Summis desiderantes affectibus

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Summis desiderantes affectibus ( Latin for "In our sehnlichsten Wunsch") is the beginning of the text and the title of a papal bull , the so-called witch bull from 1484.


The later author of the witch's hammer , Henricus Institoris , presented a letter he had written to Pope Innocent VIII , who had the bull drawn up in the form of a rescript by his office on December 5, 1484 . As is customary in such cases, the rescript was subject to the reservation that the allegations made by the applicant corresponded to the truth in the absence of the possibility of an appropriate examination of the facts alleged in the submission. Therefore the text of the input written by Institoris was adopted. Innocent was the only Pope to confirm the existence of witchcraft implicitly - in a document that was of very little significance within the church - whereby the bull contradicted valid church doctrine ( Canon episcopi ).

Purpose and content

With the witch bull, Institoris planned to justify and simplify the rather arduous witch hunt until then . The bull gave him the authority to reprimand, detain, and punish suspicious people, but not to burn witches. When Institoris wanted to set up a witch hunt in Innsbruck, he had no success with the bull either; the bishop of Brixen Georg Golser expelled him from the diocese. Thereupon Institoris wrote the Hexenhammer , which he prefixed the papal bull and an expert opinion of the theological faculty of the University of Cologne (which was “simply to be regarded as a forgery”), so that “due to the skilful tactics of the author it presented itself to the public as the Hexenhammer enjoyed the support of the papacy, the emperor and the prestigious theological faculty of the University of Cologne ”.

Summary ( regest ) by Hansen 1901: Pope Innocent VIII authorizes the two inquisitors Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger , who are active in Germany , to take legal action against wizards and witches. He declares the resistance that they have since found in circles of clergy and laypeople in this activity to be unjustified, since these criminals actually belong under the competence of the heretic judges, and instructs the Bishop of Strasbourg to take the obstacles that might oppose the inquisitors by imposing them to eliminate church censorship.

See also


  • Joseph Hansen: Sources and research on the history of the witch madness and the witch hunt in the Middle Ages. Bonn 1901, pp. 24-27, No. 36 (quotable Latin edition)
  • Friedrich Merzbacher : The witch trials in Franconia. 1957 (= series of publications on Bavarian national history. Volume 56); 2nd, extended edition: CH Beck, Munich 1970, ISBN 3-406-01982-X , pp. 24–28 ( Hexenbulle and Hexenhammer ) and more often.
  • Günter Jerouschek and Wolfgang Behringer (eds.): The witch hammer. Malleus maleficarum. dtv, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-423-30780-3 , pp. 101-107 (currently authoritative German translation)
  • Wolfgang Behringer (Hrsg.): Witches and witch trials in Germany. 4th edition Munich 2000, ISBN 3-423-30781-1 , pp. 88–91 (identical text)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Philippe Levillain , Dictionnaire historique de la papauté , Paris 1994
  2. a b Wolfgang Behringer / Günter Jerouschek: The most ominous book in world literature? , in: Heinrich Kramer (Institoris), Der Hexenhammer. Malleus Maleficarum , transl. by Wolfgang Behringer, Günter Jerouschek, Werner Tschacher, Munich 2001, p. 17, cited above. according to Arnold Angenendt , tolerance and violence. Christianity between the Bible and the sword, Münscher 2009, p. 306