The "Malleus Maleficarum" and the Construction of Witchcraft PDF ePub eBook

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The What was witchcraft? Were witches real? How should witches be identified? How should they be judged? Towards the end of the Middle Ages these were serious and important questions - and completely new. Between 1430 and 1500, a number of learned "witch-theorists" attempted to provide the answers to such questions and of these perhaps the most famous are the Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger, the authors of the "Malleus Maleficarum" (The Hammer of Witches). The "Malleus" is widely recognized as an important medieval text and is frequently quoted by authors across a wide range of scholarly disciplines. Yet as a source the "Malleus" presents serious difficulties: it is difficult to understand out of context and cannot be said to be representative of late medieval learned thinking in general. This study of the original text provides students and scholars with an introduction to this controversial work and to the conceptual world of its authors. Like all witch-theorists, Institoris and Sprenger constructed their witch out of a constellation of pre-existing popular beliefs and learned traditions. Therefore, to understand the "Malleus", one must also understand the contemporary and sebsequent debates over the reality and nature of witches. Ultimately, this text argues that although the "Malleus" was a highly idiosyncratic tex, with a view of witches very different form that of competing authors, its arguments were powerfully compelling and therefore remained influential long after alternatives were forgotten. Consequently, although focused on a single text, this study has important implications for 15th-century witchcraft theory. This text should be of value to students and academics of late medieval and early modern history, religion and witchcraft studies.

About Hans Peter Broedel

Hans Peter Broedel is Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Hamilton College, New York

Details Book

Author : Hans Peter Broedel
Publisher : Manchester University Press
Data Published : 13 November 2003
ISBN : 0719064414
EAN : 9780719064418
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 220 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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