Malleus Maleficarum: the book that helped unleash the witch hunt in the Inquisition

Many think that the witch hunters were irrational people who acted without reason or bases, but the reality is a little more complicated than that, since most followed a fairly strict and structured code that laid the foundations not only for that dark age of humanity but also of criminology, etiology and some aspects of the legal world: the Malleus Maleficarum.

Here we will tell you what was the purpose of the birth of the Malleus Maleficarum, its social implications, its importance in our present life and some other details of this commonly called “bible of witch hunters”.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

History of the Malleus Maleficarum

The invention of this text, which appeared at the height of the Inquisition and the witch hunt of the Middle Ages, was thanks to two German monks, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, who mixed their knowledge of witchcraft and demonology for the support of the Christianity in this “holy fight”, as it was considered in those days.

It was made known to the world in 1486, and since then, according to information from the University of Navarrebecame a watershed in the religious processes of witch hunting during the three centuries that followed.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

Today, the Malleus Maleficarum, whose translation from Latin would be “witch’s hammer”, is a text widely criticized by all kinds of organizations and scientific agencies, although it is a fact that it left an important legacy due to its historical relevance and its criminal implications and legal that we will see later.

This text promoted the European separation between the Catholic and Protestant monarchies with society in general, since its content was not only considered highly fanciful by its detractors, but also immoral due to its promotion of torture methods to combat, apparently, the stain of evil in human souls.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

However, history tells us that the European Inquisition was a religious movement that was really established for political reasons for the eradication of the enemies of the State, who were considered “heretics” and were publicly executed to cause fear among the parishioners and , thus, avoid possible uprisings against.

What is the Malleus Maleficarum?

The book, which in itself is a treatise on the existence of witchcraft in earthly life, consists mainly of three parts, according to the translation he made of it the author Miguel Jiménez Monteserin:

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

  1. First part: defines the concepts of “witch”, “witchcraft”, “demon”, among others, as a treatise, as well as the verification of their existence based on the “sacred scriptures” and the ways in which religion has fought these beings in ancient times.
  2. Second part: points out in what ways witchcraft can be present in daily life and materialize in everyday homes so that people know how to identify if someone was the victim of a spell or something similar.
  3. Third part: examples of torture methods and treatment proposals that should be given to a possible witch or wizard so that he admits his sin and manages to purge his soul through sacrifice.

Other details that the text contains throughout its pages, points out the UNAM professor Octavio R. Acedo Quezada in the text “Remedievalization of Law and Politics” they have to do, as such, with legal and criminal matters, such as the inclusion of “canonical criminal law”, relating to witches; an etiology treatise on the existence of the “stinking crime”, and a manual of inquisitorial law, which takes up the ideas of the Aragonese inquisitor Nicolás Emerich.

And it is precisely these last contents that have meant that the text has not been completely discarded in the advancement of society, since they set a precedent in criminal policy, and its way of being executed, which is still valid today. , as the justification of the penal power of the State; some guidelines to proceed, legally, when a crime has been committed; the rights that each involved party has in the case, among other details.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

The main victims of the Malleus Maleficarum

The establishment of the Inquisition has been pointed out by specialists and historians as one of the greatest events of misogyny in the world, since the main victims of this sociopolitical process were the women who practiced ancestral methods of healing through the use of natural matter.

The article from the University of Navarra points out that the main reason for the conflict between the men of the clergy and the curanderas of yesteryear had to do with a projection of a patriarchal fear towards atypical women, who did not allow themselves to be dominated by the religious doctrine that sodomized them. and turned them into a kind of slave to the men of the family.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

They were not only afraid of their ancestral knowledge and their indomitable spirit, but also of the power that their voice could have in various communities, something that, according to the vision of the political hegemony of the time, could become a threat against social principles. that they had struggled to raise.

The Malleus Maleficarum precisely seeks to support that women are the root of many evils in the world, and that is why they are more likely to fall into the clutches of the devil to become his ally in the destruction of humanity. Based on this idea, the text suggests that the power of these witches lies in the control of nature to provoke storms and harm men, such as sterility and the sacrifice of infants in satanic rituals.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

“A witch was described by four main characteristics: practicing the ‘maleficium’ or doing harm through supernatural means; to fly; attend witch meetings, called covens; and having a pact with the devil”, indicates the professor of Law at the University of Navarra Raúl Madrid in this regard.

Precisely for this reason, the “witch’s hammer” is also considered a great compendium of demonology for those who still seek to learn the subject, since it summarizes several treatises that ancient theologians and philosophers created on the matter and that are still taken as references in current teaching.

ADVERTISING – KEEP READING BELOW

might interest you

Malleus Maleficarum: the book that helped unleash the witch hunt in the Inquisition