Malleus In Culture

The European Witch Hunters’ Manual

Witch Hunting ManualWe came across a nice write-up about the Malleus Maleficarum on by Jone Johnson Lewis. It provides a nice summation of the Malleus Maleficarum, along with extra information to give it some historical context. We very much liked the content and structure of the article, and highly recommend to anyone who, due to course worse or just general curiosity, would like a more detailed summation of the Malleus Maleficarum than what we have provided here on this web site.


The Malleus Maleficarum, written in 1486 – 1487 in Latin, is also known as “The Hammer of Witches,” a translation of the title. Its writing is credited to two German Dominican monks, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. The two were also theology professors. Sprenger’s role is now thought by some scholars to have been largely symbolic rather than active.

The Malleus Maleficarum was not the only document about witchcraft written in the medieval period, but it was the best known of the time, and, because it came so soon after Gutenberg’s printing revolution, was more widely distributed than previous hand-copied manuals. The Malleus Maleficarum represents not the beginning of witch persecutions, but came at a peak point in European witchcraft accusations and executions. It was a foundation for treating witchcraft not as a superstition, but as a dangerous and heretical practice of associating with the Devil, and thus a great danger to society and to the church.


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