Malleus Maleficarum: First Question

Is the claim that users of magic exist so true, that to say the opposite is heresy?

Basically, this question and the succeeding chapter seek to prove the existence of magical forces in the world. First, we are presented with the most common claims to the opposite, namely that only God may change things within the world or in the human body. Through this it must then also be true that demons and witches have no powers.

These claims are then debunked, using Bible verses and writings of such wise old men as Augustine and Ambrosius among others. Unfortunately I’m not that familiar with such works as summa contra gentiles, de civitate Dei and de doctrina christiana as to argue with any of the arguments… and my latin is sketchy at best.

The basic ideas presented to us are as follows: God may want to use the magic as a punishment for the victim and thus allows the evil to happen; the Bible gives examples of God allowing demons to have an influence; and God’s law decrees that witches must die. Isn’t that an irrefutable argument for witches existing if anything, so bad they must die? Ancient laws against fortune telling, scrying and witchcraft also serve as prove to the existence of magic.

We arrive then to the conclusion that the Devil and demons may work in the world by themselves or through magic users if God so allows. These magic users, if caught, must then be punished as decreed in law. We are also reminded that everyone should turn in their neighborhood witch.


I daresay it took me an hour to get an understanding of the chapter. I’m not particularly sure I still understood everything right, and this book is in my first language. Oh my, I do not know how I’ll pull this through. I really thought there’d never be a day when I didn’t understand what I’m reading (with the exception of government forms, no one understands those).

The translator has done an amazing job, it couldn’t have been easy to tackle that particular beast. My Bible must be a bit different of the one used in the book, however, because I checked the verses and some of them ‘weren’t there’, as in the number didn’t match. In one case there was a verse, but the contents didn’t match the subject matter. It is also completely possible this is due to my inferior Bible-skills.

So far I can’t really argue with the book. If we accept the existence of God as true and Bible as truth as well, the arguments against the questions are sound.

Next up, Question Two.

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Reading Journal #1 Malleus Maleficarum

I know, I know, it isn’t on my list! But I have an edit already on the way and it will be there.

So, this is officially the first part of my second ever reading journal. I managed to get a Finnish translation of the book at the Helsinki book fair last year.

malleus_maleficarum_noitavasara

Picture from the publisher’s website.

It was very expensive the first I saw it, but now the publisher was selling them for somewhat cheaper and gave a little gift on the side. A little booklet on recognizing a witch.

The printer/publisher is known for all sort of religious/mystic works. I’ve bought some of their books before and it’s on my list in the form of the Lönnrot reprint already. The originals are for obvious reasons absurdly rare today (having been in print originally in the mid-late 19th century) and the reprints were very much needed.

Were I richer than I am today I’d buy a good few. Alas.

As for Die Hexenhammer, I’ve seen references to it in places many times. It’s been categorized as unreachable in my mental to-read -list for years. Then, two years ago, it was published in Finnish! Oh joy! Obvious must have.

Now, to actually get forth and read it, for sure: the journal.

I haven’t actually started reading yet. I now something of the subject matter and this book will certainly bring new insight. It’s not that long, 350 or so pages plus the appendices.From what I’ve leafed through it I know there are tons of biblical references that will certainly be meaningless to me.

Also there seems to be a lot of Latin. Woe is me for never being able to attend that Latin class in high school. I have the book it would have required (the teacher retired unexpectedly after we’d picked our classes and bought our books) saved. I suck at studying solo if it’s something that requires practice like languages invariably do.

Transformation, Translocation, Weather control… The modern world is so boring, not having any of those! Although they’re then balance out by Castration. Hmm.

I’ll get reading and get back to you on it. With some interesting tidbits and something. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to contain, but I’ll manage.

You can beat me up verbally if I seem to give up on this one.