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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 October 5.docx

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Jane Abray

October 5, 2010: HIS389H1F Malleus Maleficarum: antecedents, authors, content, significance -1486 sent to press, took several months to print - First comprehensive and systematic demonological treatment: its arguments will flow with centuries; it is sensational, only one translated into English Antecedents: 1. Church pronouncements - Chain of official church announcements, church documents that condemn witchcraft as heresy - Paris Faculty of Theology pronounced witchcraft as heresy 2. Aquinas - Passages from Thomas Aquinas (discussed last lecture) - Wrote amongst many other things: relationship of devil with humanity, devil tempted humans done under Gods control, we can get rid of Devil but nevertheless he is so powerful, by Gods permission, that he can undermine sacraments (baptism etc.) - Referred to frequently in maleus – to prove truth of own assertions 3. Fifteenth century texts from the Alps - From Alpian region- modern Switzerland, France come together up in mountains th - Text written in early 15 century, circle at Council of Basil which brings many theologians together – good opportunity for those worried about witchcraft as heresy – good place to share ideas and get others interested - The trials (1420s-1470s) held in these regions are also important - Scholars were aware that witch trials existed in the mountains - Hugh Trevor-Roper: “thin mountain air” encouraged fantastic delusions which encouraged witch hunting which crept down into more heavily populated areas – has been quietly abandoned (this notion of lack of oxygen) 4. Fifteenth century trials from the Alps - -Martine Ostorero, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani and Kathrin Utz Tremp, eds., L’imaginaire du sabbat, Cahiers lausannois d’histoire médiévale, 26 (1999)  Translating: “Mind set of Sabbath” about the crystallization of the devils Sabbath- published in 1999 - -Ostorero and Tremp, eds., Le Registre Ac29 des Archives cantonales vaudoises (1438-1528), Cahiers lausannois d’histoire médiévale, 41 (2007) translated into French – with Latin (original) on one side 5 different texts: 1. Hans Fründ, report on events in 1428 in the Valais- describes witchhunt in Valais (Switzerland)- German language report by chronicler 2. Johan Nider, Formicarius, circulating from c. 1436 – translated to “the anti” – circle around 1435 3. Errores Gaziorum, circulating in the 1440s “Errors of the Broomstick Riders” – true even in the early days of the stereotype of woman flying on brooms – beginning pages missing, datable to 1440s 4. Claude Tholosan, Ut magorum et maleficiorum errors, written c. 1436, re: trials over the previous ten years- by a lay judge (Claude) title translated: in order that the errors of the magicians and sorcerers be made evident – sums up 100 trials in previous decade 5. Martin Le Franc, Le Champion des Dames, finished by 1442- “The Ladies Champion” – romance, has a lot of fantastical events and stuck in it is a treatise on witchcraft – underline that this is a work of fiction and yet it presents ideas about the witches sabath – reminder that witches and demons are not just confined to bulls and things like maleus but they creep into popular culture! And popular culture creeps into witchcraft- - Swiss researchers argue that the 5 texts that they are presenting here show a very tight link between inquisitorial repression of waldensians and the beginning of the witch trials. So one one hand you have inquisitors going after Waldensian heretics and witches (of both sexes) being tried for maleficium – In the alps you have “real heretics” and those accused of supernatural crimes! – this coming together of real heretics and imaginary witches is the cauldron that produces the “Witches Sabot” - By late 1420s researchers say that it is hard to see if people are being accused of being Waldensian or witches- this is because there is one inquisitor Ulrich de Torrente – up in the Alps – pursuit of heresy turns into pursuit of witchcraft!  Waldensians  Ulrich de Torrenté 1420-1445 o He is a Dominican, so are authors of maleus – do these authors make it all up? – No o Authors gone through local archives do not find much to support Neder but the accounts by Frund and Claude are more reputable due to trials and charges actually made! o 5 different texts are significant for blurring in heresy of witchcraft – all early descriptions of early witches Sabbath o TWO TREATISTES BY LAY PEOPLE: FRUN AND CLAUDE! o Hans Frund: lay chronicler begins by telling us that we can believe that both men and woman have learned evil things from the Devil, the devil can sense when someone has doubts about faith thus he knows who to target. The devil steps in to tempt, offer riches and power to harm others, get revenge. The Devil operates with human pride, avarice, jealousy, manipulates many emotions to get people to accept him as their ruler! His victims go on to poison victims – repeated in treatise after treatise.  Frund’s interesting touches: he talks about witches sneaking into people’s wine cellars to drink the good stuff- and then they ruin all else so it is undrinkable  Talks about how people can turn into werewolves, how people can become invisible via spells  Talks about how witches can reverse spells or can move spell from one person to another  Witches Congregate in schools not sabots according to Frund. The Devil preaches  In 1420s he already alleges that witches attending schools eat babies! He says courts have burned witches, Democratic idea- witches would elect a leader  Writes in journal language  Reports what he hears about witches in his locality – 100 to 200 numbers are exaggerated! o Claude Tholosan- lay judge, French language court, in the old French province of Dauphiné, university educated, educated as a lawyer, when wrote Treatise in 1436 he sums up experience trying witches – He describes a sect of men and woman, not arguing that witches are female, says they are seduced by Devil and busy trying to convert others, the Devil tells them who to go after, Tholosan believes the devil targets the week in faith, and those who are too interested in gluttony and sexual misconduct. In addition people seeking revenge on enemies are stressed by Tholosan as targets, witches renounce baptism and make a big sacrifice to devil (like first born child)  After pact with devil the witches practice all infamies – witch crimes fall to witch judges- He is interest in powers of lay courts (Claude) he had attitude Innocent VIII complained about – those lay people who wanted to take control – “What about the money” – Claude is concerned about money and who gets to levy fines and confiscate money – it was a real theme – thus Claude said jurisdiction involved money and that they wanted to take money  Issues of heresy belong to Church courts while maleficia are civil offenses that can be tried by lay – Claude argues they had jurisdiction over such issues – important to confiscate property which goes to local jurisdictions  Like Fraud, no sign of feminization of witchcraft- uses both genders  Dry legal stuff o Nider- MOST INFLUENTIAL ON AUTHORS OF MALEUS  Formicarius in print: three times before 1500, twice in 1517, 1519, 1602, 1692 o Dominican, follower of strict observance of St. Dominic – more sever Dominican- perform order: starting point for general reform of church and general reform of Christian society o Reformation of his order, church and society are Nider’s big concerns o In terms of theology he is very much a follower of Aquinas and does not show a lot of interest in systematic theology – real focus for Nider is on PREACHING- most of the material from Nider are collections of sermons o Full of late medieval preaching- vivid stories to make a point! – Supposed to make people “remember” o First text from Alps that moved into print- still 24 manuscript copies of it = means it circulated widely because that is a lot to be left over! – early printing industry was worried about o 1517, 1519, 1602, 1692 – printing times – but no complete translation in any modern European language o Read about miracles! – 5 chapters about true miracles and those that are just astonishing and amazing but not miraculous o Main point: even now in own day (15 century) God continued to show himself through miracles- scripture is not the only means o God shows self to faithful by visible signs, miracles o Nider tells how to distinguish true miracle from God and that that is preternatural or supernatural of diabolic energy  “De Maleficis et eorum depcionibus,” chapter V of the Formicarius (the anti)- on witches and their deceptions – this chapter is the most important – Chapter 5 was excerpted and circulated as a treatise in its own right! IT was heavily excepted into popular sermons of Geiler von Kaysersberg. It was often published alongside with maleus, as a kind of appendix o Miracle talked about: “night flight”- with the assistance of the devil, a witch could fly on a broom, travel to meet other witches… Nider says this never happened! It is all a delusion, he recounts a story told by a teacher = all devilish illusion explained via story of woman in bowl who did nothing o Canon episcopi: “the bishops cannon” – eleventh century ruling that German woman who claimed they could go flying with Goddess Diana were delusional- this canon was ceased by skeptics of flying- if they cannot fly how could they participate in sabots- it’s all delusions = Nider accepts the canon, maleus authors says not much about it ******* Big deviations o Nider also accepts: Witchcraft is very real, even if the idea to fly is a delusion. He made a list of 7 ways witches can harm humans (1) stir up lust, (2) attack livestock etc. (3) stir up jealous (4) mess up reproduction (5) harm man in genitals (6) deprive man of life reason and property o Formicarius is written in dialogue between pupil and theologian (pupil is excited at Chapter V) – theologian advises knowledge would be dangerous but does draw examples from experiences of inquisitors and lay judges – fellow clergy who are inquisitors and lay men  Dom Benedictus – spoken about by theologian in Formicarius – prior he had been a necromancy – he is one informant – believe him because he has done witchcraft?!  Mysterious Lay judge Peter from Berin – Nider refers to him only as “Peter” – hard to tell which one Nider talks about – provide stories about baby eating, stealing neighbors harvest, warns witches about to be captured can paralyze guards… Peter provides Nider with a list of ways you could protect yourself from supernatural attack (cross self if you feel threatened, pray, honor the rites at ceremonies in Church, if you have anything to do with law carry out your duty!, reflect on the passion of Christ)  Like Peter, Nider argues that the devil can only attack week in faith, not strong in faith – blame victim in a sense!  All three authors, Fraud, Claude and Nider assert witchcraft is real, draw heavily on witchcraft from real trials (lay trials, inquisitorial trials), the maleus will lean heavily on these trials, maleus will also draw on inquisitor from northern Italy: Inquisitor of Como – late 15 century  Trial evidence is supposed to convince you!  All of these texts were prior to maleus, people wrote about demonological themes, reality of witchcraft, talk about maleificia, act on ideas, people are being arrested, condemned and executed = then later in 1486 the maleus is created which draws many strands into systematic treatise  First question difficult to answer: Who wrote it? Authors - The controversy: the book itself names two authors: Sprenger and Kramer th - 19 century scholars treated the malleus primarily written by Sprenger, was it because Phd (Sprenger) vs. Kramer - Most recent editor of text is Christopher Mackay, he thought Sprenger had to do with the first part (theological) and Kramer had more to do with second (how it was done) and third parts (how to we conduct trials) - Mackay’s evidence is quite convincing - Kramer and Sprenger were collectively responsible for malleus - Jacob Sprenger according to Christopher Mackay, “more interested in promoting piety among those loyal to the church than exterminating its opponents,” Malleus maleficarum, vol. 1, p. 80 Basel Cologne o He was a company man, clerical administrator, held managerial position in University of Cologne o More interested in promoting piety that burning witches o Born in Basel in later 1430s- enters Dominican order in late teens o Took doctorate of theology o Spent most of life around Cologne, taught theology at University, helped run Dominican house o Interested in reform projects, reform of his order and Church in general + reformical laity, early encourages of rosary, named in bull read but no evidence that he conducted a trial! - Heinrich Kramer, aka Institoris (Latin) Séléstat/Schlettstadt Friedrich Reiser, Strasbourg, 1458 o Different kind of Dominican, constantly fought with fellows and even Sprenger,
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