Malleus Maleficarum Essay

1607 WordsMar 29, 20157 Pages
Malleus Maleficarum Heinrich Kramer, a Dominican friar, wrote the Malleus Maleficarum in 1486. He believed witches to be “members of a vast conspiracy directed against Christian society that was allowed by God to cause immense physical and spiritual hardship” (Behringer 716). Therefore, Kramer believed the real way to rid witches was through physical eradication. The start of the manuscript came from his experience in witchcraft trials in Upper Germany. Kramer’s views on witchcraft and activities weren’t well received wherever he went, particularly authorities that believed he was merely interfering with the local administration. Annoyed at the opposition, he obtained papal rights for Pope Innocent VIII’s witchcraft prosecutions through…show more content…
Also, all witchcraft stems from carnal lust, a quality insatiable to women. Based upon Augustine and Aquinas, Kramer gives a conventional description of the crime of witchcraft: “witches could not themselves harm anyone through magic, but their abilities derived from a contract with a demon, which in turn was empowered by God” (Behringer 720). Although the premise of the contract is not discussed in detail, there is the explicit pact, which may be the literal signing of a contract and specific subjugation to the devil and the implicit pact, which is carried out whenever magic is practiced. By selling ones soul, one comes under the control of the devil, who is consequently under the control of God. Even though still under God’s ultimate control, allegiance to the devil is very much the opposite of allegiance to God. Since most of the Malleus is composed of unoriginal ideas, it would be important to focus on Kramer’s own ideas. This starts with Kramer’s belief that witchcraft was a real crime and not a spiritual one. It is difficult to fully grasp this concept because it is demons “who conducted supernatural interventions” which made the witch’s crime “her desire to harm” (Behringer 721). Since the witch is not able to induce harm herself but rather through the demon as a middleman of sorts, there is a grey area between real
Open Document