The Malleus Maleficarum Summary

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In 1487, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger published the Malleus Maleficarum (MM), the all-purpose guide to identifying, interrogating, and convicting “witches” in Europe. Coming in at 726 pages in the translated online PDF edition (which can be found at, the MM gives an in-depth look at what is now a misogynistic view of women, as they were thought to be the “weaker sex” and therefore more susceptible to the devil (Lucifer, the Catholic-Christian accepted ruler of Hell, specifically) and his practices. It cites several ways on how to tell if a woman was practicing witchcraft or if she was just simply a witch. The book had three basic sections: “The first part treating of the three necessary concomitants of witchcraft,…show more content…
The idea that only women could be witches, as stated in Dahl’s book, is taken directly from the MM, “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable…much such reasons could be brought forward, but to the understanding it is sufficiently clear that it is no matter for wonder that there are more women than men found infected with the heresy of witchcraft” (Kramer 114). Men, on the other hand, were “preserved…from so great a crime” (Kramer 114). The MM continues on by saying exactly what Dahl wrote after “all witches are women” (Dahl 9), that “in the New Testament…the whole sin of Eve (who is the reason, given in the MM, that women are “evil” and more susceptible to the devil) [is] taken away by the benediction of Mary. Therefore preachers should always say as much praise of [women] as possible” (Kramer 101). It would seem that Kramer and Sprenger, like Dahl, do not “wish to speak badly about women” (Dahl 9) because not every woman is a witch or should be treated as such. The only reason that Kramer and Sprenger condemned women is because they were not men. Dahl was following this ideology, as that is what society has taken to be as “fact” about

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