The Malleus Maleficarum of Kramer and Sprenger
Posted: 20 April 2007 01:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Delightful book, delightful cover, delightful title.

The title is often translated as The Hexenhammer. Translation notwithstanding, I am curious about the word Maleficarum. According to the Wikipedia article on the book, it is “the female form of the noun”. Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not specify what noun this is.

What is the English equivalent of maleficarum? I imagine witch, but, then, of what noun is maleficarum the feminine form?

[ Edited: 20 April 2007 01:43 PM by Thews McHeftigan ]
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Posted: 20 April 2007 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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What is the English equivalent of maleficarum?

Latin maleficus is an adjective meaning ‘criminal, evil-doer’. Malefica would be the feminine version and maleficarum is the genitive plural of that ‘of the evil-doers (women)’. It’s from the verb malefacio ‘to do evil, harm; injure’ from malus ‘evil, bad’ and facio ‘to do’.

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Posted: 20 April 2007 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I speculate that tying a woman to a stake and burning her alive is an act of malfeasance. Can anyone confirm this?

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Posted: 20 April 2007 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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jheem’s got it.  I’ll just add that malefica, while formally the feminine of maleficus, has its own entry in the Oxford Latin Dictionary:

malefica ~ae, f. [MALEFICUS] A sorceress, witch.
  tu quidem magna uideris quaedam mihi et alta prorsus ~a APUL. Met. 6.16.

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Posted: 20 April 2007 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I hope I don’t get turned into a newt.

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Posted: 20 April 2007 09:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No, but as this is a gender discussion, you could just be newtered.

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Posted: 21 April 2007 05:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This is true!

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Posted: 21 April 2007 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Yes, I seem to remember from reading Norman Cohen’s Europe’s Inner Demons that the 15th-16th century male was surprisingly prone to the delusion that his virile member had disappeared as the result of a hostile spell, and cases of men accusing female neighbours in court of stealing their penises, or assaulting them in an effort to force them to lift the spell, are quite common in the legal records of the time.

I’ve always wondered why hysteria has traditionally (and etymologically) been considered a female disorder!

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Posted: 21 April 2007 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There is no doubt that certain witches can do marvellous things with regard to male organs, for this agrees with what has been seen and heard by many, and with the general account of what has been known concerning that member through the senses of sight and touch. And as to how this thing is possible, it is to be said that it can be done in two ways, either actually and in fact, as the first arguments have said, or through some prestige or glamour. But when it is performed by witches, it is only a matter of glamour; although it is no illusion in the opinion of the sufferer. For his imagination can really and actually believe that something is not present, since by none of his exterior sense, such as sight or touch, can he perceive that it is present…

And we can illustrate this from certain natural phenomena. For sweet wine appears bitter on the tongue of the fevered, his taste being deceived not by the actual fact, but through his disease…

Again, ...the devil can obstruct [the senses] by imposing some other body of the same colour and appearance, in such a way that some smoothly fashioned body in the colour of flesh is interposed between the sight and touch, and between the true body of the sufferer, so that it seems to him that he can see and feel nothing but a smooth body with its surface interrupted by no genital organ… This evil of the devil creeps in through all the sensual approaches; he gives himself to figures, he adapts himself to colours, he abides in sounds, he lurks in smells, he infuses himself into flavours.

Reads almost like a recipe book. Indeed it was a rocky road—wait, that has nuts in it, make it rum raisin, you hardly notice the fruit ... or better yet a banana split—that led to the modern day sex-change procedures. A veritable parfait of male/female gender conglomeration. So, no, hysteria is no longer a woman’s disease, more of a tutti frutti of neuroses.

[ Edited: 21 April 2007 01:25 PM by foolscap ]
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Posted: 21 April 2007 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Syntinen Laulu - 21 April 2007 08:06 AM

I’ve always wondered why hysteria has traditionally (and etymologically) been considered a female disorder!

Same as lunacy.

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Posted: 21 April 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Compare:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_panic

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/9/16/81843/6555

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Posted: 21 April 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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They’re making a movie with the very phenomenon as the topic. Furthermore, there is a song.

[ Edited: 21 April 2007 03:34 PM by Thews McHeftigan ]
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Posted: 22 April 2007 02:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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foolscap - 21 April 2007 11:26 AM

And as to how this thing is possible, it is to be said that it can be done in two ways, either actually and in fact, as the first arguments have said, or through some prestige or glamour.

Interesting to see “prestige” and “glamour” being used in their old, pejorative senses of “trickery” and “enchantment”.  Those are two words that have certainly come up in the world.

Edited for clarity and to remove quotation error

[ Edited: 22 April 2007 04:25 AM by bayard ]
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