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The title canon Episcopi (also capitulum Episcopi) is conventionally given to a certain passage found in medieval canon law. The text possibly originates in an early 10th-century penitential, recorded by Regino of Prüm; it was included in Gratian's authoritative Corpus juris canonici of c. 1140 (Decretum Gratiani, causa 26, quaestio 5, canon 12) and as such became part of canon law during the High Middle Ages.
It is an important source on folk belief and surviving pagan customs in Francia on the eve of the formation of the Holy Roman Empire. The folk beliefs described in the text reflect the residue of pre-Christian beliefs about one century after the Carolingian Empire had been Christianized. Its condemnation of the belief in witchcraft was an important argument used by the opponents of the witch trials during the 16th century, such as Johann Weyer.
The conventional title "canon Episcopi" is based on the text's incipit, and was current from at least the 17th century.
It is perhaps first attested in the Libri de synodalibus causis et disciplinis ecclesiasticis composed by Regino of Prüm around 906.It was included in Burchard of Worms' Decretum (compiled between 1008 and 1012), an early attempt at collecting all of canon law.
The text was adopted in the Decretum of Ivo of Chartres and eventually in Gratian's authoritative Corpus juris canonici of c. 1140 (causa 26, quaestio 5, canon 12). Because it was included in Gratian's compilation, the text was treated as canon law for the remaining part of the High Middle Ages, until Roman Catholic views on European witchcraft began to change dramatically in the late medieval period.The text of Gratian is not the same as the one used by Burchard, and the distinctive features of the Corrector text were thus not transmitted to later times.
The text of Regino of Prüm was edited in Patrologia Latina, volume 132; the Decretum of Burchard of Worms in volume 140. The text of Burchard's Corrector has been separately edited by Wasserschleben (1851),and again by Schmitz (1898).
The incipit of Gratian's text, which gave rise to the title of "canon Episcopi" reads:
This condemnation the "pernicious art of divination and magic" (magicam being changed by Gratian from maleficam ) is justified by a reference to Titus 3:10-11 on heresy. Then follows a description of the errors of "certain wicked women" (quaedam sceleratae mulieres), who deceived by Satan believe themselves to join the train of the pagan goddess Diana (to which Burchardus added: vel cum Herodiade "or with Herodias") during the hours of the night, and to cover great distances within a multitude of women riding on beasts, and during certain nights to be called to the service of their mistress. Those holding such beliefs are then condemned by the text in no uncertain terms ("that they would only perish in their perfidy without drawing others with them"), deploring the great number of people who "relapse into pagan error" by holding such beliefs. Because of this, the text instructs that all priests should teach at every possible instant that such beliefs are phantasms inspired by an evil spirit.
The following paragraph presents an account of the means by which Satan takes possession of the minds of these women by appearing to them in numerous forms, and how once he holds captive their minds, deludes them by means of dreams (transformat se in diversarum personarum species atque similitudines, et mentem quam captivam tenet in somnis deludens, modo laeta, modo tristia, modo cognitas, modo incognitas personas, ostendens, per devia quaeque deducit).
The text emphasizes that the heretic belief is to hold that these transformations occur in the body, while they are in reality dream visions inspired in the mind (Et cum solus spiritus hoc patitur, infidelis mens haec non in animo, sed in corpore evenire opinatur). The text proposes that it is perfectly normal to have nightly visions in which one sees things that are never seen while awake, but that it is a great stupidity to believe that the events experienced in the dream vision have taken place in the body. Examples are adduced, of Ezechiel having his prophetic visions in spirit, not in body, of the Apocalypse of John which was seen in spirit, not in body, and of Paul of Tarsus, who describes the events at Damascus as a vision, not as a bodily encounter.
The text concludes by repeating that it should be publicly preached that all those holding such beliefs have lost their faith, believing not in God but in the devil, and whosoever believes that it is possible to transform themselves into a different kind of creature, is far more wavering (in his faith) than an infidel (procul dubio infidelis; to which Burchard added: "and worse than a pagan", et pagano deterior).
The Canon Episcopi has received a great deal of attention from historians of the witch craze period as early documentation of the Catholic church's theological position on the question of witchcraft.
The position taken by the author is that these "rides of Diana" did not actually exist, that they are deceptions, dreams or phantasms. It is the belief in the reality of such deceptions which is considered a heresy worthy of excommunication.
The position here is that the devil is real, creating delusions in the mind, but that the delusions do not have bodily reality. This skeptical treatment of magic sharply contrasts with the sanction of witch trials by the church in later centuries, beginning with the bull Summis desiderantes affectibus (1484). [ page needed ]
The proponents of these trials were aware of this problem, and the authors of the Malleus Maleficarum , a witch-hunter's manual from 1487 that played a key role in the witch craze, were forced to argue for a reinterpretation of the Canon Episcopi in order to reconcile their beliefs that witchcraft was both real and effective with those expressed in the Canon. [ page needed ]Their detractors in the 16th and 17th century also made reference to the canon, e.g. Johann Weyer in his De praestigiis daemonum (1563).
Burchard of Worms added the New Testament figure Herodias to his copy of the document in one passage, and the Teutonic goddess Holda in another.[ dubious ] In the 12th century, Hugues de Saint-Victor quoted the Canon Episcopi as reading "Diana Minerva".[ citation needed ] Later collections included the names "Benzozia" and "Bizazia". In modern times, the text's description of "witches sabbaths" dedicated to Diana has given rise to a hypothesis concerning a supposed medieval witch religion, a theory mostly associated with Margaret Murray, and later adopted by Gerald Gardner and his followers. Burchard's mention of Herodias is relevant especially the theories of Charles Godfrey Leland presented in Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches (1899), and taken up in the Stregheria of Raven Grimassi.
The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as the Hammer of Witches, is the best known treatise on witchcraft. It was written by the Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1486. It endorses extermination of witches and for this purpose develops a detailed legal and theological theory. It has been described as the compendium of literature in demonology of the 15th century. The top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology.
Aradia is one of the principal figures in the American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland's 1899 work Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches, which he believed to be a genuine religious text used by a group of pagan witches in Tuscany, a claim that has subsequently been disputed by other folklorists and historians. In Leland's Gospel, Aradia is portrayed as a messiah who was sent to Earth in order to teach the oppressed peasants how to perform witchcraft to use against the Roman Catholic Church and the upper classes.
Regino of Prüm or of Prum was a Benedictine monk, who served as abbot of Prüm (892–99) and later of Saint Martin's at Trier, and chronicler, whose Chronicon is an important source for late Carolingian history.
Heinrich Kramer, also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institor, was a German churchman and inquisitor. With his widely distributed book Malleus Maleficarum (1487), which describes witchcraft and endorses detailed processes for the extermination of witches, he was instrumental in establishing the period of witch trials in the early modern period.
Decretals are letters of a pope that formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church.
Reginald Scot was an Englishman and Member of Parliament, the author of The Discoverie of Witchcraft, which was published in 1584. It was written against the belief in witches, to show that witchcraft did not exist. Part of its content exposes how feats of magic were done, and the book is often deemed the first textbook on conjuring.
The Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordia discordantium canonum or Concordantia discordantium canonum or simply as the Decretum, is a collection of canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici. It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until the Decretals, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX in 1234, obtained legal force.
Burchard of Worms was the bishop of the Imperial City of Worms, in the Holy Roman Empire. He was the author of a canon law collection of twenty books known as the Decretum, Decretum Burchardi, or Decretorum libri viginti.
The Corpus Juris Canonici is a collection of significant sources of the canon law of the Catholic Church that was applicable to the Latin Church. It was replaced by the 1917 Code of Canon Law which went into effect in 1918. The 1917 Code was later replaced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the codification of canon law currently in effect for the Latin Church. In 1990, Eastern Catholic canon law was codified in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which is currently in effect for the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Belief in and practice of witchcraft in Europe can be traced to classical antiquity and has continuous history during the Middle Ages, culminating in the Early Modern witch hunts and giving rise to the fairy tale and popular culture "witch" stock character of modern times, as well as to the concept of the "modern witch" in Wicca and related movements of contemporary witchcraft.
Collections of ancient canons contain collected bodies of canon law that originated in various documents, such as papal and synodal decisions, and that can be designated by the generic term of canons.
Martinus de Arles y Andosilla (1451?–1521) was doctor of theology and canon in Pamplona and archdeacon of Aibar, author of a tractatus de superstitionibus, contra maleficia seu sortilegia quae hodie vigent in orbe terrarum (1515), a work on demonology in the context of the Early Modern witch-hunts. Martin believed witches (sorginak) to be particularly numerous among the population of Navarra, and the Basques of the Pyrenees in general. He recommends stern measures of an inquisition against this. His depiction of witchcraft is, however, based on sources predating the Malleus maleficarum, arguing against its simplistic depiction of witchcraft. The work was printed in Paris in 1517, and in Rome in 1559.
Prosecutions for the crime of witchcraft reached a highpoint from 1580 to 1630 during the Counter-Reformation and the European wars of religion, when an estimated 50,000 people were burned at the stake, of whom roughly 80% were women, and most often over the age of 40.
Love magic is the use of magic to conjure sexual passion or romantic love. Love magic is a branch of traditional magical practice, and a long-time trope in literature and art, that can be implemented in a variety of ways, such as by written spells, dolls, charms, amulets, potions, or rituals. It is attested to on cuneiform tablets from the ancient Near East, in ancient Egyptian texts, in the Greco-Roman world, the Middle Ages, and up to the present day. It is used in the story of Heracles and Deianeira and in Gaetano Donizetti's 1832 opera The Elixir of Love, Richard Wagner's 1865 opera Tristan and Isolde, and Manuel de Falla's 1915 ballet El amor brujo.
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Nicholas Jacquier (also Nicolaus Jaquerius, Nicolas Jacquier, Nicholas Jaquier, was a French Dominican and Inquisitor. He became known as demonologist and proponent of witch-hunting.
The legal history of the Catholic Church is the history of the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, much later than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions. The history of Latin canon law can be divided into four periods: the jus antiquum, the jus novum, the jus novissimum and the Code of Canon Law. In relation to the Code, history can be divided into the jus vetus and the jus novum. Eastern canon law developed separately.
Strixology is a genre of writing about the reality and dangers of witches, their origins, character and power; often in the context of theology or of demonology.
The Witches is a chiaroscuro woodcut by German Renaissance artist Hans Baldung. This woodcut depicts witches preparing to travel to a Witches' Sabbath by using flying ointment. This is the first woodcut produced by Baldung after leaving the studio of his mentor, Albrecht Dürer, and one of the first Renaissance images to depict both witches that fly and a Witches' Sabbath.
The Synod of Worms of May 868 was a council of the church in East Francia, convoked by King Louis the German at the request of Pope Nicholas I. It condemned the Synod of Constantinople of 867 as heretical and condemned Great Moravia for rebelling against Louis.