MALLEUS MALEFICARUM or The Witches Hammer, Translated by Reverend Montague Summers, 1951 HC Witchcraft Occult Prosecution with RARE BINDING ERROR Errata
Publisher: The Pushkin Press, London (1951)
In overall excellent condition. The boards and binding are solid and tight, with very light shelf-wear. The pages are crisp and clean, with no interior markings. An unusual binding error occurs within pages 217-232, in which they have been bound UPSIDE DOWN (Errata), making this particular copy very rare.
A unusual early edition of the famous book on the identification and prosecution of those who practice witchcraft. Please see below for more information on this famous work.
The Malleus Maleficarum (commonly rendered into English as "Hammer of [the] Witches"; Der Hexenhammer in German) is a treatise on the prosecution of witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman.
The Malleus Maleficarum asserts that three elements are necessary
for witchcraft: the evil intentions of the witch, the help of the
Devil, and the Permission of God.
The treatise is divided into three sections. The first section is aimed
at clergy and tries to refute critics who deny the reality of
witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second lays the
foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of
witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges
confronting and combating witchcraft, and to aid the inquisitors by
removing the burden from them.
Section I examines the concept of witchcraft theoretically, from the point of view of natural philosophy and theology.Specifically it addresses the question of whether witchcraft is a real
phenomenon or imaginary, perhaps "deluding phantasms of the devil, or
simply the fantasies of overwrought human minds".
The conclusion drawn is that witchcraft must be real because the Devil
is real. Witches entered into a pact with Satan to allow them the power
to perform harmful magical acts, thus establishing an essential link
between witches and the Devil.
Matters of practice and actual cases are discussed, and the powers of witches and their recruitment strategies.It states that it is mostly witches, as opposed to the Devil, who do
the recruiting, by making something go wrong in the life of a
respectable matron that makes her consult the knowledge of a witch, or
by introducing young maidens to tempting young devils.It details how witches cast spells, and remedies that can be taken to
prevent witchcraft, or help those who have been affected by it.
Section III is the legal part of the Malleus Maleficarum
that describes how to prosecute a witch. The arguments are clearly laid
for the lay magistrates prosecuting witches. The section offers a
step-by-step guide to the conduct of a witch trial, from the method of
initiating the process and assembling accusations, to the interrogation
(including torture) of witnesses, and the formal charging of the
accused. Women who did not cry during their trial were automatically believed to be witches.