iSteve commenter Bitfu writes:
I don’t know what killed second-wave feminism, but the Malleus Maleficarum aka Hammer of Witches is a fascinating backstory.
It was written by a priest–Heinrich Kramer– in the late 1400s, and it was the 2nd best selling book behind only the Bible for over 200 years.
The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy and prescribes inquisitorial practices for secular courts in order to extirpate witches. The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft. At that time, it was typical to burn heretics alive at the stake and the Malleus encouraged the same treatment of witches. The book had a strong influence on culture for several centuries.
The ironies here are that the Malleus relationship with Gutenberg’s press is a damn fine distant mirror of SJW’s on the Internet. Additionally, the Malleus now reads like a guidebook for SJWs. Simply replace witches in the book with non-woke, and voila! You’ll get your SJW recipe for dealing with Thought Criminals going forward. The parallels are eerie.
The Malleus Maleficarum is divided into three sections. The first section is aimed at clergy and tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft, thereby hindering its prosecution. The second lays the foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies. The third section is to assist judges confronting and combating witchcraft, and to aid the inquisitors by removing the burden from them. However, each of these three sections has the prevailing themes of what is witchcraft and who is a witch.
Kramer wrote the Malleus following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop, due to charges of illegal behavior against Kramer himself, and because of Kramer’s obsession with the sexual habits of one of the accused, Helena Scheuberin, which led the other tribunal members to suspend the trial.
It was later used by royal courts during the Renaissance, and contributed to the increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.