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Mysticism and Diabolic Witchcraft

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History 200 14 December 2010


Mysticism and Diabolic Witchcraft: Female Susceptibility of the Italian Renaissance During the Italian Renaissance, Christianity experienced a heavy resurgence in mysticism. Mysticism was a type of devout faith or spirituality found throughout the convents in Italy and primarily exercised by Christian Italian women (Sheldrake 93-95). These women underwent vivid connections with God which involved an awakening of consciousness and awareness for God’s divine will. In extreme cases, women fell into a transcendental union with God in which they experienced ultimate illumination. In these rare occurrences, women could encounter faith miracles such as stigmatas, ecstasies, or the re-living of Christ’s Passion. During this period, Italy also experienced another intense spiritual movement labeled diabolic witchcraft (Tavuzzi 150). In the case of diabolic witchcraft, again experienced primarily by females, women underwent a concentrated level of worship and contractual relations with Satan. Historical examples show these women developing sexual relations with Satan, as well as maleficia or harmful magic (Tavuzzi 153). The women involved in diabolic witchcraft were pursued by the Church’s legal arm, the Dominican Inquisitors. They were put on trial, accused of heresy, and either imprisoned or killed. Similarly, the Dominican Inquisitors investigated women who were involved in mysticism and upon the examinations performed by the inquisitors; these mystics were authenticated and praised by the Church. Sometimes theses mystics were even beatified or canonized by the Church. Ironically, these two types of spirituality co-existed and paralleled each other. Despite their similarities, however, these two groups of women were subjected to two completely different destinies.

Christian mystics and diabolic witches co-existed with each other in the Renaissance


period of Italy as two representation of the intense rise in spirituality. Both groups caused problems for the Church since they exhibited similar levels of supernatural spirituality that were completely foreign to 15th century Christianity. The Dominican Inquisitors, on the other hand, represented the legal arm of the Church dedicated to investigating these experiences. The inquisitors were educated in Scholastic universities where they were familiarized with ancient philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato. They were also taught the procedure of synthesis and used it to defend and analyze Christian doctrine. When the inquisitors were called to decipher the mysterious veil of spirituality that encompassed mysticism and witchcraft, they utilized their newly acquired intellectual background. Under the guidance of the Church, they glorified the mystics and chastised the diabolic witches. By analyzing Heinrich Kramer’s treatise, Malleus Maleficarum, and the Scholastic integration of classical philosophy, it is apparent that the Dominican inquisitors of the Church believed women to be, “more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit” (Malleus Maleficarum, Part I, Question VI). The origin, manifestation, and ramifications of this thought process, as it relates to mysticism and diabolic witchcraft, can be witnessed through a case study of the Italian Renaissance. To identify from where this resurgence of classical knowledge came, it is essential to start from the beginning. The following summary is a brief history that draws from Richard Tarnas’ work, The Passion of the Western Mind. Around 1000 A.D. Europe was predominately Christian, which allowed the Church to reign supreme in matters of spiritual and intellectual authority (Tarnas 173). Throughout the early Middle Ages, intellectual progress was stunted because European scholars were confined to little original material. Medieval Europe had been cut off [from] its access to the original Greek texts” and “scholars were rare resources for culture scarce,


and original classical texts largely unavailable” (Tarnas 171-172). Along with this intellectual confinement, Europe had to adhere to the desires of the Church, and unfortunately, “the absolute primacy of Christian faith over secular concerns discouraged any extensive involvement with classical thought and culture” (Tarnas 172). However, the Medieval Age, which was filled with feudalism and the “world-denying philosophy forged by Augustine,” was on the brink of a renowned revelation of thought (Tarnas 176). Due to the Crusades and Western expansion in the age-old Eastern cultures, Europe established contacts within the Islamic and Byzantine Empires, which allowed for the influx of classical works by Aristotle, Plato, and many other ancient Greek and Roman philosophers which were infused into European culture (Tarnas 175). In the 12th and 13th centuries the primitive medieval culture “began giving way to a fundamentally different approach to existence, as the Scholastics…recapitulated the movement from Plato to Aristotle in their own intellectual evolution”(Tarnas 176). These works were deciphered, translated, and introduced into European thought by many Christian scholars. Under the guidance of the Church, this new way of thought flooded the universities of Europe. The integration of these classical works into Europe saw the Church, “[begin] to sponsor a tradition of scholarship and education of extraordinary breadth, rigor, and profundity” (Tarnas 175). One scholar in particular, who was heavily responsible for this early development of thought, was Peter Abelard (Tarnas 177). In, Sic et Non, Abelard proposed the idea of the plurality of truth. This sparked debate throughout Europe and caused the dilution of secular and classical thought with Christian dogma (Tarnas 177). This process of synthesis developed the distinction between faith and reason. Christian scholars were able to use the logic and reason provided by the ancient scholars to examine the ancient documents of Christianity, which included works by Church Fathers, writings of the Saints, and finally


Scripture. This separation is more precisely stated by Anselm, an early Church scholar, in his Prosolgium, “It seems to me a case of negligence if, after becoming firm in our faith, we do not strive to understand what we believe” (Proslogium). Ultimately, this separation between theology and faith took the name of Scholasticism and became the predominant authority throughout the universities of Europe. Scholasticism was based off the use of reason to integrate a thesis and an antithesis into a synthesis, or a collaboration of arguments. Along with this reasoning, the Scholastic education included seven primary liberal arts, which included the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy)(Tarnas 175). By the 12th century, “this same educational concept became the basis for the development of universities throughout Europe” (Tarnas 175). The Church and the universities finally had rediscovered a new philosophy that was “concordant with the new tendencies of rationalism… growing in the medieval West – and were attracted to many Church intellectuals, men whose reasoning powers had been developed to uncommon acuity by their long Scholastic education” (Tarnas 176). The Scholastic educational concept thoroughly impacted both the secular and religious institutions in Europe and, “the arrival of the Aristotelian texts in Europe thus found a distinctly receptive audience” (Tarnas 176). One of the most important ancient philosophers that affected European thought was Aristotle. His works titled Metaphysics, Physics, and De Anima were all very influential in the universities of Europe (Tarnas 175). In a broad sense, his main influence came from his discourses on scientific knowledge, moral philosophy, logical discourse, and human intelligence (Tarnas 176). However, on a deeper level, it is apparent that his works included his philosophy on misogyny (Witt). To cite Cynthia Freeland’s catalogue, “Aristotle says that “the courage of a man lies in commanding, a woman's lies in obeying,” and that “matter yearns for form, as the female


for the male and the ugly for the beautiful” and “a woman is perhaps an inferior being” (Freeland 145). Aristotle’s conviction of misogyny was also part of the educational process within the universities and by no stretch of the imagination coupled his other philosophical teachings that were present within these schools. This Aristotelian conviction greatly influenced those who studied at the universities, in particular the inquisitors of the Church. One of these inquisitors was Heinrich Kramer. Heinrich Kramer was a Dominican Inquisitor from Germany who studied and taught at universities throughout Europe, such as the University of Cologne, Venezia, and Bologna (Herzig 365-367). In 1479, he was named a master of theology and identified as a Dominican Inquisitor by Church in Rome (Herzig 364). He is most noted for publishing two influential works about witchcraft and female spirituality, titled, Sancte Romane ecclesie fidei defensionis clippeum adversus waldensium seu pikardorum heresim (A Shield to Defend the Holy Roman Church against the Heresy of the Pikarts or Waldensians) and the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Malefactresses)(Herzig 364-365). One of the most popular works about witchcraft, the Malleus Maleficarum, drew from Kramer’s experiences as an inquisitor, but also from his educational background in Scholasticism and the Aristotelian conviction. Most relevant to this argument, Part I, Question VI of the Malleus discusses the gender issue of witchcraft, in which Kramer’s Aristotelian driven misogyny is apparent throughout. For example, Kramer says, “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!” (Malleus Maleficarum). Kramer furthers his argument that witchcraft is generally a crime of women by discussing the spiritual susceptibility of women. Kramer states,

“Others again have propounded other reasons why there are more superstitious women found than men. And the first is, that they are more credulous; and since the chief aim of the devil is to corrupt faith, therefore he rather attacks them. He that is quick to believe is light-minded, and shall be diminished. The second reason is, that women are naturally


more impressionable, and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit; and that when they use this quality well they are very good, but when they use it ill they are very evil” (Malleus Maleficarum). In this excerpt, Kramer says that women are primarily involved with witchcraft simply because they are more susceptible to Satan and any influence of a disembodied spirit. This argument not only fueled the inquisitorial duties of Kramer, but also his fellow inquisitors throughout Europe (Tavuzzi 161). It is historically accepted by many scholars that Kramer’s Malleus was the engaging and catalyzing force behind the European witch-hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries (Herzig 27). Upon the publication and widespread production of the Malleus in 1487, the Church and its inquisitorial arm called for a massive hunt for anyone that embodied the heretical beliefs of witchcraft (Malleus Maleficarum). Two inquisitors that attended Scholastic universities and were influenced heavily by Kramer’ Malleus were Giovanni Domenico and Domenico Pirri. Giovanni lived in the mid-15th century in northern Italy and studied at the University of Turin. He later became a vicious and highly regarded inquisitor primarily in the northern Italian province of Mantua (Tavuzzi 156). Domenico Pirri lived in the late-15th and early 16th century in the Italian city of Brescia. He initially studied at the convent of San Domenico in Bologna and then later moved on to attend the University of Bologna, where he graduated as a master of theology (Tavuzzi 182). After his time at the University, he was appointed the Inquisitor of Bologna, a position that he held until 1490. In


1490, he was promoted to the Inquisitor of Mantua. These two men both attended Scholastic universities that taught Aristotle’s philosophy and covered the complicated doctrine of Christian theology. Like all other students at European universities, Giovanni and Domenico where taught logic and reason in order to defend their faith. They studied Christian theology and explored their spirituality; most importantly however, Giovanni and Domencio became engaged with the misogynistic theory of female susceptibility presented in the Malleus (Tavuzzi 198). Through the lens of Scholasticism, they were taught the ideas that, “women were less rational and more dominated by their emotions then men” (Tavuzzi 198). They were taught to adhere to the strict theology of the Church, which furthered their ability to discern matters of faith and spirituality. Like other inquisitors, these men used their deep knowledge of Christian theology to defend the Church and to identify anything that was heretical. Coupled with their knowledge of Christian theology and their various experiences with spirituality, the misogynistic background of Giovanni and Domenico also played a major role in shaping their discretionary compass. They identified with the concept that women were more vulnerable to spiritual influence and they used it to discern between two of the most prominent groups of women at the time. As Kramer stated, “when they [women] use this quality well they are very good, but when they use it ill they are very evil” (Malleus Maleficarum). Giovanni and Domenico sought out those women who deviated into areas of immense spiritual evil or spiritual good, witches and mystics accordingly. While they approved and praised the latter and extinguished the former, either way they were given authority from Rome to decide the fate of who should die and who should bask in eternal glory as a symbol of the Church. Domenico Pirri was an extremely zealous inquisitor and conducted many witch trials throughout Mantua, Italy. In 1507, he put two women from Volta on trial. They were then


eventually led to being burnt at the stake (Tavuzzi 184). These women were convicted of witchcraft and were said to have shown highly heretical beliefs that differed from Christian theology. One year later, he conducted another prominent inquisition of a woman from Mantua, however, against his will, she was not sentenced to a burning. According to Pirri, this woman had “participated at the sabbat, renounced Christian faith, taken the devil as her lord, profaned the Eucharist, and performed many malefica” (Marcianese). In a letter dated 7 April 1508, Pirri expressed his bitterness and disgust for the trial’s aftermath (Marcianese,). This letter represents the adamant desire of Pirri for convicted witches to be killed. Since Pirri was considered a master of theology and spirituality, he was also a prominent figure involved in the examination of mystical experiences. In 1497, Pirri took part in the examination of a mystic named Stefana Quinzani. She had supposedly experienced a stigmata and an ecstasy in which she had relived Christ’s Passion (Tavuzzi 185). Pirri was responsible for authenticating these experiences and declaring them miracles that represented theology, or as the Church would say, miracles of faith. Ironically, the witches in 1507 and 1508, as well as Stefana Quinzani, all had supernatural experiences. However, the former were subjected to death and prison, while Stefana was praised for her unexplainable mystical encounters (Tavuzzi 185). Another comparison between Christian mystics and diabolic witches can be drawn from Giovanni Domenico’s trial of a witch named Giovanna and the faith experiences of the famous Catherine of Siena. Giovanni Domenico was a popular Dominican Inquisitor who used a list of points in order to interrogate women accused of witchcraft. Similar to the accusations proposed by Domenico Pirri, Giovanni’s list, which was based in the Malleus, included all the basic components of diabolic witchcraft: participation in a sect, repudiation of Christianity, a pact with the devil, sexual congress with the devil, abuse of the sacraments, and the performance of magic


or malefica (Tavuzzi 159 and Malleus Maleficarum). In particular, Giovanni used this list in his interrogation of the accused witch named Giovanna. In his first three interrogations of Giovanna, he simply asked her questions about her involvement in each of the proposed pieces of the list. Each time, she denied the charges and claimed that she had nothing to do with witchcraft (Tavuzzi 160). Nevertheless, in his final three interrogations Pirri introduced torture and then followed with similar questioning. Eventually, she admitted to repudiating Christianity and participating in malefica. On 27 February 1470 she was sentenced to death for her heretical beliefs and actions (Tavuzzi 160). Ultimately, Giovanna was directly convicted by Giovanni on the basis that she was a “heretic and guilty of innumerable crimes” (Tavuzzi 161). After the trial, Giovanni was recorded saying that in order to extradite the entire truth, the use of torture is necessary (Tavuzzi 160). Similar to the interrogations of diabolic witches administered by Domenico Pirri, the combination of repudiating Christianity and participating in supernatural experiences were grounds for witchcraft, heresy, and death. Catherine of Siena was a Christian mystic in the Italian Renaissance whose life was full of devotion, spirituality, and asceticism (King 85). Currently, she is regarded as one of the holiest women of Christianity and is one of the few female Doctors of the Church. However, during her life, she was surrounded by mystery, doubt, and the supernatural. At an early age, she had already begun to experience the deepest levels of mysticism through visions, ecstasies, her stigmata, and her “mystical marriage with Christ”(King 85). In her book, Dialogo, which details her mystical experiences, she describes her stigmata, “I saw the crucified Lord coming down to me in a great light…Then from the marks of His most sacred wounds I saw five blood-red rays coming down upon me” (di Benincasa). This type of extreme and supernatural spirituality is precisely that which Kramer refers to in the Malleus. In Kramer’s eyes, Catherine is an example of how a woman can


overcome her susceptibly to evil spirituality by becoming devoted to the spirituality of Christianity. Like the witches, Catherine also faced intense scrutiny. Because of her claim to be in marital union with God and her proclamation of spirituality that was uncommon for the time, Catherine was questioned for heresy (King 89). Unlike the diabolic witches, Catherine was trying to propagate Christianity. After being examined by the Church inquisitors, Catherine’s experiences were deemed miracles of faith. The Scholastically educated, Aristotelian, misogynistic, and Christian inquisitors seemed to favor her supernatural encounters over those of the diabolic witchcraft. Eventually, Catherine of Siena became the patron saint of Italy, Doctor of the Church, and one of the most important figures in Christian spirituality. The mystics and diabolic witches of the Italian Renaissance shared a unique and illuminated sense of spirituality. Despite the fact that each group pursued a different direction of religious devotion, these two spiritual groups paralleled and complemented each other. More so in their deviance from normality, these women represented two groups of spirituality on opposite ends of the spectrum. Mystics devoted themselves to God, the Father of everything good, while witches worshiped Satan, the symbol of everything evil. Mystics propagated holy virginity and chastity and witches involved themselves in sexual contracts with the Devil. Lastly, and most importantly, mystics were a symbol for the ultimate spirituality of Christian faith, while witches were symbols for everything heretical. The characteristics of each group, including their processes of worship, rituals, and faith, correlate each other in certain aspects, as well. According to the points laid out in the Malleus Maleficarum, the core tenants of diabolic witchcraft included the worship of Satan, a contractual relationship with Satan, an observed day of worship called the sabbat, psychological sexual relationship with Satan, and malefica or supernatural magic (Malleus Maleficarum). Some instances show that diabolic witches believed in the possibility of nocturnal


flight and the marital union with Satan, as well. The concepts of mysticism included the worship of God, a contractual relationship as a nun, an observed day of worship called the Sabbath, belief in magical powers of faith, the acts of pure spiritual enlightenment, and the he magical powers of faith associated with the Christian sacraments and the spiritual visions of prayer (Sheldrake 76 and 94-98). The acts of spiritual enlightenment include ecstasies or sexual experiences with God, stigmatas, or visions. There is no denying that evil encompassed witchcraft in many forms and that mysticism represented the ultimate calling to Christian spirituality, however, could these women have simply both been subjects of a male dominated thought process? Were these spiritual experiences profound works of the supernatural, or were they simply manifestations of the Aristotelian idea that women were more susceptible to the disembodied spirits of the time? To answer these questions, it is essential to return to the life of Heinrich Kramer. Much is known about his life as a malevolent inquisitor who wrote and spoke on behalf of the Christian Church, however, as pointed out by Tamar Herzig’s article, Witches, Saints, and Heretics, the mystery behind Kramer’s life after the publication of the Malleus has been relatively unexplored (Herzig 30). After the publication of the Malleus, Kramer remained a high inquisitor for the Church and continued his work primarily in Germany (Herzig 30). However, as exposed by Herzig’s work and a study by Gabriella Zarri titled, Le sante vive: Profezie di corte e devozione femminile tra ’400 e ’500, it becomes clear that Kramer, similar to his successors, also worked with Italian Dominican mystics. Two of these women, Stefana Quinzani and Lucia Brocadelli, were known for the intense mystical experiences, such as stigmatas and visionary encounters with God (Zarri and Tavuzzi 185). In reading Kramer’s Malleus, however, it appears that Kramer had a complete disgust for women in general, “…a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil of nature…” (Malleus Maleficarum).


Unusually, Kramer praised and even authenticated a number of Dominican mystics, among them were Quinzani and Brocadelli (Zarri and Herzig 31). Obviously, Kramer was a prudent defender of the Church, so in his eyes, the Dominican mystics were symbols of everything pure within Christianity. Nonetheless, there must be other reasons as to why Kramer and other inquisitors alike were able to morally cope with extinguishing and persecuting women of witchcraft while they were also propagating the beauty of mystic spirituality. Two reasons arise as to why this was possible and why it continually manifested throughout the pre-Reformation period in Europe. First is the idea that the monastic orders such as the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Benedictines, were all in competition for spiritual superiority (Herzig 37). This dates back to the time of Catherine of Siena and her mysterious stigmata, which was heavily disputed by the Franciscans (King and Herzig 38). Since each order wanted to promote their prowess in spirituality, disputes erupted as to what experiences were real and which experiences should be attributed to each order, originating with the argument over Catherine’s experiences. During the revival of mysticism, the Dominicans, however, possessed a great wealth of spiritual property (Herzig 38). The Dominican mystics such as Catherine of Siena, Quinzani, Brocadelli, and many others represented a unique level of spirituality that was admired throughout Christendom (King 85-89 and Herzig 39). The Dominican Inquisitors, in an attempt to promote their order, made the most of their Dominican mystics by outwardly authenticating their supernatural experiences. The Dominican Inquisitors continually and thoroughly validated the mystery that surrounded each of the mystical experiences in order to quiet their opposing monastic orders. This excerpt from an inquisitorial document shows Kramer’s validation of Brocadelli’s mystical experiences, “ [A]sked by the venerable Reverend and religious Father, the Doctor of Sacred Theology, Magister Brother Heinrich Institoris of the Order of Preachers and Inquisitor of heretical

depravity of the province of Germania superior . . .25 whether it [wa]s true that the Venerable Sister Lucia bore the stigmata on her members. . . . They all declared


unanimously that they had seen Sister Lucia of Narni . . . having, and bearing the scars, or wounds, called stigmata, on both her hands and on her two feet” (Instrumentum publicum). Furthermore, the Dominican Inquisitors were able to illuminate the mystics by defeating their adversary and counterpart, the diabolic witches. The examples of Kramer and Pirri, highlight the idea that the Inquisitors promoted the mystics in order enhance Christianity and the Dominican Order. In turn, they also denounced the witches as heretical to doctrine of Christianity. The final argument as to how this revelation of spiritual deviation evolved is based in the development of the classical philosophy of gender, particularly in the Malleus Maleficarum. Throughout the Malleus, Kramer references many classical scholars, using their stories and philosophies to defend his idea of female inferiority and susceptibility (Malleus Maleficarum). To name a few, Kramer cites Cicero, Seneca, Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. To further his stance that witchcraft is the ultimate heresy and completely contradictory to Christianity, he cites many Bible passages, saints, and Christian writers, such as Psalms, Corinthians, Genesis, St. Dominic, St. Matthew, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome. By using a plethora of classical Greek and Roman philosophy, coupled with selections from Christian theology, Kramer develops a theory of misogyny and female susceptibility. Two excerpts from the Malleus of particular importance are: “And indeed, just as through the first defect in their intelligence that are more prone to abjure the faith; so through their second defect of inordinate affections and passions they search for, brood over, and inflict various vengeances, either by witchcraft, or by some other means” and, “women are naturally more impressionable, and more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied


spirit” (Malleus Maleficarum). Kramer directly applied his Malleus as a treatise against witchcraft and as to why witchcraft manifested primarily within women. However, as his work with mysticism shows, Kramer indirectly used these beliefs to defend the plausibility of mystical supernatural experiences, as well. He specifically identifies that women are more susceptible to spiritual influence and that according to their susceptibility they have the ability to pursue it in a good, Christian fashion or within the evil of witchcraft. Either way, Kramer states that women are as equally enveloped with Christianity as they are by the powers of Satan (Malleus Maleficarum). Kramer’s mission, as exemplified by his rank as a high Inquisitor and the popularity of his Malleus, was to cleanse Christianity by extinguishing the heretical deviants of witchcraft and by eternally proliferating the lives of the Dominican mystics. Ultimately, he did so by appealing to the people of Europe in an ingenious fashion. He lauded over the mystics as symbols of purity engaging other women to take up their cause (Clippeum). He also appealed to male clergy, inquisitors, and lay people of the Church by describing that evil female nature is intended to corrupt men. For example, Kramer cites Blessed Bernard’s sermon, “And if women behave thus to each other, how much more will they do so to men?”(Malleus Maleficarum). In another call to take up arms against the heresy of witchcraft, Kramer says, “If one should arise as an open heretic, let them be cast out and put to silence; if they are a violent enemy, let all good men flee from them” (Malleus Maleficarum). Kramer’s view on women, primarily mystics and witches, was further spread throughout Europe by the popularity of the Malleus (Herzig 27-29). Almost every inquisitor after 1486, had read the Malleus, and from this malicious treatise, most of the inquisitors found a Scholastically driven synthesis that provided them with the framework to engage in their witch hunts (Tavuzzi 150-180 and Herzig 363).

The thought process of the 15th century Italian culture, which was derived from classical


philosophy and the Scholastic method, provided a breeding ground for extraordinary discrimination, spirituality, and violence. This period also shows how the influence of classical Greek and Roman works drove a wedge between Christianity by separating faith from theology. This wedge was powered by the Scholastic universities that adapted the Aristotelian conviction of moral philosophy, human intellect, scientific knowledge, and misogyny (Witt). Some of the greatest Christian scholars of the time studied under this umbrella of Scholasticism and Aristotelian philosophy, including the Christian inquisitors who were responsible for authenticating mysticism and abolishing diabolic witchcraft. The most important inquisitor of the time was the Dominican friar, named Heinrich Kramer. His treatise, Malleus Maleficarum, defined witchcraft in the 15th century and furthermore catalyzed witch hunts throughout Europe. Using his knowledge of classical philosophy and his Scholastic education, Kramer portrayed women as morally, intellectually, and spiritually susceptible. He used this theory to attack women accused of witchcraft and declare diabolic witchcraft as severely heretical. His idea of female susceptibility was also used to acknowledge the supernatural encounters of mystics, the spiritual counterpart to diabolic witches. Using this method, mysticism was authenticated by the same ideas that killed thousands of women accused of witchcraft. Ultimately, the Malleus’s popularity spread Kramer’s ideas to the minds of many European inquisitors. Inquisitors, such as Domenico Pirri and Giovanni Domenico, were students of classical philosophy, Scholasticism, and the ideas of Heinrich Kramer. Like other inquisitors, they used the Malleus as a hammer to combat witchcraft as well as, a torch to illuminate mysticism. Despite the parallelism between the two groups, witches and mystics experienced completely separate fates. Witches were subjected to death and imprisonment while mystics symbolized the beauty, purity, and spirituality that can “only be


found among contemporary Catholics, notably those affiliated with his own religious order” (Camerarius 95-96). A direct quote from Kramer’s Clippeum again states this presumed superiority of Christianity, “bear witness to us that our Catholic faith is the true faith, and that the Holy Roman Church is the mother of the faith, and should be followed in all matters pertaining to salvation and good moral” (Clippeum). This case study of the relationship between Dominican Inquisitors, Christian mystics, and diabolic witches portrays the effects of gender discrimination in 15th century Europe. Unusually, this misogynistic discrimination had both positive effects on mystics, as they became empowered by their spirituality, and extremely negative effects on the women accused of diabolic witchcraft. The intense spirituality of diabolic witches, unfortunately, represented the downside of female susceptibility. By the power of the Church’s inquisitorial arm, thousands of these women were sentenced to execution. Therefore, Kramer ‘s integration of classical misogyny and ancient philosophy into the Malleus was an integral piece in the development and manifestation of Italian mysticism and diabolic witchcraft. Consequently, Kramer’s synthesis cultivated an idea of female susceptibility that provided a framework for the Dominican inquisitors’ discernment of spirituality.

Works Cited


di Benincasa, Catherine. Dialogo. Siena: 1378. Print Freeland, Cynthia, 1994. "Nourishing Speculation: A Feminist Reading of Aristotelian Science" in Engendering Origins: Critical Feminist Readings in Plato and Aristotle ed. By Bat-Ami Bar On (State University of New York Press, Albany). King, Ursula. Christian Mystics. New York: Simon & Schuster Editions, 1998. Print Kramer, Heinrich. Instrumentum publicum Pt. I, cc. 333–334 Kramer, Heinrich. Sancte Romane eccl[es]ie fidei defensionis clippeum, 1486. cc. 21–22 Lovelace, Wicasta and Christie Rice, transcribers. "The Malleus Maleficarum." Windhaven Network, Inc. 2001. (9 March 2009). Marcianese, Giacomo. Narratione della nascità, vita e morte della B. Lucia da Narni dell’ordine di San Domenico. Ferrara:1640. 107-11. Sheldrake, Philip. A Brief History of Spirituality. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Print. St. Anselm: Proslogium; Monologium: An Appendix In Behalf Of The Fool By Gaunilo; And Cur Deus Homo. Norton Deane, translator. Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Company,1903, reprinted 1926) Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991. Print. Tavuzzi, Michael. Renaissance Inquisitors. 134. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2007. Print. Witt, Charlotte, "Feminist History of Philosophy", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Zarri, G., 1990 Le santé vive, profezie di corte e devozione femminile tra ‘400 e ‘500, Turin.


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...62118 0/nm 1/n1 2/nm 3/nm 4/nm 5/nm 6/nm 7/nm 8/nm 9/nm 1990s 0th/pt 1st/p 1th/tc 2nd/p 2th/tc 3rd/p 3th/tc 4th/pt 5th/pt 6th/pt 7th/pt 8th/pt 9th/pt 0s/pt a A AA AAA Aachen/M aardvark/SM Aaren/M Aarhus/M Aarika/M Aaron/M AB aback abacus/SM abaft Abagael/M Abagail/M abalone/SM abandoner/M abandon/LGDRS abandonment/SM abase/LGDSR abasement/S abaser/M abashed/UY abashment/MS abash/SDLG abate/DSRLG abated/U abatement/MS abater/M abattoir/SM Abba/M Abbe/M abbé/S abbess/SM Abbey/M abbey/MS Abbie/M Abbi/M Abbot/M abbot/MS Abbott/M abbr abbrev abbreviated/UA abbreviates/A abbreviate/XDSNG abbreviating/A abbreviation/M Abbye/M Abby/M ABC/M Abdel/M abdicate/NGDSX abdication/M abdomen/SM abdominal/YS abduct/DGS abduction/SM abductor/SM Abdul/M ab/DY abeam Abelard/M Abel/M Abelson/M Abe/M Aberdeen/M Abernathy/M aberrant/YS aberrational aberration/SM abet/S abetted abetting abettor/SM Abeu/M abeyance/MS abeyant Abey/M abhorred abhorrence/MS abhorrent/Y abhorrer/M abhorring abhor/S abidance/MS abide/JGSR abider/M abiding/Y Abidjan/M Abie/M Abigael/M Abigail/M Abigale/M Abilene/M ability/IMES abjection/MS abjectness/SM abject/SGPDY abjuration/SM abjuratory abjurer/M abjure/ZGSRD ablate/VGNSDX ablation/M ablative/SY ablaze abler/E ables/E ablest able/U abloom ablution/MS Ab/M ABM/S abnegate/NGSDX abnegation/M Abner/M abnormality/SM abnormal/SY ab......

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