Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Malleus Maleficarum” as Want to Read:
The Malleus Maleficarum
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Malleus Maleficarum

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,408 ratings  ·  151 reviews
For nearly three centuries Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches' Hammer) was the professional manual for witch hunters. This work by two of the most famous Inquisitors of the age is still a document of the forces of that era's beliefs. Under a Bull of Pope Innocent VIII, Kramer and Sprenger exposed the heresy of those who did not believe in witches and set forth the proper ord ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Dover Publications (first published 1485)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Malleus Maleficarum, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Malleus Maleficarum

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,408 ratings  ·  151 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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
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
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!
Janne Järvinen
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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.

Jan 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jun 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
my only thought is... how come men throughout history have hated women so much?... like really. why?
Edwin Stratton-Mackay
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the go-to guidebook for identifying witches. If you suspect sorcery, the Malleus Maleficarum is your one-stop-shop. Invaluable.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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..........
✨The Reading
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Sep 02, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, occultism
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
Pamela Conley
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
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.
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.
Shannon Ellsworth
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Cheryl Lassiter
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy cow, those inquisitors did not like women...this is a fantastic reference book for anyone wanting to learn about the origins of witch hunting. Impeccably researched, and as it appears, authoritatively translated.
Gary Bonn
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Utterly terrifying for two reasons. First, that people can be killed for crimes that simply can't be committed, and secondly, for the immersion into a world where Heaven was literally above our heads, hell beneath our feet and we lived in a world of demons, angels and magic.
Michael Lawrie
Jan 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I have found this book very interesting on multiple levels, but the lesson I took away from it was this: Beware religious books and those without doubt.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read. It's terrifying to contemplate what actually was happening during the witch hunts. It's very important for people to read this work & learn from it.
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Fun reading for those who hate women. The authors of this 14th Century work were Dominican friars who caused considerable anxiety wherever they ventured in their search for witches, or single women.
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for everyone interested in inquisition and witch hunting.

Read more on The Serial Reader Blog
Abigail Anderson
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though the edition of the book I had had many translation and grammatical errors (the book was originally written in Latin), I found this a very useful read. In order to enjoy the book, it must be read from a historical perspective, just as Mein Kampf or another book of that nature.

This book was written by Heinrich Kramer, who was a part of the Inquisition during the witch trials in Europe during the 1450s. The Pope himself endorsed this novel, and both Catholics and protestants used the book,
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Searching Malleus Maleficarum ITALIAN VERSION 1 1 May 21, 2019 05:42AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The History of Witchcraft and Demonology
  • The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe
  • Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft
  • Illustrated Goetia: Sexual Evocation
  • The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology
  • Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts
  • A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, and Pagans
  • The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil
  • The Magician's Companion: A Practical and Encyclopedic Guide to Magical and Religious Symbolism (Llewellyn's High Magick Series)
  • The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe
  • Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath
  • Goetia the Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton, Book 1 Clavicula Salomonis Regis
  • Witch Cult in Western Europe: A Study in Anthropology
  • Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion: An Anthropological Study of the Supernatural
  • A History Of The Crusades 3 Volume Set
  • The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, The Mage — As Delivered By Abraham The Jew Unto His Son Lamech — As A Grimoire of The 15th Century
  • The Secret History of Lucifer: Evil Angel or the Secret of Life Itself?
  • Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom
See similar books…
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
“Besides, since impotency in this act is sometimes due to coldness of nature, or some natural defect, it is asked how it is possible to distinguish whether it is due to witchcraft of not. Hostiensis gives the answer in his Summa (but this must not be publicly preached): When the member is in no way stirred, and can never perform the act of coition, this is a sign of frigidity of nature; but when it is stirred and becomes erect, but yet cannot perform, it is a sign of witchcraft.” 2 likes
“But devils are subservient to certain influences of the stars, because magicians observe the course of certain stars in order to evoke the devils.” 1 likes
More quotes…