A Popular History of Witchcraft

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Read Books Design, 2011 - History - 308 pages
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About the author (2011)

Heinrich Kramer ( 1430-1505) also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institoris, was a German churchman and inquisitor. Born in Selestat, Alsace, he joined the Dominican Order at an early age and while still a young man was appointed Prior of the Dominican house of his native town. At some date before 1474 he was appointed Inquisitor for the Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia. His eloquence in the pulpit and tireless activity received recognition at Rome and he was the right-hand man of the Archbishop of Salzburg. By the time of the Bull Summis desiderantes of Pope Innocent VIII in 1484 he was already associated with Jacob Sprenger to make an inquisition for witches and sorcerers. In 1485 he drew up a treatise on witchcraft which was incorporated in the Malleus Maleficarum (literally "The hammer of malefactresses (wrongdoing women - i.e. witches)"). Kramer failed in his attempt to obtain endorsement for this work from the top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne, and they condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology. Kramer's claimed endorsement from four of the professors may have been forged. He was denounced by the Inquisition in 1490. In 1495 he was summoned to Venice to give public lectures, which were very popular. In 1500 he was empowered to proceed against the Waldensians and Picards. He died in Bohemia in 1505.

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