"The Bestselling Demonologist: Heinrich Institoris’s Malleus Maleficarum"

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Assembled hastily in the course of about nine months in 1486, the Malleus was first published by the printing house of Peter Drach in Speyer, without a title page. There is no certain information about the first decades of Institoris/Kramer’s life. Born in Schlettstadt (Séléstat) around 1430, he spent a considerable part of his lifetime on the Italian peninsula. The inquisitor first expressed his concern with diabolic witches, whom he regarded as one of several groups partaking in the devil’s conspiracy to undermine Christendom, in a letter that he addressed to Pope Sixtus IV in 1484. The fiasco at Innsbruck had made it clear to the Alsatian demonologist that papal inquisitors alone were unable to deal with the complexities of pursuing accused witches, because this required the firm support of local secular authorities. The mechanisms of demonic copulation, which forms part of the efforts to prove the reality of demons in the Malleus, are detailed at great length.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science of Demons
Subtitle of host publicationEarly Modern Authors Facing Witchcraft and the Devil
EditorsJan Machielsen
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781138571839
StatePublished - 2020


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