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Malleus Maleficarum - The Witches' Hammer, part 3

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Question 5 (Why are there suddenly so many witches?)

The increase in witches could be because of: - the celestial bodies

- the inherent wickedness of humans

- the offspring of humans and incubi/succubi

The author cites S. Augustine, who writes that the sin of mankind comes from his own free will, even if someone else suggested it to him.

However, he also says that the celestial bodies must play some role in it. Again, if the stars were not the cause of human actions both good and bad, Astrologers would not so frequently foretell the truth about the result of wars and other human acts: therefore they are in some way a cause.

That said, the stars don't play a huge role. The four humors are mentioned as being especially responsible, since they are actually in a person's physical body.

Wherefore the choleric are wrathful, the sanguine are kindly, the melancholy are envious, and the phlegmatic are slothful. But this is not absolute; for the soul is master of its body, especially when it is helped by Grace. And we see many choleric who are gently, and melancholy who are kindly. Therefore when the virtue of the stars influences the formation and quality of a man's humours, it is agreed that they have some influence over the character, but very distantly: for the virtue of the lower nature has more effect on the quality of the humours than has the virtue of the stars.

God, angels, and devils all can get involved, too, but at the end of the day, a human will do whatever their free will leads them to do. That's what I'm getting from this section.

Question 6 (Bitches be crazy.)

Okay, that's not a question, but it's what the question implies. The author explores in this section why women are more inclined toward evil behaviors. (Oh yeah, we gon' get misogynistic in here. And I'm pretty sure it just gets worse. Let's buckle up for the ride, ladies, I'm sure it's gonna be a fun one.)

Let me just give you this paragraph from the text.

Now the wickedness of women is spoken of in Ecclesiasticus xxv: There is no head above the head of a serpent: and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman. I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than to keep house with a wicked woman. And among much which in that place precedes and follows about a wicked woman, he concludes: All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman. Wherefore S. John Chrysostom says on the text, It is not good to marry (S. Matthew xix): What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature, painted with fair colours! Therefore if it be a sin to divorce her when she ought to be kept, it is indeed a necessary torture; for either we commit adultery by divorcing her, or we must endure daily strife. Cicero in his second book of The Rhetorics says: The many lusts of men lead them into one sin, but the lust of women leads them into all sins; for the root of all woman's vices is avarice. And Seneca says in his Tragedies: A woman either loves or hates; there is no third grade. And the tears of woman are a deception, for they may spring from true grief, or they may be a snare. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil.

Just a quick reminder: This book was written in response to Kramer (the author) being expelled from the diocese for being obsessed with an accused woman's sexual habits.

He quickly mentions that, yeah, some women are good, but the ones that aren't good are straight-up evil. And this is because women are "light-minded" and "naturally more impressionable," which makes it easier for devils to influence them.

Women are "weak" and have "slippery tongues," resulting in women sharing details of magic with other women, which leads more women into witchcraft. "Women are intellectually like children."

But the natural reason is that she is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations. And it should be noted that there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed from a bent rib, that is, a rib of the breast, which is bent as it were in a contrary direction to a man. And since through this defect she is an imperfect animal, she always deceives. For Cato says: When a woman weeps she weaves snares. And again: When a woman weeps, she labours to deceive a man.

So let's recap. Women are stupid, but they're smart enough to be conniving, but they're too weak-willed and trusting to resist devils. Okay. None of that contradicts at all.

I think that might be enough for this post. Come back next week for probably more women-hating nonsense!

Stay safe!

- me

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