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Malleus Maleficarum
Heinrich Kramer
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Malleus Maleficarum

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,874 ratings  ·  225 reviews
James Sprenger (also Jacob, Jakob, Jacobus, 1436/1438 – 6 December 1495) was a German priest. He was born in Rheinfelden. He was named in the 1484 papal bull Summis desiderantes of Pope Innocent VIII. Popular opinion makes Sprenger the co-author of the Malleus Maleficarum. All editions after 1519 named him as Heinrich Kramer's collaborator.

It has been claimed that Sprenge
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1485)
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Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
I’ve cobbled together some thoughts on the Malleus Maleficarum – literally the Hammerer of the Witches - , one of the most infamous texts ever written on the subject of witchcraft. What follows is entirely impressionistic rather than a detailed exposition or a review as such; so please do bear that in mind. Besides, I’m not quite sure that a review of a primary text like this is in any way meaningful.

I’m assuming, though, that most of the people who glance at this article have never actually r
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Want to get into the filthy minds of 15th century puritanical men who fear women? read this!
Oct 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1974-2002
"Why is your son dressed like a pilgrim?"

"Oh, it's a phase he's going through."

"Why is he piling up all that wood?"

"Oh, it's a...a phase. We're pretty certain it's a phase. You know kids, ha-ha."

"Ha-ha. Why is he tying your youngest, his brother, to a pole? And...a gasoline can? Matches??! Is that a phase, too?"

"No. Witches. You can't suffer them to live."

"I suppose you're right. You can't."

"No. You really can't."

"For a second there..."

"Yeah, I know. But, no. Witch. Well, warlock, to get technic
Janne Järvinen
The Malleus is often advertized as a "witch hunter's handbook", but it really isn't. It's not about hunting anything. It's not even really about what to do with witches after they're caught. It's really all about the tedious little details of the trial process.

First of all, the introduction is much crazier than the actual book. The translator was a raving lunatic. The first chapters of the actual text make Kramer seem quite a smart fellow, you know, just a victim of the ignorance of his times.

Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
my only thought is... how come men throughout history have hated women so much?... like really. why?
Paul Mamani
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uff if there is a book about superstitions, brutality and misogyny is the Malleus Malleficarum.
The authors were master minds of persecution, torture and murders.
Innocent women and men perished by thousands in hands of fanatics and bloody ruthless leaders of the Catholic Church in Europe and America in the past centuries.

Its 335 pages are full of hate, darkness and sectarianism which is very characteristic of the Church.

The victims have fallen one by one like my Ancestors in the most brutal and
This is the most evil text ever written, a title I had previously reserved for Mien Kampf. It's entire inception was evil, everything in the book itself was evil and may the authors of it be punished for all eternity ...more
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I can say the Malleus Maleficarum is an interesting book, I cannot say it is a highly entertaining one. In it, Heinrich Institoris defends the existence of witches, which was subject of debate at the end of the 15th century, when this was published, and also details how they work, how they can be found, and how they can be interrogated, tortured and tried. In this sense, it is mostly a very procedural book, and quite dull.

It does however provide an interesting look at the mind of a rel
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Such a quotable book tbh. So glad this was preserved for posterity. It's essentially some priest nattering on about how women like cats and sex too much, and how they steal men's dicks and pride and dignity and how to deal with them in court. It's very funny.

"There is no doubt that certain witches can do marvellous things with regard to male organs" (I'm sure they can. *Wiggles eyebrows suggestively*)

A priest, talking about how a man's ex-girlfriend stole his penis: "I saw nothing on the young m
An immensely disturbing read for more reasons that I can't explain in a remotely brief sense. (It is a litany of horror blaming women for basically everything wrong in society since the "first ancestors," Adam and Eve; Eve, of course, also being the origin of the first sin and fall). Mackay's translation is excellent, and the extensive footnotes explaining context, content, and source materials were invaluable in trying to make sense of this text.

This is a history the church has been strugglin
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in history
The Malleus is a historical document therefore reflects the views of some people at a specific time.

According The Da Vinci Code, The Catholic Inquisition published "The Malleus Maleficarum" instructing the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy ‘the freethinking women'. The truth is, although Kramer and Sprenger were Catholic monks, their views were not the views of the Church or the University. In fact, there is evidence that Kramer was expelled by the local Bishop during a witch trial in 1
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
5* for it's historical significance.
Definitely the most misoginystic and ludicrous text I've ever read.
According to a 15th century guide to detecting witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.:-D
They were also killing new born babies and using their body fat so they can fly on broomsticks.

I don't know should I laugh or should I cry knowing that a thousands of innocents were tortured and killed because of this damn book! - and
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled across a copy of this in a bookshop for £1.50. The copy had some lovely illustrations in it.

The book itself is pretty crazy, just how many women were tortured and killed because of this book beggars belief. I think it was Pope Innocent who commissioned this book and whilst reading it you can really get a sense of their fear of women.

A very dark and disturbing book which is a must read as it is part of our history... it was a few years ago I read it so I may have to do a re-read.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children under 7.
Oh, come on, sing it with me. (to the tune of Animaniacs.)

We're Kramer
And Sprenger.
We're here to point a finger..........
Edwin Stratton-Mackay
This is the go-to guidebook for identifying witches. If you suspect sorcery, the Malleus Maleficarum is your one-stop-shop. Invaluable.
Edward Taylor
The Malleus Maleficarum by Henricus Institoris is a deeply involved historical read about the hunting of witches, demons, and those who have made dark pacts with creatures that live on the outside of the bowers of mankind's land. When reading it, you can almost feel the animosity and seething hatred that people had (or still have) for all things that they don't understand and want to believe that this is a fantasy story but alas it is a religious textbook used to slaughter, steal, and raze the l ...more
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: learning
***Please note I chose note to rate this, as a primary text. It's writings are incredibly valuable in telling the story of tens of thousands of wine , and just in understanding the danger of fear and ignorance. I recommend it to anyone studying or interested in witchcraft trials.

This is a text written to guide in the identification and prosecution of witches in Europe. It's very dark and misogynistic reading. I was fascinated at it's existence, especially that it's one of many.

A "bad reputation
✨Bean's Books✨
LMFAO No, but seriously, how the hell does someone come up with such whacked-out ideas and believe them to be reality? I seriously would like to know what drugs they were on when they wrote this. Now I understand some of the dumbest superstitions about witches that we still see pop up in movies and TV today (like how witches can't cry). Good grief.
What really makes me sad, is the fact that this book was used as the textbook for How to Kill Strong Women (especially midwives) 101. The witch huntin
Jul 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, my-reviews
Like its predecessor ‘De Secretis Mulierum’, which provided the blueprint for medieval misogyny, ‘The Malleus Maleficarum’ is a difficult book to review and rate. As fascinating as it was, it was impossible to read it without being acutely aware of the fact that it led both directly and indirectly to the deaths of thousands of innocent women. Despite the inconsistencies, the uneven logic, and the way that Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger tied themselves in knots to justify their spurious argum ...more
Sep 02, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Insanity and hysteria are what come to mind as one reads this historical document on witchcraft written by two friars, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger (though his contribution is questionable), in the 1400s. The basic premise is that witches are real, witchcraft is real and demons are real. People who do not believe that those concepts actually exist are heretical or support witchcraft. Anyone convicted of witchcraft (usually females) can be tortured in order to gain admittance of crimes and ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
it's difficult to rate this because it's a primary source. I read the Summers edition, the translation is apparently ok, the translator's notes are simply bonkers and best avoided. as for the text itself: it's both nauseating and dull and you probably shouldn't bother to read it unless you have a specific interest in fifteenth century European ecclesiastical jurisprudence, in which case you should definitely read it. ...more
Pamela Conley
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a college class on the history of gender and sexuality. The only thing that surprised me about this book was the reaction I got from random people as I walked through life carrying this book around working to get it read on a double paced summer class schedule. I didn't know it existed until I took that class but I did know about the persecution of women who became to powerful or crossed someone powerful in a capacity they didn't like. This book is a clear codification of th ...more
Alyce Caswell
As a historical text, this is quite interesting in that it reveals the views of the day - and even provides an idea of how magistrates ascertained guilt. But the contents are so very archaic and anti-women that it's not pleasant reading. I suppose for the time it was well argued, but the few sources (many unnamed!) used make the arguments seem quite weak to a modern reader. Then again, the sources are better than in, say, a much older Livy text. ...more
Extreme, ignorant, crazy, evil, power.

5 words to describe this book


Hard to believe this things happened.
Many lives wasted in this incidents.
Morgan Sanchez
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
This excellent and studious English translation of the work is positively indispensable for the serious medieval or mythological scholar. Cambridge University Press has done an incredible job piecing together a polarizing yet important historical work on the history of demonology and witchcraft.

Physically, the book is exceedingly heavy for its size, with weighted gloss paper, so it is most likely a homebound edition for the desk rather than light, digestible reading on the go. The gloss gives a
Jul 29, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, especially women
What is written is unconscionable, but the impact of reading this has lasted for years. How do I rate that? Historically interesting, a human rights travesty that's hard to wrap your head around, and an important tool to overcome ignorance. What the review below fails to mention is that some studies estimate that up to 2 million women were killed during the European witch hunts thanks largely to this book.

"The Notorious Handbook Once Used to Condemn and Punish "Witches", by Heinrich Kramer and J
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my bedside reading for a few nights. Basically the how's to law/trial guide for Witch Hunting. Unfortunately, it's not quite about witch hunting but more the legal process for finding and trying a witch.

While there's a few bits about witches stealing penises, its largely the pseudo-philosophical musings trying to reconcile Church teachings with torture. It's a bit of a sordid and misogynistic affair--and not to far removed from a Monty Python skit.

Which is of course, a bit tragic.
Hale, Blackstone, and Coke all lay out the essential elements of the law of sortilege and heresy in the old English system (as well as the ultimate remedies) but none of them have much to say about the procedural components, and none of them offer an apology for the doctrine. this text fixes those defects. now we all know how to put on a proper witch trial.
Shannon Ellsworth
I found this to be a very valuable historical book. If you want to understand what was driving people to make the crazy as* choice they made during the Salem Witch Trials and you're curious about the power that the church had over people during that time you need to read this. It was enlightening. ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
"I Mathew Hopkins Witch fiddler General dous use thos book to hunt or those of evil and malus witch who must be put to Lord God's test before she is burnt.This book of learning duth tell me what place to.put the needle and were to finduth the devils true mark.The way to flay skin from those who"
Found in old copy.
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Heinrich Kramer also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institoris, was a German churchman and inquisitor. Born in Sélestat, Alsace, he joined the Dominican Order at an early age and while still a young man was appointed Prior of the Dominican house of his native town.
At some date before 1474 he was appointed Inquisitor for the Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia. His eloquence in the pulpit

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