Download Cautio Criminalis, or a Book on Witch Trials by Friedrich Spee, Marcus Hellyer PDF

By Friedrich Spee, Marcus Hellyer

In 1631, on the epicenter of the worst excesses of the eu witch-hunts, Friedrich Spee, a Jesuit priest, released the Cautio Criminalis, a e-book conversing out opposed to the pains that have been sending millions of blameless humans to ugly deaths. Spee, who had himself ministered to girls accused of witchcraft in Germany, had witnessed firsthand the twisted common sense and brutal torture utilized by judges and inquisitors. mixed, those harsh prosecutorial measures led necessarily not just to a confession yet to denunciations of intended accomplices, spreading the circle of torture and execution ever wider.

Driven by means of his priestly cost of enacting Christian charity, or love, Spee sought to reveal the mistaken arguments and techniques utilized by the witch-hunters. His common sense is relentless as he unearths the contradictions inherent of their arguments, exhibiting there isn't any manner for an blameless individual to turn out her innocence. And, he questions, if the condemned witches actually are to blame, how may well the testimony of those servants and allies of devil be trustworthy? Spee’s insistence that suspects, regardless of how heinous the crimes of which they're accused, own definite inalienable rights is a undying reminder for the current day.

The Cautio Criminalis is without doubt one of the most vital and relocating works within the background of witch trials and a revealing documentation of 1 man’s unforeseen humanity in a brutal age. Marcus Hellyer’s available translation from the Latin makes it to be had to English-speaking audiences for the 1st time.

Studies in Early glossy German History

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Additional info for Cautio Criminalis, or a Book on Witch Trials

Sample text

Recently I heard from prominent men that in some places such malevolence has descended that if anyone there dares in the manner of very pious Catholics to say his rosary more diligently or carry it with him, to sprinkle holy water more frequently, to pray in church more diligently, and to display just a little more genuine devotion, he immediately comes under the suspicion of witchcraft. It is as if those people who wish to be more pious then others have succumbed to the crime, or, as others say, as if the devil does not let them rest otherwise.

155 41. What is to be presumed about women who are found dead in prisons. 162 42. When it may be judged in good conscience that a corpse has been strangled by itself or by the devil. 166 43. What should be thought about stigmata; whether they are a valid sign for recognizing witches. 167 Hellyer text 4/14/03 12 12:52 PM Page 12 cautio criminalis 44. Whether much should be made of denunciations of accomplices in the crime of magic. 170 45. Whether denunciations should at least be believed because of the denouncers’ repentance.

The errors are corrected here on the basis of van Oorschot’s notes. My additions (primarily references to the Corpus Juris Civilis) are in square brackets. All translation projects present problems. While the translator tries to be consistent, always using the same English word for a particular Latin word when possible, certain words are difficult. One of the most intractable is reus, which refers to the suspect at every stage of the judicial process, from when the victim is first denounced or otherwise suspected to execution.

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