of the Witches”, “Witches Hammer”,
and “Der Hexenhammer” (German). It became popular as a handbook for witch hunters. Pope
Innocent VIII endorsed the Malleus Maleficarum because he desired that all heretical depravity
should be driven from the frontiers of the faithful. It was not the first document ever written
about witchcraft in the medieval period but because of advancement in technology; Johannes
Gutenberg invented the printing press in the middle of the fifteenth century, there came a way
to mass print the Malleus Maleficarum which made it able to be more widely distributed. It was
published thirteen times and between 1574 to 1669, it was published another sixteen times after
The Malleus Maleficarum was the most important document for prosecuting witches to have
come out of the witch hysteria of the Renaissance, also known in Europe as the Burning Times.
The document treated witchcraft not as superstition which it originally had it thought to be, but
claimed witchcraft was real. As a dangerous and heretical practice of associating with the devil.
The Malleus Maleficarum was considered of the most frightening book is human history. It
spurred on a three-hundred year period of witch hunting from the 15th to the 18th century.
The Malleus was written in three sections. Section One is described as an attempt to prove
that witchcraft was real and not superstition. That those who practi...
... middle of paper ...
...f executing witches was either
by drowning or burning. If the accused could not be burned or drowned they were guilty of
witchcraft. If the accused did drown or burn then they were considered to probably be innocent.
Either way the guilty party would be executed and the innocent did not live to enjoy their
innocence. There was also a section that explained to judges how to protect themselves from
spells if they were to become a target for a witches wrath. There were penalties for those who
directly or indirectly interfered in obstructing an investigation.
The Malleus Maleficarum accuses male and female alike. The title Malleus Maleficarum is
feminine. The title Malleus Maleficorum is the masculine form of the word. So you can see
that the Malleus was initially biased against women who, by the way, made up of about eighty
percent of accused witches.
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