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The Malleus Maleficarum

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,313 ratings  ·  144 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 1486)
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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 re
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 Puritan men who fear women? read this!
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It seems absurd that people actually thought that way once upon a time but it is part of history. Maybe some day future generations will think our way absurd too.
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.

Coos Burton
Desde que inicié el libro me pregunto varias cosas. Una de ellas es de qué manera corresponde calificar este libro. ¿Qué califico? ¿La "calidad" del libro? ¿La mentalidad necia de un pueblo ingenuo y crédulo? Por otro lado, ¿lo tomo como ficción, o no ficción? El mismo es contenido histórico porque documenta un suceso muy importante, que es la Inquisición. Pero no se hace desde un punto de vista objetivo, apuntando acontecimientos concretos. Es, en resumidas cuentas, lo que los autores creían qu ...more
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
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
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.

Now, according to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, The Catholic Inquisition published the book instructing the clergy how to locate, torture, and destroy ‘the freethinking women' but readers know how “accurate” Dan Brown’s sources are.

The truth is Kramer and Sprenger's ideas were not widely accepted even during their time. Although they were Catholic monks, their views were not the views of the Chur
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..........
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
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.
Julia Roslyakova
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Виноваты все.
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?
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
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
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: posiadam
Szatan to miał naprawdę przechlapane....
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

Werk des Dominikaners Heinrich Kramer aus dem 15. Jahrhundert zur Legitimation der Hexenverfolgung; Sollte v.a. Kramers inquisitorische Tätigkeit rechtfertigen, nachdem er in Folge einer Untersuchung seiner Arbeit vom Bischof ausgemeindet wurde; Es erschien bis ins 17. Jahrhundert hinein in 29 Auflagen und erreichte (auch durch gefälschte Approbationen) Bedeutung für weltliche Richter. 864 Seiten

Der erste Teil des Buchs ist ein Kommentar
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok

I only read this for some university work and only read what I needed to and I dont plan of reading the whole thing anytime soon.
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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
“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
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