THE PROCESS OF TRANCE, HEAVENLY AND DIABOLIC APPARITIONS IN JOHANNES NIDER’S FORMICARIUS* Gábor Klaniczay
Johannes Nider (1380-1438) is a frequently mentioned but rarely studied ecclesiastical writer and reformer of the first half of the fifteenth century.1 After entering the Dominican order in 1402 in Colmar, he studied in Cologne then, between 1422 and 1426 at the University of Vienna where he returned at the end of his life as the Dean of the Faculty of Theology.2 He took part in the Council of Constance, and subsequently became a leading representative of the Dominican observance,3 in 1428 he was elected Prior of the Convent of Nuremberg, in 1429 he was sent as a new Prior to reform the
The first version of this study was presented at a conference in Claremont on “Trance” in 1996, organised by Nancy van Deusen. The written version is the result of my work at the Bellagio Study Centre of the Rockefeller Foundation, where I had the opportunity and the privilege to be Fellow for a month in 1996. While at that moment my enquiry upon Johannes Nider and his role in the origins of the concept of the witches’ Sabbath was discussing a fairly unexplored agenda, the seven years during which this study remained unpublished have witnessed a real explosion of studies concerning both Johannes Nider and the fifteenth-century beginnings of witch-hunts. In the course of various workshops, conferences or individual consultations I had the opportunity to discuss my study with my colleagues working on similar themes, and benefit from their comments and criticism. I wish to thank especially the helpful suggestions of Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinsky, Peter Burke, Nancy Caciola, Don Handelman, Sabine von Heusinger, Brian Patrick McGuire, Martine Ostorero, Éva Pócs and Werner Tschacher. I must thank Judith Rasson for helping to revise the English of the text. When, finally, the present publication possibility presented itself, I have tried to update my references and cite the most recent studies, but I decided to leave the general line of my arguments unchanged. While it may have lost some of its novelty, I hope its insights still preserve their validity. This material will be part of my forthcoming book entitled Sainthood and Witchcraft.
On Nider see K. Schieler, Magister Johannes Nider aus dem Orden der Prediger-Brüder. Ein Beitrag zur Kirchengeschichte des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts. (Franz Kirchheim, Mainz, 1885); cf. the entry by Eugen Hillenbrand, Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. Verfasserlaxikon. vol. VI, pp. 971-978; in the past years important new studies have appeared on him: Margit Brand, Studien zu Johannes Niders Deutschen Schriften (Istituto Storico Domenicano, Roma, 1998); the partial edition and commentary of the Formicarius by Catherine Chène, in L’imaginaire du sabbat. Édition critique des textes les plus anciens (1430 c. – 1440 c.), réunis par Martine Ostorero, Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, Kathrin Utz Tremp, en collaboration avec Catherine Chène. Cahiers Lausannois d’histoire médiévale, 26 (Lausanne, 1999), pp. 99-265; Werner Tschacher, Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider von 1437. Studien zu den Anfängen der europäischen Hexenverfolgungen im Spätmittelalter, Aachen, Shaker, 2000; Michael D. Bailey, Battling Demons. Witchcraft Heresy, and Reform in the Late Middle Ages, University Park, Pennsylvania, 2002.
Isnard Wilhelm Frank, "Hausstudium und Universitätsstudium der Wiener Dominikaner bis 1500", Archiv für österreichische Geschichte 127 (1968), pp. 214-215; Paul Uiblein (ed.), Die Akten der Theologischen Fakultät der Universität Wien (1396-1508), (Wien, 1978), vol. I, pp. 115. William Hinnebusch, The History of the Dominican Order (New York, 1973), vol. II, pp. 262-267.
2 convent in Basel. He was one of the influential opinion-leaders of the Council
of Basel, a prolific writer and polemicist, author of several successful treatises. His most popular work, probably inspired by the controversies at the Council of Basel, was the Formicarius finished between 1436 and 1438.4 This vast panorama of contemporary religiosity shows the ant-heap as a model of human society. Nider follows here the bee-hive metaphor of a distant Dominican precursor, Thomas of Cantimpré († 1270) Bonum universale de apibus,5 and he selects his parallel metaphor with the help of the biblical proverb (Ex. 6,6): Vade ad formicas o piger: considera viis eius! Disce sapientiam. The dialogue between Theologus and Piger constitutes a rich collection of exempla.6 It is divided into five books each consisting of 12 chapters: the first deals with “rare” good deeds and examples, the second with “conceivably” good revelations, the third describes “false and misleading revelations”, the fourth the “merits of the perfect ones”, finally the fifth “the tricks of the witches”. We encounter saints and heretics, visions, revelations, possessions and simulations, high virtues and deadly sins, miracle-workers, magicians, sorcerers and witches. The wide range of this spectrum, encompassing good and evil in the same moral and analytical framework represents an important innovation which might account for its great popularity. The Formicarius is preserved in 27 manuscript copies (now in Vienna, Basel, Munich and Wiesbaden)7, three incunabula editions 1470/73, 1480 and 1484, each of about 300 copies (the one published in Cologne, 1480, was reprinted in facsimile, the one of 1484 was published in Augsburg)8 and in the subsequent two centuries there were five further editions (1516 and 1517, Strasbourg; 1519, Paris; 1602, Douai; 1692,
Schieler, Magister Johannes Nider, pp. 372-381; Bailey, Battling Demons, p. 153.
Thomas de Cantimpré, Les exemples du Livre des abeilles, ed. Henri Platelle (Brepols, Turnhout, 1997). On this model cf. Bailey, Battling Demons, p. 98. Beatrice Galbreth, "Nider and the Exemplum - A Study of the Formicarius", Fabula. Zeitschrift für Erzählforschung 6 (1963), pp. 55-72. Thomas Kaeppeli, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi (Romae ad S. Sabinae, 1975), vol. II, pp. 500-515; cf. L’imaginaire du sabbat, pp. 108-120; Tschacher, Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider, pp. 83-107.
8 7 6
Cf. Hain, Repertorium bibliographicum, II, 429-501; the reprint: Johannes Nider, Formicarius. Einführung: Hans Biedermann (Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, Graz, 1971); Tschacher, Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider, pp. 107-117.
3 Helmstedt).9 The impact of Formicarius was strengthened by the fact that some
parts of it related to dreams, visions, apparitions and witchcraft were inserted into his commentary on the Ten Commandments, which was finished about the same time as the Formicarius and became even more widely read than his other work. The Praeceptorium divinae legis i.e. Tractatus de decem praeceptis became a real “bestseller”, it had seventeen printed editions before 1500, six before 1472.10 The importance of Formicarius can be best illustrated by the fact that it was one of the principal sources for the most important demonology handbook of early witchhunts, the Malleus Maleficarum of Heinrich Krämer (Institoris) and Jakob Sprenger.11 This is why modern historiography if it dealt with Nider at all, it was principally interested in his description of early fifteenth century Swiss witchcraft prosecutions.12 There has been much less attention dedicated to the equally colourful parts dealing with late
I have used the Helmstedt edition, which appeared under the changed title De visionibus ac revelationibus; the cited page numbers refer to this volume.
Hain, Repertorium, II, 11780 ff.; John Dahmus, “Medieval German Preaching on the Ten Commandments: A Comparison of Berchtold of Regensburg and Johannes Nider”, Medieval Sermon Studies, 44 (2000), pp. 37-53.
André Schnyder (ed.), Malleus Maleficarum von Heinrich Institoris (alias Kramer), unter mithilfe Jakob Sprengers aufgrund der dämonologischen Tradition zusammengestellt (Göppingen, 1991); Günter Jerouschek (ed.), Malleus Maleficarum, 1487. (Hildesheim, 1992); Malleus Maleficarum, tr. by Montague Summers (London, 1928, repr. Blom, New York, 1970); of its impact cf. Joseph Hansen, Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung um Mittelalter (Bonn, 1901, repr. Olms, Hildesheim, 1963), pp. 360-410; Peter Segl (ed.), Der Hexenhammer. Entstehung und Umfeld des Malleus Maleficarum von 1487. (Böhlau, Köln/Wien, 1988); Walter Stephens, Demon Lovers. Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief, (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago-London, 2002), pp. 32-57. Hansen, Quellen, pp. 88-99; translated and commented in English, together with the Praeceptorium: Henry Charles Lea, Materials toward a History of Witchcraft, ed. Arthur C. Howland (Philadelphia, 1939), vol. I, pp. 259273. Richard Kieckhefer, European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300-1500 (California University Press, Berkeley/Los Angeles, 1976); Arno Borst, "Anfänge des Hexenwahns in den Alpen", in idem, Barbaren, Ketzer und Artisten. Welten des Mittelalters (München, 1988), pp. 262-286.repr. in : Andreas Blauert, Ketzer, Zauberer, Hexen. Die Anfänge der europäischen Hexenverfolgungen (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1990), pp. 43-67. – this is where I quote it from; Carlo Ginzburg, Storia notturna: Una decifrazione del sabba (Einaudi, Torino, 1989); English tr. Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath. tr. by Raymond Rosenthal (Pantheon, New York, 1991), pp. 69-86.. – this is where I quote it from; Andreas Blauert, Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. Ketzer-, Zauberei- und Hexenprozesse des 15. Jahrhunderts (Junius, Hamburg, 1989), pp. 3236, 56-59; most recently Michael Bailey, "The Medieval Concept of the Witches' Sabbath", Exemplaria 8 (1996), pp. 419-439; idem, Battling Demons, pp. 29-54; the critical edition of this famous fifth book is being currently prepared by Catherine Chène in the study centre of Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani at the Université de Lausanne, parts of it are already published in L’imaginaire du sabbat, pp. 99-265.
these stories seem to be quite different from “classical” thirteenth and fourteenth century types of exempla. Claude Brémond . and insisted that they should be examined in the same broad framework. most of Nider’s work gives rather the impression of sensitive journalism. 1982). 252-256. 114. 141-174. this issue is included into Michael Bailey’s recently published enquiry. ed. 1995). 89-93.4 medieval visionary religion. Peter Dinzelbacher. ecstasy. 25.Kathrin Utz Tremp. what is the claim of these stories to “reality”? I have already mentioned that there are scholars who consider the Formicarius yet another collection of exempla and we know that this genre is as much subject to the rules of folklore as to the requirements of truthfulness. (Artemis & Winkler. One of the common features of these two forms of establishing communication with the supernatural is that they both rely upon trance.Jean-Claude Schmitt. et l'affermissement de l'inquisition en Suisse Romande".
Several Swiss historians are currently working now to trace these tracks. Woodbridge. Zur Bewertung mystischer Erfahrungen im 15. 6171.15
. L'exemplum. or religious rapture. In the turmoil of the Basel Council. 1997). we have to stop for a moment.13 In what follows. “The Physiology of Rapture and Female Spirituality“. yet. (Brepols. indicated in the article by Bernard Andenmatten -. so the way Nider deals with this subject in his work deserves special attention. for a critical assessment. pp. Battling Demons. pp. Jahrhundert". Minnis (York Medieval Press – Boydell Press. Naturally it would be very important to trace the factual background of these stories. Cf. pp. Before having a closer look at these “famous cases”. "De l'hérésie à la sorcellerie: l'inquisiteur Ulric de Torrenté OP (vers 1420-1445). I should refer here to the recent and forthcoming studies by Kathrin Utz Tremp. The ambivalent assessment of trance became a crucial constituent in the changing evaluation of mystical visionary sainthood and of witchcraft in the fifteenth century. in the midst of this accelerated supermarket of information. Let me enumerate his principal examples. Zürich. filled with pastoral objectives and rooted in folkloric stereotypes. J. 91-117. Typologie des sources du moyen âge occidental 40. "'Dise ding sint dennoch nit ware zeichen der heiligkeit'. pp. 96. What is the status. in Medieval Theology and the Natural Body. Dyan Elliott. Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik 80 (1990). 66. and they are certainly better placed and more competent to do this work. by Peter Biller and A.Jacques Le Goff . Heilige oder Hexen? Schicksale auffälliger Frauen in Mittelalter und Frühneuzeit. who was interested in the juxtaposition of “heavenly” and “diabolic” visions. Turnhout. I should like to examine a
theme which returns to the original conceptual scheme of Nider. though incontestably it contains some old-type exempla as well.14 Nider himself also repeatedly calls his stories “exempla”.. but unfortunately I have no possibilities for doing this for the moment.
La mort d'une hérésie: l'Eglise et les clercs face aux béguines et aux bégards du Rhin supérieur du XIVe au XVe siècle. pretending that he was the spirit of a deceased local notable. A certain "fraticellus seu semi-beghardus"16 living in the town of Bern acquired considerable notoriety by throwing about stones and pieces of wood in his house at night. Tschacher. making the kind of racket that haunting ghosts would make. Stadt Freiburg”. pp. Nicolaus of Landau. 1978). "On False and Imaginary Visions" (de falsis et illusoriis visionibus). pp. Ernest W. Begarden). Hexen und Rebellen. Sonderband der Freiburger Geschichtsblätter (Freiburg. 1999). Possession and Communal Memory in the Middle Ages”. IX. 56. in civitate bene noti. 75. Kanton Freiburg.. p. As for Beguines in Bern cf. Then he started answering the questions of the curious. the translations are my own). (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.
NIDER'S STORIES In Book Three of Formicarius."17 He even collected money to be able to undertake
Zeitschrift für Schweizerische Kirchengeschichte 86 (1992). asserendo se animam esse cujusdam nuper defuncte persone". cf. Kathrin Utz Tremp’s study to be published in vol. The types of religious behaviour described in them became models for posterity. 202. Kathrin Utz Tremp. ibid. 9-50. which earned unusually great attention in their age and had a tremendous impact. 221248. p. "changed his voice and started moaning and groaning. on Nicolaus of Landau. Waldenser. New York. we find the motif of simulated ecstasy recurring time and again as one of the most deceptive of the phenomena associated with "false prophets". He shut himself up in his room. as if the spirits themselves were answering. Paris. McDonnell. cf. With special emphasis on the Belgian scene (Octagon Books. "De l'hérésie à la sorcellerie”. responsa sciscitantibus dedit. Widergänger. on the activity of Burginus around 1409. p. The Beguines and Beghards in Medieval Culture. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. Nider begins his long list of examples with a story related by a fellow inquisitor. Biographien zu den Waldenserprozessen von Freiburg im Üchtland (1399-1430). III/1. eadem.. Andematten and Utz Tremp. 72-74. pp. “Ist Glaubenssache Frauensache? Zu den Anfängen der Hexenverfolgung in Freiburg (um 1440)”. the episode is analysed by Nancy Caciola. Then he started telling people that they could expect to receive a revelation from some spirit. in The Place of the Dead: Death and
. Freiburger Geschichtsblätter 72 (1995). Catherine Chène managed to identify several of the persons mentioned in the Formicarius. p. ac si anima esset alicujus defuncti. Nider’s stories merit an
examination as specific narratives. “Spirits Seeking Bodies: Death. 288 (unless otherwise stated.
"mutata voce verbis gemebundis.5 Even without this undoubtedly crucial inquiry. though he could not say whether good or evil. Formicarius. 1969). of Helvetia Sacra IX: “Die religiösen Laiengemeinschaften des Mittelalters (Beginen. Jean-Claude Schmitt.
He was burned at the stake by the Inquisition for his "fanatical impudence".. Very likely.
"orationi & contemplationi multum. Berkeley/ Los Angeles. Anthony or Pachomius. they strip naked at their gatherings to pray and take communion (the practice."20 Nider adduces a number of further examples of the group's depravity. 1972)..
Ernst Werner. incubuit. 66-86. 2002). ut videbatur. they find the marvels of contemplation and exquisite ecstasy. which more or less repeat the Inquisition's established topoi in connection with the heresy of the Free Spirit. "Die Nachrichten über die böhmischen 'Adamiten' in religionsgeschichtlicher Sicht" in. is akin to those of the Adamites22. when the cold light of reason fades and man becomes a beast. 38-55. sed heu illusorias.6 pilgrimages to earn indulgences for the got what he deserved. III/5. 1959). III/2. he started preaching a new rule for anchorites. Cambridge. pp. & homo bestiis assimilatur. in Eros in Folklore. His followers watched in awe as. 303. supremam contemplationem & raptum excellentissimum dicunt consistere. p. Norman Cohn. and is meant to show that they have no sense of guilt or deceased. Burginus. lost in prayer and contemplation. Bruce Gordon and Peter marshall (Cambridge University Press. European Folklore Institute. "false revelations. An Enquiry Inspired by the Great Witch-Hunt (Basic Books. Europe’s Inner Demons. 2000). 73-141. my “Orgy Accusations in the Middle Ages”. received from the Evil Spirit who appeared to him in the form of the Angel of Light"). by Mihály Hoppál and Eszter Csonka-Takács (Akadémiai Kiadó. pp. Budapest. New York. 69-73. Lerner. Circumcellionen und Adamiten. who lived in the diocese of Constance. his
activities grew suspicious.
." Formicarius. ed. Zwei Formen Mittelalterlicher Häresie (Akademie. he received revelations ("Alas". ed. Formicarius.
Robert E. Berlin. & in his revelationes. Thea Büttner -. The Heresy of the Free Spirit in the Later Middle Ages (The University of California Press. 338. at pp. cf. the group of Swabian heretics against whom Nider levelled the traditional charge of participation in orgies19 were likewise Beguines and Beghards: "They say that in the heat of male-female copulation. Nider notes. exposed the hoax. p. notes Nider. pp. 1975). and he
Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. a maligno spiritu sub similitudine angeli lucis habere coepit".21 They declare themselves to be beyond the reach of sin.18 Then. his clients started inspecting him. ubi. After a while. another "beghardus seu fraticellus mere secularis". however.Ernst Werner. as if he were St. ratio absorbetur. withdrew from the world to live the life of an ascetic recluse.
"in fervore coitus maris cum femina.
Nider tells of a sixty-year-old virgin that he knew who "lost the first flower of her virtue at their gatherings. Quibus illecti tales. With the help of the Sacred Host. and swallowed it. Nider recounts the story of a thirteen-year old boy as told to him by the Dominican inquisitor. they receive singular revelations with the assistance of the devil. the devil found a dwelling ("nonnulle femine qui cito credunt et leves sunt corde satis putabant adesse Dei spiritum. which they indulge in whenever they can. The boy's ecstasy was disturbing in its aftermath. dicuntur opere Daemonis quasdam revelationes raras habere. prope sexagenaria primo florem perdidit pudicitiae in consilio malignantium tali. and had visions and revelations. nor any carnal desire). Some credulous and lighthearted women believed that God’s spirit appeared there. and never touch them.". Without making the sign of the cross. he plucked the leaf. And--as if the light of these revelations had come from some good spirit--they are seduced by these visions into joining the sect... ubi virgo quaedam (si bene memor sum). they boast that the men regularly sleep with
the virgins of the confraternity."23 Trance of diabolic origin--or at least of questionable origin—could be found even within the walls of Church establishments in the high Middle Ages." Almost immediately.
. Formicarius III/7.. he fell into a trance. 350-351. they did not believe in an uncouth novice making such enormous progress in so short a time. he started speaking Latin and French fluently (he had not known a word of either language). his body immobile and unresponsive to every external stimulus ("rapi eum fratres viderunt et privari omnibus exterioribus sensibus corporis"). in fact. Heinrich Kalteisen. he quoted Biblical passages by heart. ubi dyabolus locum habebat”). "Once when he entered the monastery garden.7 shame. They say that during their love-making and lavish feasts. When he came to. and so rashly swallowed a dreadful devil. The boy was sent to attend the Dominican school at s’-Hertogenbosch. they managed
"Districtum scio. In actibus namque venereis. pp. where... & in epulationibus quas faciunt. The Dominicans looked on all this with the utmost suspicion. velut boni spiritus illuminationibus. multae impersuasibiliter adhaerent. ubi possunt. worked miracles. he saw something white on a leaf of one of the plants. splendidis. and nothing can dissuade them. By way of debunking their claims.
singing and crying out loud."25 Though Nider himself shares this reservation. 30-33. have no perseverance when it comes to doing good. quem constat rapi ad dilectum cogitationibus. by force of their interior devotion. all this whom they then managed to exorcise. III/1. 293. pp. cf. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. si prudentes & experti de quarumdam feminarum actibus fidem habeant modicam. pp. "Divinus amor (ut divinissimus docet Dionysius). pp.8 to expose the hoax: "in reality"."27 Nider gives a number of examples to validate his sceptical view of female visionaries. ut videbantur satis bonae famae. see Tschacher." Formicarius."26 "But we should not be surprised". "if thoughtful men of experience give very little credence to the actions of these women. 294-295. These women would "lose all sense of the external world. 292-293. ad interiora ab externis sensibus. let out loud shrieks and moans before the eyes of all the congregation. ed.24 Disturbing ecstatic states of this sort--as Piger reminded his mentor--occurred mostly in the lives of holy women of "high repute". but are. inconstantes ad bonum.
"ne mireris. quantum visu perpendi potuit. I myself have witnessed an occasion when a woman. listening to a sermon on the love of Christ. in fact. III/1. "Vidi aliquando & audivi saepius feminas. p. quasi non valeret amorem sui pectoris ad Christum. the entry on him in Norsk Biografisk Leksikon. moaning. & pronas valde ad vanam gloriam esse agnoscunt. he reminds his pupil not to judge too hastily: "The effects of heavenly love (as the godly Dionysius teaches us) are not less powerful than those of human love. pp. III/1. cantu et clamoribus. quas flexibiles ad malum." Formicarius. ut antea retinere. Et tamen â multis literatis tales pro fictis habebantur. quasi ecstasin quandam ex devotione paterentur. clausum. singultu. 290-292. 171-172. Most educated people consider demonstrations of this sort to be mere simulation. fall into a profound ecstasy. adds Nider. He knew a Dominican nun who lived a life beyond reproach before she proved to be the work of the Devil. as if unable to control her overwhelming love for Christ. later. weeping. fletu. et sese exprimere in gemitu. by Einar Jansen (Oslo." Formicarius. quae in publica praedicatione alicujus de Christi charitate auditâ sententiâ. for they have an inclination to evil. 1934).
Formicarius. We see this by the fact that just thinking of the Beloved is enough for one to become delirious. rapi. more so. in 1452 he became Archbshop of Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway. and have an unquenchable thirst for spurious fame. Vidi insuper aliam. and. non minores in quibusdam sed maiores habet effectus amore humano. coram omnibus clamorem quendam elatum extulit. pp. and fall to sighing. III/1. on Heinrich Kalteisen.
"29 Another famous incident occurred just before the Council of Constance. who took advantage of the occasion to
"revelationem finxit & ecstasin. publice mere ficta clamare coepit voce alta & in jubilo. ut mihi coram suo Superiore propria fassa est.. "coram cunctis clamare quasi in jubilo coepit.). she was overcome with the desire to be considered one of them.
. pp. she began to cry out joyfully for all to hear.... "she uttered cries of rejoicing before all the multitude. p. Quae fassa est. fatua). however. but from a vain desire for attention. The mentioned Dominican friar must have been Konrad von Preußen († 1426).. and quite beside herself" (velut in rapto.
"Ostenderat autem se predicta femina saepe numero jacere. 293-294. 33. quinque Christi stigmatum insignia. 294. suis postmodum secreta. pp. and then fell to the floor.. but she did this. Among those present was Heinrich von Rheinfelden († 1433). feet and side on a particular day. In acts of pure simulation. Eugen Hillenbrand.. she heard
in this reformed convent of the extraordinary lives lived by the saints of old. pretending to be beside herself in ecstasy. and immediately thereafter. pedibus. a militant representative of Dominican observance.9 entered the order. as she admitted later in the presence of her superior. in manibus. The saintly recluse living in the town "often lay prostrate in a state of ecstasy. sed tantum fecisset ex inani gloria". quae nominabatur. Ex quo reversa & expergiscens."28 A similar tale was narrated to Nider by Conrad. but the stigmata failed to appear. When. quod illud non ex charitatis fervore. Formicarius III/11. Reformbemühungen und Observanzbestrebungenim spätmittelalterlichen Ordenswesen. 227-229. in Kaspar Elm (ed. III/1."30 A great throng of the curious gathered for the occasion. velut in ecstasi & in raptu ecstatico. to the great consternation of all those who'd believed in the woman's enigmatic teachings and revelations (deliramentis et ejus revelationibus). III/1. & in corde feminae certitudinaliter apparerent".. pp. On him cf. a Dominican friar and "professor of theology". immobilis. cadendo in solum. 1989). not from a surfeit of love. "motionless in her rapture. vel. they found the recluse lying on the floor of her cell. they started spreading the news that the five wounds of Christ would appear on her hands. certa die. (Berlin. as she later confessed. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. and when she came to.. Tschacher. quae non noverat. quam nunquam habuit. "Die Observantenbewegung in der deutschen Ordensprovinz der Dominikaner"." Formicarius. One day. effingere raptum vel mentis excessum. "She feigned ecstasy and pretended to have received revelations.. about a woman renowned for her holiness: During the sermon. in the small nearby town of Radolfzell. dicere solebat.. though she had had neither experience. Formicarius. 391-393. pp. described the secret revelations that she had received. a fellow Dominican preaching in the Rhineland.
I announce you that he received me and put me to a place in the town where no one can find me.. denn man kann mich nicht finden. 87 (1907). 361-365.. but do not look for me for you cannot find me”. at the feast of Saint Ursula and the 11000 martyr virgins she disappeared and could not be found either inside or outside of the convent. Peter Dinzelbacher--Kurt Ruh. Darmstadt.but I have not left you for ever. Eine pseudomystische Erscheinung des späteren Mittelalters". 1117-1121. Wilhelm Oehl. by: Wilhelm Schleußner. our Creator. Not much later. 91-93. in 1429. 19722).
"In der Ehre Gottes Jesu Christi.. cf. Elliott. then
Formicarius III/8. “The Physiology of Rapture“.
. – the quotations below are from this long passage.10 preach a fire and brimstone sermon about the dangers of believing in
"foolishness" of this sort. p. Dinzelbacher." Ed. written by Magdalene with her own blood.. In this she announced her rapture: “In the name of Lord Jesus Christ. so werdet ihr mich noch länger sehen. Deutsche Mystikerbriefe des Mittelalters 1100-1550. the fraudulent woman (ipsa fictrix) and an associate of hers were obliged to appear before an ecclesiastical court. will. She came to herself after another three days. when Christ. "Magdalena von Freiburg. In the order of the Poor Clares she became famous for her frequent raptures (extaticis visionibus ac a sensu alienationibus). Sondern wann es Jesus Christus. wo ich beraubt bin alles zeitlichen Trostes. unseres Schöpfers und Erlösers und Erhalters. pp.31 In some cases she claimed to have been raptured "corpore et anima" to the extent of physically disappearing for several days. the same day. Heilige oder Hexen? p. 109-110.32 (Magdalene may have been hiding somewhere in the sanctuary during this time33). (WBG. here she retracted her claims. 814. pp. The sisters thought at first that she had escaped from the convent following some diabolic inclination.. Verfasserlexikon. vol. Der Katholik.. 361. in the sanctuary of the church of the convent the sisters found suddenly a letter "fallen from the sky". . Dinzelbacher. pp. 525. 92. "Magdalena von Freiburg". pp. During such an occasion. or that she was wandering in the woods with excessive ascetic motivations.. pp. meine einzige zuverzicht in diesem großen Elend. in: Die deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters. wo ich keinen Menschen sehe. Ich bin aber nicht von euch fortgegangen. so künde ich euch daß mich Christus hat empfangen und hat mich gesetzt an einen solchen Ort der Stadt. and repented of her sins. Saviour and Beholder. 169171. Formicarius III/8. lying lifeless in front of the sanctuary. cf. my only support in this great misery would request it. IV. Then. She was found four days later. The best known story of this type is that of Magdalen of Fribourg (Magdalena Beutlerin). Heilige oder Hexen? pp. Ihr sollt mich nicht mehr suchen. you would see me again.
362-364. was honoured by the presence of various secular and ecclesiastic notabilities. a certain Frater Johannes. Heilige oder Hexen? p. “was it from God or from the Devil? Or did it have natural causes? Or was it mere acting?”35 It might be worthy to note that this account is not only biassed but also truncated: it omits the immediate continuation of the story. â Demone. “What do you think of the prophecy of this woman?” Piger asks his master. Num â Deo fuit. vel ab arte talia fingente?" Formicarius III/8. “She inclined her head on the breast of another Clarisse sister. who subsequently provided a detailed description of the event. her broader fame was ruined.11 asked for something to write with.93. 526. pp. urban authorities. in a new epistle she urged the
Oehl. the doctor publicly touched her pulse and confirmed that she was still alive. when allegedly her stigmatisation occurred. Dinzelbacher. Finally she arose from the sarcophagus in front of the crowd and asked for food. Another description of these events exists in a brief biography of her. then after receiving the Eucharist she fell in trance and confirmed her prophecy another time. As the bystanders were curious whether she was dead or alive. She hoped to save face by referring to a new revelation which would have revealed that the divine intentions had changed and she would be left alive.34 Magdalene's most famous action was to pronounce a prophecy before Christmas 1430 that she would die at the following Epiphany. p.
"Quid ergo sentis de praefato vaticinio istius mulierculae. On the appointed day a large public came to the convent church for witnessing the event. but she remained alive. Mystikerbriefe. she uttered a loud cry 'To the sarcophagus!'”. She said her devoted followers could assist at this spectacle and thereby escape the tortures of Hell. and inhabitants of the convent to reform their life. she immediately fell into–real or fictitious—ecstasy. and also some representatives of the sceptical point of view: a certain Magister Paulus who was a professional doctor. Subsequently she refused food for seventeen days. The news attracted a great attention. unlike the virginal one she had before. The impatient crowd was quickly losing faith.
. and also Nider’s personal envoy. Though her immediate followers continued to believe in her. Then. This was executed. vel â natura. and thus she lay for a while. in a strange coarse voice.
.”37 Let us look at a few further examples described by Nider. let us see how far his attention extends. when they read.36 In this description the same series of events is narrated in a rather positive. and the following day. hagiographic tone. 1986). woe. Among half a dozen of examples there is one that might be related to the pupil at s’Hertogenbosch: a seventeen-year-old girl in Cologne swallowed the devil in the form of a fly. Ph. despite these miracles. 350-355. Formicarius V/2 (quomodo fiant obsessiones hominum a demonibus). and it was often taken as a sign that she was a sorceress. 641-644. Erklaerung des Vaterunsers: A Critical Edition of a Fifteenth Century Mystical Treatise by Magdalena Beutler of Freiburg. But the phenomena of vision and ecstasy had been examined by Nider in a much broader circle. pp. describing that she finally got out of the sarcophagus because she had been insistently asked to do so by the Provincial of the order. from the religious life of fourteenth and fifteenth century South German and Swiss towns. “Her holy. from which fresh blood ran out on to the ground. ‘All things are complete. yet it also reports that. 354-55. This was seen by the people who had been sent by the city council as witnesses. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature (Oxford University Press. Then a wound broke out on her foot. 1984. and she became instantly possessed. The stories presented so far derive from a relatively limited milieu. and the same thing happened to her hands. “when the Passion of Our Lord was read and at the end of it.38 The devil "twisted every member of her
They have been discovered and studied by karen Greenspan. how my foot pains me!’ and her foot was shown to those who stood by. Die
Goldene Litanie and the Erklaerung des Vaterunsers. Petroff. University of Massachusetts at Amherst. blessed life was scoffed at and denied by many sinful people. As for diabolic possession. pp.D. he returns to the problem in his Fifth book dealing with “the witches and their deceptions” (de maleficis et eorum deceptionibus).12 preserved in the manuscript containing two of her mystical writings. she cried out ‘O woe. Thesis.” This biography then adds a series of subsequent marvellous raptures. into thy hands I commend my spirit’. pp. Father. an excerpt of this biography is translated by her and included into the collection edited by Elizabeth Alvida Petroff. V/11. pp. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature . Oxford. 527-538.
. believe and profess themselves. Kanon Episkopi und zum Hexenflug”.. Kors. sceleratae mulieres retro post Satanam conuersae. Medieval Popular Culture. a Dominican professor of theology. and later incorporated with the name Canon episcopi in the Decretum of Gratian and widely disseminated through this channel. et non a diuino. Penitential handbooks of the medieval church have been condemning this belief since the instructions of Regino of Prüm of 906. Decretum Magistri Gratiani. Cambridge/Paris. Wherefore the priests throughout their churches should preach with all insistence to the people that they may know this to be in every way false and that such phantasms are imposed on the minds of the faithful and not by the divine but by the malignant spirit. 2001.. pp. Kan. credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum Diana paganorum dea et innumera multitudine mulierum equitare super quasdam bestias.. cf. 1972). sacerdotes per ecclesias sibi conmissas populo Dei omni instantia predicare debent. 642-643. ut nouerint hec omnino falsa esse.. Bak and Paul A.. Studien zum sog. This myth is continuously attested from the early Middle Ages on. p.
. and in the silence of the dead of night to traverse great spaces of earth. Ginzburg. and to obey her commands as of their mistress. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung zur Rechtsgeschichte 116. 1922). p.. eiusque iussionibus uelut dominae obedire.. 355. Hollingsworth (Cambridge University Press/Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l`Homme. for a more detailed analysis of this tradition cf. et certis noctibus ad eius seruitium euocari . pp. 78-103. 39 The most famous trance-description of Nider is not related to female visionaries but to witchcraft.”40 The early medieval Church considered the belief in these women riding in the air with Diana in the night as until he was exorcised by Gottfridus
"membris omnibus virginei contusis.
". perverted by the Devil. 29. Problems of Belief and Perception. According to the text “some wicked women. 1030-1031. Philadelphia. Abt. 1988). and to be summoned to her service on certain nights. cf. sed a maligno spiritu talia phantasmata mentibus fidelium irrogari. 225-276. in the hours of the night. F. and an innumerable multitude of women. Leipzig. Wasserschleben (Lipsiae. Edward Peters. English tr. the goddess of pagans." in: Reginonis abbatis Prumiensis libris duo de synodalis causis. exiit Daemon". p. still Aron Gurevich. Friedberg (Tauchnitz. taken up in the Decretum of Burchard of Worms as stemming from the Synod of Ancyra of 314. Ecstasies.. The subject itself is the well-known belief concerning women who go out for a nightly flight with the goddess Diana. 1840). Formicarius V/11. tr. Alan C. et multa terrarum spacia intempestae noctis silentio pertransire. H. by János M. seduced by illusions and phantasms of demons. Witchcraft in Europe 1100-1700. “Der Flug durch die Luft zwischen Illusionstheorie und Realitätsbeweis. to ride upon certain beasts with Diana.13 virgin body". and would not leave her Stuffel. ed. Werner Tschacher. pp. W. A Documentary History (University of Pennsylvania Press. hrsg. von E. 62. 89-91. pp. 85 (1999). second revised edn. daemonum illusionibus et phantasmatibus seductae.
Zauberund Hexenwesen (Paderborn. Dieter Harmening. she was told that she had not been on a ride with Diana. Überlieferungs. whereupon her head leaned back. fluttered her hands and her whole body with violent gestures. She apparently had some "demonic dreams" in the company of "Domina Venere".Flint. The Rise of Magic in Early Medieval Europe. 1979). the very period when the Formicarius was conceived. This change took place precisely in the 1430s. (Princeton University Press.
. (Schmidt. Then she sat in a large bowl (cubella) used for kneading dough positioned on a bench. the fifteenth century reversal of the negative ecclesiastical attitude to the unconditional acceptance of the possibility of such nightly flights with the devil’s help was the consequence of and a further stimulus to the emerging witch-persecutions.
despite the interdictions. badly hitting her head. On the other hand. Berlin.und theoriegeschichtliche Untersuchungen zur kirchlich-theologischen Aberglaubensliteratur des Mittelalters.14 an erroneous superstition like the beliefs in strigae in general. and only later refers to his related readings in the field of canon law.
Ginzburg. literary creations and in folklore (Herodiada. and as Carlo Ginzburg has convincingly shown. Superstitio. She became very
E. 1991). Dame Habonde. J. Valerie I. uttered magic incantations. when she exploded into joyful jubilation.42 they became constitutive elements in the complex mythology of the witches’ sabbath at the end of the Middle Ages. When she awoke. Princeton. Satia). 89-108. She fell off the bench together with her cubella. It can strike us as slightly suspicious that Nider presents the well-known story as something that indeed happened to his own preceptor. she rubbed herself with her ointment. Ecstasies.41 Yet. Blum. pp. Das staatliche und kirchliche Recht des Frankenreichs in seiner Stellung zum Dämon-. then she lay in deep sleep for some hours. and she fell asleep almost immediately. these mythological constructs survived in various forms in legends. 1936). He describes how a "vetula dementata" claimed to be carried through the air on a night-ride with Diana and accepted the request of the Dominican friar to be present at this occasion.
. pp. edizione critica a cura di Giovanni Paolo Maggioni (Galuzzo. 115-145. 271. Les revenants (Gallimard. castellan of Blankenburg in the Simmental. in the neighbourhood of Bern. p. pp. Legenda Aurea. II/4. Paris. Lea. 1994). pp.45 After having reviewed these motifs concerning the (real or simulated) ecstasy of late medieval mystics and various cases of possession by the devil let us see what ecstatic motifs are reported by Nider concerning witches. pp. 10 and 11 of the first Praeceptum in the Praeceptorium Nider comments several other motifs from De universo by Guillaume d'Auvergne: the legend of Mons Veneris. 139. Iacopo de Varazze. 689-694. to the legend of St. One group of sources is constituted by the records of the early witch trials allegedly conducted by the judge Peter. in cap. Osnabrück. Les revenants. For this particular episode see. 1994). 89-90. 260-261. Germanus who unmasks the demons coming for the nightly presents prepared for these women. p.44 The same mythological circle. pp. Materials. 265-271. vulgo historia Lombardica dicta. pp. The trials were held between 1392 and 1406. Werwolf beliefs. The Fifth Book of Formicarius does not forget to mention the thirteenth century notes of William of Auvergne in this respect: Nider points out that the “nocturnus exercitus . V/1. 525.
Jacobi a Voragine. animae defunctorum” can appear to the just and to the evil as well. who "in quator temporibus extasim per daemonem patientes" cf. 1965). 1998). p. His information about the doings of witches is said to be “first-hand”. ed. pp. and Judge Peter of Bern asserted “having had many witches of both sexes burned at the stake. see now the detailed analysis of this story by Catherine Chène in L’imaginaire du sabbat. more recently: Wolfgang Behringer. Materials.
. is represented by the legend of the exercitus furiosus (Wütendes Heer). (Vratislaviae 1890. Sismel. T. and of having obliged others to flee from the canton
Formicarius. same story also in the Praeceptorium: ibid. 208. Formicarius. women. a myth also well known from the Golden Legend by James of Voragine. Jean-Claude Schmitt. cf. Hansen. leading ultimately to the formation of the concept of the witches’ sabbath. cap. 200. München. Graesse. 44. on William of Auvergne and the " exercitus furiosus " see Schmitt. Legenda aurea. Lea. Chonrad Stoeckhlin und die Nachtschar: eine Geschichte aus der frühen Neuzeit (Piper. 204-220.43 Nider also refers to the other well known medieval version of the “nightly flying women”.15 confused when all the witnesses confirmed that her body was seen to
remain motionless in the room all the time.
p. et alios fugavit e territorio dominii Bernensis". the Dominican
inquisitor of Autun. lightning and ravaging wind and to use lightning for killing human beings. he emitted a horrible smell and “it
"qui multos utriusque sexus incineravit maleficos. spread in the 1430s. 91-99. Saul Nathaniel Brody. which. Ecstasies. who could flee from his persecutors in the shape of a mouse (his name also merits attention: did it mean perhaps that he was a leper?). ecstatic flight. he could enrage horses by simply touching their bridle. preparation of magic potions and unctions. isolated sorcerers.
Borst. pp. P. Quellen. who had reformed the convent at Lyon. to Scavius. excerpts from the parts of Formicarius to be discussed below are published by Hansen.47 From the point of view of the phenomenon of trance. pp. 543. a master of witchcraft (in maleficii magistrum) Scaedeli. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen.
. old. four manifestations deserve a mention: animal metamorphosis. the long time accepted identification of this judge with Peter of Greyerz was recently put in question by Catherine Chène. 224-227. "Anfänge". near Lausanne. and when someone tried to capture him. I will come back to the novel nature of Nider’s description concerning this “new sect”. to cause hail. with its murder of infants. pp.. this strange archaic-looking sorcerer presented in such a detail by Peter of Bern to Johannes Nider. pp. 261-264. Lea. 52. This hypothesis was suggested by Borst: "Anfänge". pp. called Hoppo. and who had also had more than his share of dealings with witches. in his turn.16 of Bern. Scaedeli had the ability. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Ithaca-London. The Disease of the Soul: Leprosy in Medieval Literature. on late medieval attitudes to lepers cf. Formicarius V/3. he could tell the future. who made. Blauert. He was also able to cause the sterility of animals and men. 56-59. to transfer one third of anyone’s crops to his own land. (Cornell U. sacrilegious denial of God and alliance with the Devil. ibid. p.48 It was a “disciple” of Scavius."46 Nider's other source was a contemporary of his. seemed much more dangerous than the previous “lone”. and finally the witches’ Sabbath as the place of the alliance with the devil. pp. 1971). 17-19. together with his master. He lived in the village of Boltingen. 33-62. the role of the figure of the leper in the formation of new witch stereotypes: Ginzburg. Materials. The capacity for metamorphosis into animals is attributed to the first representative (primus actor) of the “witch sect” of the Bern region. argues for the hypothesis that Nider could have reinterpreted the reports of judge Peter in the light of the new witch-stereotypes.
anyone who drinks immediately becomes a member and master of our sect.50 The stories concerning the preparation of a magic unction. this reference to this capacity of flying is a valuable indication of a new belief of increasing popularity. could perhaps give us useful additional indications in this matter. 546. and. whom they called magisterulus. Witchcraft in Europe. pp. also mentioned in the story on the “vetula dementata”. p. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider.49
Though it was not related here immediately to the other elements of witchcraft mythology. This embryonic account of the witches' sabbath. 2nd edn. transineare".52 His confession. Tschacher. L’imaginaire du sabbat. L’imaginaire du sabbat. does not contain a number of the key
"de loco in loco per aëra.. and 559. and the Catholic Church. as reported by Nider. Witchcraft in Europe. pp. 251. "Afterwards he drinks from the aforesaid flask. English tr. 393-394."51 This potion. 554. 547. 156-1557 English tr. 152. their Christian faith. obtained with torture. 154-155. is mentioned also in the more detailed account of the witches' rituals furnished upon the rack by a young man accused of witchcraft (his wife. ut putabant. who used it for flying with Diana. p. pp.. V/3. and stealing unbaptised new-borns from their sleeping parents' sides in order to cook their flesh: “From the solids of this material we make a certain unguent that is useful for our desires. Scaedeli does not convey any further elements that could be related to trance.
Formicarius . 157. 2nd edn. 170. p. and transformations. and V/4. p. and swore to follow the devil.
Formicarius . who was likewise tortured. digging buried infants out of their graves. L’imaginaire du sabbat. and from this. in Kors—Peters. however. The witches of the Simmental "confessed" to having murdered their own children. in Kors—Peters. V/3. pp.
. From the liquids we fill a container. besides the confession of the invocation of the devil. with its magical powers to work an instant conversion to the devil. However. p.405-406. V/3. denied the charge with her last breath). Formicarius .17 was said that he could get from one place to another through the air”. he forthwith feels himself to conceive and hold within himself an image of our art and the chief rites of our sect". with a few additional ceremonies. arts. 158. pp. this done.544. tells us that the witches gathered in church on Sunday morning before the blessing with the holy water: they denied Christ.
ut absentia velut praesentia cernerentur. p. Judge Peter told him the story of his own encounter with witchcraft: After he had already given up his office as judge. This undecided judgement is seen in his explanation of ecstasy and trance as well.Daemonis impressione in imaginatione malificorum factum est. quae in castro non erant. Formicarius. V/7. then.. p. V/9. how were they capable of precipitating Peter down the stairs? “It is by the impact on the imagination of the witches that the demons can evoke the sensation of being absent or present”. is it the demon by the witch or the witch by the demon? It is no wonder that the “lazy” disciple. effecerunt ut sibi viderentur praesentes esse.. L’imaginaire du sabbat. the
feasting and orgies. Piger puts the insistent question again twenty pages further. it was very much the present demons conjured up by the witches' rites and sacrifices that led to Peter's fall".54 Nider adds an explanation: "We needn't believe that Peter was physically pushed off the steps by some witches who were not there. Ginzburg. Formicarius . pp. But how should we interpret the assertion that demons “deceive the witches. 590-592.. sed maleficarum sacrificiis vel cerimoniis allecti Daemones praesentes illud praecipitium fecerunt Petri". bruised and bloody.56 Who is exploited and deceived by the other here.
"Nec tamen credere debes.18 elements associated with the concept: the ecstatic flight in the night. 196-199. in imaginatione superstitiosum hominum.
53 54 55
Cf. is it the “superstitious” layperson by the witch and the demon. 71. p.55 The reasoning can more or less be followed up to this point. whether these demons act “in phantasia” or “realiter”?57 We can clearly perceive that Nider himself is struggling with these unresolved alternatives. Formicarius. manibus maleficarum. dancing.. Petrum.53 Nider's account suggests that he himself was uncertain as to whether all this actually took place.
"Et ut mentes maleficarum deciperent. But. Ecstasies. corporaliter per gradus projectum. the witches avenged themselves on him by pushing him off a flight of steps in the dead of night. and indiscriminate copulation." Ibid. pp. 595. or was just a figment of the witches' imaginations. 613.
. and only in the imagination of superstitious persons give them the impression of being present”. V/7. He was found the next morning.
Zur Bedeutung von Schlaf und Traum im Mittelalter.
Often all we have to guide us is our instincts. p. It could count e. 287. The “astrological” impact of the stars could be considered as an “external natural cause”. Roma. But even then a serious problem remains. Nider writes as follows: There are certain "false visions" which are relatively easy to recognise: deception that has its roots in greed and avarice (ex avaritia). II/3-4. The varieties of the “imaginationes somnii” could be influenced by various “natural” impulses. III/1. pp. one has to examine them. 291-316. 1992). Having carefully isolated the supernatural. If someone is looking for supernatural messages in dreams. (Medium Aevum Quotidianum. Kruger. Cambridge. “spiritual” elements of the dreams.g. pp. He distinguishes between the practical intellect destined to perceive lower.19 Piger keeps asking the Theologian just how much credence
we can give to things that appear to us in trance. and visions due to an over-active fantasy (per phantastica luminaria). a cura di Tullio Gregory (Ateneo. or from the “master of deception”. our discretio spirituum: it is our intuitive recognition of the difference between spirits that enables us to recognise the presence
Maria Elisabeth Wittmer-Busch. Formicarius. 1990). Dreaming in the Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press. “Rêver au XIIe siècle”. 1985). the balance of the bodily humours) could be the cause of a dream. that is from the devil. and in visions.59 After rather lengthy scholastic sophistry. Nider relies in his answer upon the scholastic theory58 of the interpretation of dreams: he discusses lengthily the different ways of seeing by the bodily and the spiritual “eyes”. Jean-Claude Schmitt. 187-198. Steven F. in dreams. if the dream provides a mental (animalis) reflection of what one has seen awake. of if the physical condition of the body (being hungry or sated. Krems. Seminario Internazionale. pp. 2-4 ottobre 1983. Roma. in I sogni nel Medioevo. this person should deduce first the natural factors and consider only that what remains unexplainable by these causes. Formicarius. and consider whether they originate from God. earthly matters and the speculative intellect directed to grasp eternal.
. for such an “internal natural cause”. visions due to demonic possession (possessi per Daemonem). superior subjects. 141-171.
. ut ex illa etiam parte cantare videantur. qui & aures movent. quosdam flere. pro arbitrio. and "and lie still exactly like a dead man. "jacebat similis mortuo ut non solum vellicantes atque pungentes minime sentiret. Augustine tells us (Civ. Loeb Classical Library (Harvard University Press. For some people can actually move their ears. sine ullo doloris sensu. vel ambas simul. quae alii nullo modo possunt. Certain people mimic and render so expertly the utterances of birds and beasts. "who have it in their nature to be easily alienated from their five
"Anima enim unius dominium habet in corpus suum. de Civitate Dei probat.. Mass. St. sonitus edunt. 24. Sunt enim. In this state he not only was completely insensitive to pinching and pricking but at times he was even burned by the application of fire and felt no pain except afterwards from the wound". p. ut nisi videantur. 365-366." Formicarius. 366. for "Satan himself goes disguised as an angel of light" (2 Cor.20 of evil.63 There are thus people. that it is impossible to tell the difference unless they are seen.
. quod alteri esset impossibile. Nonnulli ab imo." 62 And Nider continues to cite Augustine by way of illustration: There was a presbyter named Restitutus. English tr. lib. de corpore fingunt. Dei.." Formicarius. nisi postmodum ex vulnere. by Richard Levine in Saint Augustine.
11. lib. sine pudore.. pp.. cum volunt. Certain people are known to weep at will and to shed a flood of tears. pp. II/5. sed aliquando etiam igne ureretur admoto. 14). 23) can at will do with their bodies some things that others find utterly impossible to imitate and scarcely credible to hear. From my own experience I know of a man who used to perspire at will. ut volunt. atque ubertim lacrymas fundere. 1988). 390-391. and the devil and his demons seek to deceive people by appearing to them "sub specie boni". IV.61 It is hard to tell the difference between the various kinds of--natural and supernatural--causes. Ipse sum expertus. 209-10. pp. The City. Cambridge. Quidam voces avium. Augustine. ut B. either one at a time or both together. p. III/8.. . discerni omnino non possint. 391. Notum est. Nonnulli. August. cap.. 23.. as well as of any other human beings. cum vellet. sudare hominem solere. & aliorum quorumlibet hominum sic imitantur. ita numerosos. 24. vol. pecorumque. . and one is always being caught off guard: "Certain human beings. vel singulas. The City of God against the Pagans. & audita vix credunt. cap. Some people produce at will without any stench such rhythmical sounds from their fundament that they appear to be making music even from that quarter. who could fall into a trance whenever he wanted to.
SHAMANS AND DEMONIC POSSESSION Considered against the background of theoretical literature on trance and ecstasy65. Past and Present 152 (1996). it is in no way implied that the religious phenomena represented by late medieval mystics should be classified into any kind of broadly defined shamanism. Vol. and the rest of us can wonder whether they are able to do all this on
their own. “Possessed by the Spirit: Devout Women. pp. Demoniacs. The boy was thirteen at the time of his
"Tales igitur. and the Apostolic Life in the Thirteenth Century”. Discerning Spirits: Sanctity and Possession in the Later Middle Ages (Univ. Barbara Newman. 2045-2189. 1994). 1961). What he set out to do in Formicarius is to explain a phenomenon that very much preoccupied churchmen at the time of the Council of Basel. pp. shamanism. 1971). aut propria industria. pp. 367.
The entry on extase in the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité (henceforth: DS)." 64 Nider's reflections are a faithful mirror of the uncertainties voiced in the theological debates of the time. of Michigan Ph. aut Daemonum versutia. 1951). Nider's narratives contain a number of motifs which incline us to compare these descriptions of the trance-states of late medieval visionaries with models of that "most archaic of ecstasy techniques".. pp. IV. An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism. Demoniacs. (Beauchesne. mira in conspectu aliorum. eadem. Ecstatic Religion. aut bonorum Angelorum ministerio possunt efficere". Lewis. To understand the historical impact of Nider's accounts and scepticism. 3-46. qui se â corporeis sensibus faciliter per naturam possunt alienare. Paris. Paris. we need to consider them in the light of the historical and anthropological literature dealing with the process of trance. Harmondsworth. or with the help of the good angels. Speculum 73 (1998). and the Physiology of Spirit Possession in Medieval Europe”. (Penguin. Ian M. thesis. “Mystics.21 senses.
. the confrontation intends rather to point out certain common traits among them for elaborating a broader historical typology of types of contact with the supernatural. 42 (2000). Nancy Caciola. Revenants and Ritual in Medieval Culture”. with the connivance of the devil. 268-306. The most instructive case-description by Nider in this respect is the one of the young Dominican novice of s’-Hertogenbosch. III/8.
Mircea Eliade.D. Le chamanisme et les techniques archaïques de l'extase. 733-770. eadem. Comparative Studies in Society and History. “Wraiths . Formicarius.66 In what follows.
FF Communications 220 (Academia Scientiarum Fennica. and drugs) have analogies in the processes of controlled. 1935). Tel Aviv).
Let me reproduce here a written comment to my study by Don Handelman (Hebrew University. trances could be compared in terms of whether the person is
. to join the company of older shamans for taking up the role ascribed to him by his destiny. the two phenomena are linked in their resorting to the process of trance. Ecstatic Religion.67 The function of the initiatory "shaman sickness" is the "acquisition of knowledge". as well as his power to work miracles and receive revelations. The Dominicans interpreted these capacities as originating from possession by the devil. 1962. Anna-Lena Siikala. Luc de Heusch. and the shaman’s trance is an active exercise of the capacity of the soul to go out for a journey. in fact. not so far away from the shaman’s trance as one would guess at first sight. on the other hand. Psychomental Complex of the Tungus (London. has convincingly shown that the initiatory "shaman sickness" is a form of possession. Mircea Eliade and Luc de Heusch tried to distinguish shamanism by stressing the fact that shamans are able to use the trance technique in a routine manner. described by Nider. 49-57. self-induced possession. Annales du Centre d'Études des Religions Bruxelles. 26-55. Eliade. The Rite Technique of the Siberian Shaman. pp. "Role-taking of the shaman". pp. Chamanisme . and that even the subsequent states of trance routinely generated for ritual occasions with the traditional shamanic tools (drums. S. Temenos 4 (1969). Although there is no consensus about this issue. M. dance. This is about the age at which in
Siberian shamanism a young candidate shaman is first “called”. pp. Shirokogoroff. "Cultes de possession et religions iniciatiques de salut en Afrique".68 Though a basic difference between the two phenomena persists. Lewis. Helsinki. some anthropologists have indeed argued for a close relationship between shamanism and possession. 330-341. while the possessed suffers the intrusion of a foreign spirit into his/her body.22 first public trance. recurrent.69
Lauri Honko. during a shaman’s dream. building on Shirokogoroff's classical account of Tungus shamanism. “Given that in trance a person is other than himself. 1978). Ian M. In the case of the Dominican novice it was also the trance that gave the young boy his knowledge of French and Latin and his insights to the Bible. unlike magicians who are first possessed and can only subsequently can act as “masters of spirits”. But possession is. Lewis.
23 This second interpretation could shed some light on Nider's late
medieval account. The first initiatory trance of the teenager-prophet, which meant for him the "acquisition of knowledge", a period of incubation, was regarded by his fellow monks, and perhaps also by himself, as an instance of demonic possession. According to Nider’s account the triggering cause of the trance was the boy's inadvertent swallowing of the white "something" (the motif of swallowing the devil might have originated from an anecdote of Gregory the Great, who described the story of a nun swallowing the devil with a piece of lettuce.70) The subsequent recurrence of minor ecstasies of the possessed young novice, his miracles and his prophecies could be regarded as instances of putting to use in routine ways the capacities acquired in the course of the first trance. This pattern is not unfamiliar for anthropologists dealing with the phenomena of shamanism in tribal societies. Before going on to see how far the categories of shamanism might apply to other religious phenomena discussed by Nider, we need to briefly address two other questions. Can we speak, in however fragmentary a form, of the presence of shamanism in Europe during the high Middle Ages? And if this is the case, can we show any correlation between shamanism and the religious ecstatics of the time, or, on the other side, the emerging late medieval witchcraft beliefs? As for the first question, a number of significant research results have been published on the subject in recent years. After discovering and analysing the shamanistic beliefs of the benandanti of Friuli, who were tried as witches in the
present or absent from himself. In the instance of the soul journey the person is present, but elsewhere, traveling, and perhaps still in contact with those at the site of his body. In the instance of possession, the person is absent, extinguished or taken over by someone, some force that has intruded in the body/person and taken over. In the relationship between shamanism and possession agency seems to be at issue. The sahamn seems to be one who has the agency to travel; the possessed no longer controls his action. ‘Shaman sickness’ is a form of ‘possesison’ which intrudes into the shaman – his success (with help) of extruding this intrusion returns agency to him, enabling him to travel. Controlled, recurrent, self-induced possession is then the deliberate use of agency to enable shamanic traveling.”
Gregorius Magnus, Dialogi, 1, 4; cf. Frederick C. Tubach, Index exemplorum. FF Communications (Academia Scientiarum Fennica, Helsinki, 1969); Dinzelbacher, Heilige oder Hexen? p. 222; Nider’s heavy reliance upon the Dialogues of Gregory the Great is analysed by Bailey, Battling Demons, p. 98.
24 sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,71 Carlo Ginzburg published another
wide-ranging synthesis on the origins of the witches' sabbath myth.72 Taking account of the reactions to his book on the benandanti, he gives a comparative analysis of all that we know about the activities of their European counterparts (kresnik73, táltos,74 calusari75, donni di fuora,76 etc.): their spirit journeys, shamanistic activities, fertility battles, and contacts with the dead. Though our concrete data for all these figures date no further back than early modern times, it is highly unlikely that medieval European villages should have known nothing about these or other kinds of benevolent cunning folk. Ginzburg also explores the belief systems of medieval Europe for more farreaching traces of shamanism. Pointing to the nocturnal rides of women with the goddess of the night, and to the practice of communicating with the dead, he speaks of a "Celtic substratum" of European mythologies.77 On the other hand, the journeying soul's metamorphosis into an animal--as exemplified, for instance, by Paulus Diaconus's Gunthram legend,78 by Odin's metamorphosis in the Ynlingasaga79, and the werewolf
Carlo Ginzburg, I Benandanti. Stregoneria e culti agrari tra Cinquecento e Seicento. (Einaudi Torino, 1966); English tr.: The Night Battles. Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. trans. John and Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore--London, 1983). Ginzburg, Ecstasies.
Maja Bošković-Stulli, "Testimonianze orali croate e slovene sul Krsnik-Kresnik", Metodi e ricerche, N.S. 7 (1988), pp. 32-50.
Gábor Klaniczay, "Shamanistic elements in Central European Witchcraft" in Shamanism in Eurasia. Edited by Mihály Hoppál (Herodot, Göttingen, 1983), pp. 404-422; an amplified version: in idem, The Uses of Supernatural Power. The Transformation of Popular Religion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, tr. by Susan Singerman, ed. Karen Margolis, (Polity Press, Cambridge, 1990) Mircea Eliade, "Some Observations on European Witchcraft", History of Religions 14 (1975), pp. 149172; Gail Kligman, Căluş: Symbolic Transformation in Romanian Ritual (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1981) Gustav Henningsen, "The Ladies from Outside: an Archaic Pattern of the Witches' Sabbath", in Bengt Ankarloo and Gustav Henningsen, (eds.), Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1990), pp. 191-217.
77 78 76 75
Ginzburg, Ecstasies, pp. 89-152, esp. pp. 106-107.
Paul the Deacon, History of the Lombards; transl. by William Dudley Foulke, ed., intr. by Edward Peters (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1974), III, 34, pp. 147-148; Hannjost Lixfeld, "Die Guntramsage (AT 1645 A). Volkserzählungen und Alter Ego in Tiergestalt und ihre schamanistische Herkunft", Fabula, 13 (1972), pp. 60-107; cf. Ginzburg, Ecstasies, pp. 151-152.
25 concepts80 found in the Slavic, Baltic, German and Mediterranean cultures--
he traces back to the "shamanistic substratum" of European mythology. He divides these shamanistic beliefs--presumably mediated by the Scythians, and reinforced, from time to time, by more direct Eastern influences--into two types: the male variant, characterised by ecstatic fertility battles; and the female variant, characterised by the communication with the dead.81 Besides the scheme elaborated by Carlo Ginzburg, one should mention a second recent attempt to reconstruct this archaic layer of European witch beliefs, the books and studies written by Éva Pócs.82 She gives a more scrupulous comparative analysis of Central and South East European sorcerers, cunning people and folk mythological beings (szépasszony, vila, mora, zmej, rusalia, etc.) than anybody before her. She discovered another important domain of popular belief systems which played an important role in the formation of the concept of the witches’ sabbath, that of the ambivalent fairy-mythologies. And these same comparative investigations have also led her to important new statements concerning the relationship of Hungarian táltos beliefs and Siberian shamanism. Instead of relying upon a set of remote and far-reaching analogies, the approach suggested by Éva Pócs, following the footsteps of Géza Róheim,83 lays a greater stress upon more concrete historical contacts and borrowing, namely upon the influences coming to Hungary from the neighbouring Slavic peoples and from all other peoples on the Balkan peninsula.84
Walter Baetke, Yngvi und die Ynglinger. Eine quellenkritische Untersuchung über das nordische "Sakralkönigtum", Sitzungsberichte der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Ph.-hist. Kl. Bd. 109/3 (Akademie, Belin, 1964)
80 81 82
Ginzburg, Ecstasies, pp. 138-139, 153-154. Ibid. pp. 243, 257.
Éva Pócs, Fairies and Witches at the Boundary of South-Eastern and Central Europe, FF Communications N. 243. (Academia Scientiarum Fennica, Helsinki, 1989); eadem, Between the Living and the Dead. A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age (CEU Press, Budapest, 1998)
Róheim Géza, Magyar néphit és népszokások /Hungarian folk beliefs and folk customs/ (Budapest, 1925); idem. "Hungarian Shamanism", in idem ed. Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences. (New York, 1961), vol. III, pp. 131-169. Éva Pócs, "Hungarian Táltos and His European Parallels", in Uralic Mythology and Folklore, ed. by Mihály Hoppál and Juha Pentikäinen (Budapest--Helsinki, 1989), pp. 251-276.
Relying upon the reconstruction attempts of Roman Jakobson. Jean Pouillou . pp. pp. Toporov. 1-3. it was exactly this correlation that Carlo Ginzburg and Éva Pócs set out to show: the nocturnal flights. In addition. 1970).Pierre Maranda (Mouton. (MTA. Kettős samanizmus és boszorkányság Közép-DK-Európában" /The snake. the communications with the dead were all
85 Roman Jakobson. II. II. the thunder and the cows.
. Éva Pócs made an attempt to set up a new
typology of “dual shamanism” present in the Baltic. 1993). "Le sabbat et les mythologies indo-européennes". N. eadem. it is conceivable that certain modified. the researches of Éva Pócs offer new explanations as to how these mythological elements could have merged into early modern witchcraft beliefs. Grenoble. vol. V. She documented a number of forms reflecting this antagonism in the folk mythologies of Eastern Europe. pp. nov. for the duality of male sorcerers fighting for fertility and female seers assuring communication with the world of the dead. the metamorphosis into animal. 1994). in: A tradicionális műveltség továbbélése.V. pp. 579-599. "Christianised" shamanistic beliefs and shamanistic practitioners were indeed a part of the popular religion of the high Middle Ages in various regions of Europe. 1969). magyar-jugoszláv folklórkonferencia előadásai. Dual shamanism and witchcraft in Central and South Eastern Europe/. in Nicole Jacques-Chaquin--Maxime Préaud. eds. 1991. 1180-1206. eadem. Ivanov and V. V. N. Between the Living and the Dead.26 As a result of this research. Budapest. These motifs seem to provide a meaningful explanation for the two classes of shamanistic sorcerers observed by Carlo Ginzburg. 89-101. between shamanism and the emerging stereotype of the "witches' sabbath"? As regards the second part of the question. Az V. in Échanges et communications. vol. she suggested comparing the struggle between Perun and Volos in Slavic and Baltic mythologies to the shamanistic antagonism of a fiery/heavenly monster and a watery/netherworldly one. Mélanges offerts à Claude Lévi-Strauss à l'occasion de son 60ème anniversaire. Old Slavic. Toporov85.86 In the light of all this. a mennykő és a tehenek.La Haye. Ivanov . ed.: Le sabbat des sorciers XVe-XVIIIe siècles (Jérome Millon. the ecstatic elements in the witches' revelry. 86
Éva Pócs. Néprajzi Kutatóintézet. Central European and Balkan regions. V. "The Slavic God 'Veles' and His Indo-European Cognates" Studi linguistici in onore di Vittore Pisani (Brescia. Having made this assumption--which is likely to be controversial for a long time to come--let me return to the second question: can we show any correlation between these vague traces of shamanism and the ecstatic visionaries of the late Middle Ages. "Le mythe indo-européen du dieu de l'orage poursuivant le serpent: reconstruction du schéma". 23-31. Paris . and respectively.V. Folklór és tradíció VII. "A kígyó. Bp.
however. Berkeley/Los Angeles/Oxford. The Cult of the Saints. typological correlation. This feature of the cult of the saints was emphasised by Peter Brown. he summarily rejects the idea. Chicago. In both cases. Heilige oder Hexen? p. in idem. Contemplating the issue in this light. however. The first part of the question. noting that significant analogies notwithstanding. but even mysticism to be a fresh variant of Eurasian shamanism?"87 Without really examining the possibility. the notion of a correlation would require that we show the existence of a historical continuity between the late medieval visionaries and the ancient Germanic religion. sondern auch der mystischen Phänomene als jüngere Sonderformen des eurasischen Schamanismus interpretieren". however. we are dealing with a mechanism for warding off misfortune and influencing the supernatural based on placing the community under the protection of a patron living in its midst. Society and the Holy in Late Antiquity (University of California Press. plays (or is thought to play) in his/her own community. "The Rise and Function of the Holy Man in Late Antiquity". the sorcerer figure. is unanswered as yet. there is no trace of mysticism in all the Early Middle Ages. As I see it.88 Operating with the categories of the Anglo-Saxon school of anthropology. Alas. pp. entitled “Saints or witches? The fate of notorious women in the Middle Ages and in Early Modern Times”.
. 1981).27 ingredients originating from the fairy mythology and the "shamanistic
substratum". we could try to find a more general. salvaged to find their way into the medieval demonological stereotype of the witches’ alliance with the devil. we could discover considerable typological similarities between shamanism and the Christian cult of saints. 293. Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (The University of Chicago Press.
Peter Brown. 1982). and interpret not only certain elements of witchcraft. In his recently published book. says he. primarily as found in Edward
"Man könnte die These Ginzburgs weiterspinnen und nicht nur einen Teil des hexerischen Tuns. a person with supernatural power to protect it from outside harm and work miracles on its behalf. Peter Dinzelbacher raises the question: "Can we carry Ginzburg's thesis a bit further. 103-152. one whose point of departure is the role that the possessor of supernatural power. Dinzelbacher. idem.
92 this is well exemplified by the public miracles St. the saint simply "stole the show". The movements for religious revival. Evans-Pritchard. 45-64. so that people lost interest in previous methods of averting misfortune which were based on discovering "the enemy within". A Pattern of Centripetal and Centrifugal Orientations”.91 and on "cleansing" the community by finding scapegoats and hunting for witches.
On these accusations see A. Harmondsworth. 28-50. (ed.). 18-20.
. in my The Uses of Supernatural Power.
Witches are described as "traitors within the gates" by Philip Mayer "Witches". Oracles and Magic among the Azande (Oxford. Pierre-André Sigal.
Cf. Oracles and Magic among the Azande. 17-45. Bernard worked in 1146-47 in Cologne. 1970). however. in: Mary Douglas. 385410. the orthodox and heterodox personifications of the vita apostolica. pp. pp. and the positive example of his/her godly life.
Historia miraculorum S. as well as itinerant preachers of unimpeachable orthodoxy of the likes of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. in: Max Marwick (ed. 100-125. "Sorcery. the idealised subject of legends. L'homme et le miracle dans la France médiévale (XIe-XIIe siècle). Selected Readings (Penguin. namely. "The Survival of Magic Arts". the spectacular ability to cast out devils. 1970). Throughout much of the Middle Ages. Demons and the Rise of Christianity from Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages". my article “Religious Movements and Christian Culture.28 Evans-Pritchard's Witchcraft. pp.93 With the advent of the mendicant
Edward E. 185 coll. From the twelfth century on. (Cerf.89 Brown
shows that the cult of the miracle-working saints in the Christian communities of late antiquity gradually came to overshadow the techniques for warding off misfortune customary at the time. ibid. Witchcraft Confessions and Accusations (Tavistock. Witchcraft. pp.). Paris. 1937).). The Conflict between Paganism and Christianity in the Fourth Century (Oxford. 410-416. Bernardi in itinere germanico patratorum. He/she simply won over the audience of the traditional experts of “magic” matters. there is one more thing that we need to keep in mind. the cult of the saints was based on miracles worked by the deceased saint's relics: the charismatic "holy man" of late antiquity referred to by Brown only survived as a literary construct. A. 1963). Norbert all tended to reawaken the sense of the holy man's supernatural authority in the popular mind. pp. Epistula ad magistrum Archenfredum. coll. Peter Brown. a perceptible change set in. the contemporary forms of accusations concerning magic and witchcraft. 1985). Witchcraft and Sorcery. Barb. in Arnaldo Momigliano (ed. London. To see the relevance of Peter Brown's work for our understanding of the cult of saints in the late Middle Ages.90 With powers received "from above". Patrologia Latina (PL).
Heilige oder Hexen ? pp. nuns. Local germs of a cult could rarely grow in these circumstances into full-fledged. 95-110. 420-426. Most of them were female visionaries of
André Vauchez. According to the statistics of Vauchez. fellow monks.
These utilitarian and at the same time communitarian aspects of late medieval sainthood have recently been stressed by Michael Goodich. La sainteté. Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press.95 The status of sainthood became thus. living a than alter Christus. between 1198 and 1431 71 canonisation investigations were started by the papcy to the initiative of local church hierarchies.
. Private Grief and Public Salvation (The University of Chicago Press. whole courts or cities) who started to venerate them as saints already during their lives. pp. more and less accessible at the same time. political and social calamities of the later Middle Ages.96 And this was not only and not even principally the aspiration of certain individuals.29 orders in the thirteenth century. disciples. Per una tipologia della santità femminile nel primo Cinquecento". in my The Uses of Supernatural Power. Cambridge. cf. 119-125. cf. 1997). and less than half of these. the saints were surrounded by a closer and a wider group of admirers (confessors. St. which did not even make it to achieve an official investigatio in their case. La sainteté. 1990). on the other hand it diminished the possibility of “autogestion” in this matter. Torino. paradoxically. to all this a large number of local cults should be added. English tr. Roma. canonised sainthood. during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there were more and more candidates for sainthood who deliberately prepared themselves for this glory. Profezie di corte e devozione femminile tra '400 e '500 (Rosenberg & Sellier. 35 reached canonisation still in the Middle Ages. Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century. "another Christ". In consequence of all this. 1995)
Gabriella Zarri. 71. Dinzelbacher. La sainteté en Occident aux derniers siècles du moyen âge. idem. pp. my "Legends as Life-Strategies for Aspirant Saints in the Later Middle Ages". and hoped from them miraculous protection in the midst of natural. they lived as if they had just stepped out of the Golden Legend. 371-445. Le sante vive.
Vauchez. Chicago-London. approved. by Jean Birell. "Le sante vive.97 These self-appointed charismatic figures were more and more frequently called "living saints" (sante vive)98 by the community. bureaucratised form of sanctification. pp. D'après les procès de canonisation et les documents hagiographiques (École française de Rome. 1981). friars. Francis of Assisi was seen by his associates as no less
monopolised by the Holy See94 contributed to provide sainthood with transparent criteria. The new. Annali dell' Istituto Storico Italo-germanico in Trento 6 (1980). the canonisation trial life of holiness became a realistic--in
fact a recommended--goal.
San Vicente Ferrer und sein literarischer Nachlass. Raymundus de Capua. Bernardino of Siena and the Social Underworld of Early Renaissance Italy (The University of Chicago Press. v. Bernardino of Siena. P. The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women (University of California Press. Holy Feast and Holy Fast. coll. too. IV/9.
Formicarius. 483. though the author does not recognize them as such. The Chancellor began to pay homage publicly to "the holy memory" of Catherine of Siena who had not yet been canonised then. 10 (Münster.103 referring to them as God's new "prophets". 1924). 584-959. 1994). Rudolph Bell. Pierre de Vaux. Colette de Corbie (1381-1447).99 In Nider's Formicarius.30 the likes of Angela of Foligno (12481309). Catherine of Siena (1348-80). 1999). Vorreformationsgeschichtliche Forschungen. La sainteté . p. Chicago-London. Colette de Corbie (1381-1447). Legenda maior. we find them. 1985). how this "domina tantae sanctitatis" lifted her arms in supplication and converts sinners and unbelievers for all the world to see. 1987). He read aloud a part of her legend written by Raymond of Capua. "Living saints" were the chief actors on the local religious scene from the end of the thirteenth century on. AA SS Aprilis Tom III. et notes par Elizabeth Lopez (Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne. Vincent Ferrer102 and St. (Publications de l’Université de Saint-Etienne. and St. Formicarius. transcr. Caroline Walker Bynum. the ambassador of the Prince of Savoy started to recount the miracles worked in Gaul by the Mother General of the Poor Clares. IV/9. Venezia 1738.ö. IV/9.104
More on the sources concerning these saints in Vauchez. St. Culture et sainteté. St. Berkeley/Los Angeles. The Preacher’s Demons. Vie de Soeur Colette.London. noting "how many sinners this virgin had managed to convert in Italy". p. Intr. Nor is Nider so much of a sceptic that he does not adduce his own examples of "good" mystics. Bridget of Sweden (1303-79). Formicarius. St. p. Elizabeth Lopez. 484. Vita Sanctae Catharinae Senensis.100 On hearing this. Holy Anorexia (The University of Chicago Press.101 Nider also mentions here two famous preachers of the age. 1994). Claire of Montefalco (1268-
Cf. at the meeting of the German Electors and the Emperor Sigismund in 1428. Franco Mormando. Chicago . 486. He recounts a conversation he heard when he was still prior at Nurnberg. Sigismund Brettle. And yet there is no doubt that Magdalen of Fribourg and the stigmatised ascetic of Radolfzell could be classified as living saints.
Vauchez. pp. Fragmentation and Redemption. their self-mortification. Ein Leben im Spannungsfeld von Dominikanerobservanz und Beginenstreit. the model suggested by the Book of Prophets. Johannes Mulberg OP († 1414). a radically new form of the cult of saints. and revelations)107. along with three hundred others. Berlin. on hearing that it was by the church. 160-219. eadem. visions. New York. What is so new here is not primarily the relationship between the charismatic leader and his/her immediate followers: we encounter this also in the early Middle Ages. 1989). He tells of a churchman called Nicolaus who joined the ranks of the pilgrims from the area who sought out Buken to solicit her advice on matters spiritual and practical. Pratiques et expériences religieuses (Cerf. 163. After a hiatus of several hundred years. The priest--who himself recounted the story to Nider--soon rued the fact that he did not heed her warning. about her see Sabine von Heusinger. 1991)
.). Holy Feast and Holy Fast. 183-184. Neue Folge Band 9 (Akademie Verlag. Les laïcs au moyen âge. in fact. idem. pp. and the classical legends of the saints. Bynum. eadem. Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Dominikanerordens. p. p. the extreme asceticism of their fasting.106 Historians in the last few years have noted the cult of "living saints" that developed in the high Middle Ages. and burned his house down. the Gospels. about whom Nider tells an anecdote meant to illustrate that "there are those who use their gifts to benefit others". for soon thereafter a great fire swept through that part of town. but have been hesitant to assert the conclusion that we see here. II/1. II/2. and Buken. Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion (Zone Books. and it is best to heed what they say. revered "by all Basel as a living sanctuary" (vivo sanctuario)105. New York. 2001). "The Female Body and Religious Practice in the Later Middle Ages". Part 1. we again find religious communities grouped around the person of a saint with supernatural powers and in direct touch with God. in Michel Feher et als.
Formicarius. she warned him that a catastrophe was about to strike the people living in that part of the town. Fragments for a History of the Human Body (Zone. 427-446. and in the monastic communities and religious movements of the eleventh to the
Formicarius. 6. (eds. Paris. Bell. pp. 1987). Buken asked him where he lived. Holy Anorexia. La sainteté.31 The Formicarius also mentions several local examples: Adelheid of
Mulberg. the sancta foemina living the life of a recluse near the house of the Teutonic Knights. and have analysed the novelty of this form of holiness (the motif of their mystical marriage to Christ.
of ecstasy. telling the future. the stage was set for the would-be saint to become--in Aviad Kleinberg's apt Biblical allusion--"a prophet in his own country". and the shaman.32 thirteenth centuries. and the foretelling of catastrophes). groaning. 1992). crying. Prophets in Their Own Country. In both cases. The public. on the other. Both had to produce some visible evidence to corroborate the accounts of their doings in the spirit world. Nider's catalogue of the peculiar things that he knew to have happened to people in a trance--sweating. demanded some visible physical evidence of these soul journeys. but also to the danger of attacks from evil ones. p. Shamans--and their Central-European counterparts--were wont to show off the wounds received in the course of battles waged in the spirit world. to establish and safeguard their prestige within the community. We even find parallels among the means used by the "living saint" on the one hand. The novelty in the high Middle Ages was a change
generated by the Christian laity of the time. In
Aviad M. who seem not to have been satisfied with access only to the relics of their dead patron saints. (The University of Chicago Press. or the solution of more concrete. the followers. and display the bruises from the blows they had endured. calling out. but also to a shaman's public trance.108 It is at this point that the remote analogy of shamanism becomes useful. they also wanted "living saints" in their midst. seizures. the benevolent possessor of supernatural powers lives within the community and serves its interests. and can expose the entranced person not only to good spirits. 141. and can serve either the needs of the community at large (with revelations. the journey the soul undertakes during the ecstasy can lead through the land of the dead. contact with the supernatural is achieved in the form of a trance. "Shamanistic".109 There is some scattered medieval evidence about the corporeal signs of what happened to visionaries while in trance. individual problems (as in the case of cures). Kleinberg. Chicago-London. In both cases. In both cases.
. This being so. Living Saints and the Making of Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages. prophecies. heightened sexuality--show it to have been a phenomenon akin not only to demonic possession. Klaniczay. fainting.
110 In Nider’s lifetime. "Essai critique sur l'histoire des stigmatisations au Moyen Age".2 (1936). for instance.112 More significantly. 1 (1999). the
eighth century abbot. Francesco e l'invenzione delle stimmate. pp. 668. pp. after his death. the mortal wounds of the suffering Christ.). whose vision of the afterlife left him with scars on his shoulders. 13-39. pp. Études Carmélitaines 21. Oxford Medieval Texts (Clarendon Press.
. (The most recent edition: Bertram Colgrave and R.114 St. St.33 Bede's Ecclesiastical History. A. Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. III. Cf. Francis. André Vauchez. Picturing Science. Johannes M. Höcht. How St. 1998. 1836). 22-59. 19. Oxford. Francis received his wounds during his ecstatic vision at Mount Alverna. we read of Furseus. and would show the scars of the burns she had suffered in the course of her rescue missions to Hell. 1981). 80 (1968). Mynors (eds. 101-121. Herbert Thurston. Assisi. that most original of the medieval mystics' physical manifestations. and the stigmata became known to the public only two years later. Von Franziskus zu Pater Pio und Therese Neumann. it is only Judge Peter who bore the corporeal tokens of a supernatural adventure. 113 St. on a living saint’s body. Una storia per parole e immagini fino a Bonaventura e Giotto (Einaudi. the evidence of burns suffered in the fires of Hell. or. around 1424. Torino. P. but this was his encounter with witches. Nider's accounts include references to stigmatization. Producing Art. The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism (London.
Pierre Debognie. also published in Franciscana. Francis Received the Stigmata”. London. accompanied only by Friar Leo. III. 51. solitary meditations. Considerazioni sulle stimmate. 101-124. “Miracles of Bodily Transformation. 1991). 1974). A. B.111 In Nider's stories. Gallison. 1952). Die christliche Mystik (Regensburg. “Les stigmates de saint François et leurs détracteurs dans les derniers siècles du moyen âge”. there was a female visionary living in Bourg-en-Bresse in France. above N. Arnold Davidson. 1993). 595-625. Mélanges de l'École française de Rome. because this astonishing bodily proof was usually acquired during secret. 1997. in Atti della tavola rotonda. pp. pp. and a somewhat different matter. Chiara Frugoni.
Joseph von Görres. Slaton. Catherine of Siena was also stigmatised during her solitary prayer in front of a crucifix in
Beda Venerabilis. Bonaventure University. Francis of Assisi: A Critical Investigation in the Light of Thirteenth-Century Sources. Jones.
Ottavian Schmucki. who boasted of having saved a number of souls from perdition. New York. was surrounded by intensive doubts and passionate debates after the famous case of St. Eine Geschichte der Stigmatisierten (Pattloch. Aschaffenburg/Stein am Rhein. Historia Ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. (The Franciscan Institute. The Stigmata of St. The miraculous appearance of stigmata. A. in C. Giovanni Miccoli.
in full separation from the outside world. Christian in Pisa. secretly. Rivista di iconografia medievale e moderna.
Cf. desperate as she is to establish her supernatural status within a sceptical community. We see the same kind of motivation at work in the case of the old woman who greased herself with witch's ointment before the eyes of the incredulous Dominicans. Besides his own reservations. in some measure. and offers a good illustration of the new social dimensions of the status of the "living saint". the description of this unsuccessful process of stigmatisation also betrays a significant difference from earlier such events. Vita Sanctae Catharinae Senensis. The chance she took has much in common with Magdalene of Fribourg's physical disappearance for days on end while in "ecstasy". and to modestly hide this
privilege. As such. Thus it was that the stigmata. in 1375. came to be considered as the most convincing pledge of mystical union with Him.116 As the story of the thwarted recluse of Radolfzell shows.
.115 Other late medieval cases of stigmatisation were also described to have occurred during the night. my recent study.34 the Chapel of St. and finally the public ostentation of her bleeding stigmata. however. 910. and the ecstatic saints tried. 16-31. Iconographica. “Le stigmate di santa Margherita d’Ungheria: immagini e testi”. Nider regards such accounts of stigmatisation with considerable scepticism. to lend weight to her testimony of engaging in night flights with Diana. She challenges fate and takes the risk of incurring public ridicule. her inviting an audience to witness her self-predicted death. The recluse makes a public announcement of the impending mystic event. to satisfy this new demand. (if we credit to the above quoted hagiographic account about it). she obtained the favour from Christ to make her wounds invisible. the more the religious public of the fifteenth century demanded visible and publicly verifiable evidence of the miraculous and of the supernatural. col. outward signs of true bodily identification with the suffering Christ. The more doubt there was in people's minds as to things spiritual. it was something to which
Raimundus de Capua. the visible. and goes into a trance to await its coming--under the inquisitive eyes of the assembled would-be witnesses. pp. 1 (2002).
They wanted the doctor to keep his fingers on Magdalene's pulse. And with their own eyes they wanted to see the old woman ride away with Diana. uses this same expression120). col. esp. in Peter Dinzelbacher and Dieter R. 983c. Trance. where it comes into direct contact with the world of the supernatural. Religiöse Frauenbewegung und mystische Frömmigkeit im Mittelalter (Böhlau. cf. as for the visionary experiences during the ecstasy. Oehl. 28.
.35 most fifteenth-century "living saints" aspired.118 The requirement that mystical experience be substantiated with physical evidence--the desire for that " bloodiest likeness" (allerblůtigiste glicheit) as the fourteenth-century Beguine. The unconscious body--usually inert. 353-372. DS. p. In hierarchiam coelestem. col. 361-366. Deutsche Mystikerbriefe. pp. With their own eyes they wanted to witness the spontaneous appearance of stigmata on the hands and feet of the zealous nun lying inert in her cell. Bauer (ed. Osanna Andreasi. Jahrhunderts am Beispiel der Elsbeth von Oye".
Zarri. which is the most significant outward sign of ecstasy in shamanism. 2. and report whether her life really was ebbing away at the selfprophesied time. Nider.
Hugo de Sancto Victore. Caterina da Racconigi. PL 175. 521. "Sante vive" presents several such fifteenth century saints is detail: Stefana Quinzani. Elsbeth von Oye. "Leidensmystik in dominikanischen Frauenklöstern des 14. 3. 1988). Peter Ochsenbein. The trouble was that anyone could simulate the immobility--or convulsions--of the classical state of trance (as Nider points out repeatedly). but possibly shaken by convulsions. 2113. it is carried away (rapta) into a higher sphere. as we have seen. called the finality of self-castigation in her autobiography119--was self-contradictory when related to the traditional notions of the nature of trance. that is a "secret" on which the community's only information is his own subsequent report.117 and which Nider's
Magdalene of Fribourg was also proud to have attained. as they put it from the twelfth century on. as if possessed--is insensible to all outside physical stimuli. the religious "public" of the early fifteenth century wanted additional concrete proof. can be described as follows: The soul of a person in trance is alienated from his/her body (ecstasim id est mentis excessum. Köln/Wien. N. as in Christianity.). for Nider cf. Lucia da Narni.
the work as a whole is a concrete step toward bringing mystical experience and demonic visions. In sum. in these very decades. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. a táltos. rational point of view. to the rejection of the early medieval dogma formulated in the Canon episcopi to the effect that the actual. by Nider's own account. The unsettled climate of religious debate of the first decades of the fifteenth century. or a devil-worshiper witch. it would not have occurred to anyone to simply laugh at the old "witch"--who. physical flight of witches was no longer considered to be an impossibility. but very much on the contrary.36 Within the framework of the traditional shamanistic system of
beliefs. for a better understanding of his ideas I have to review this context briefly. however. it was just the opposite. and for passing sentence on a benandante. but time and again in Formicarius. In fact. credible statements or confessions of personal experiences would have been sufficient grounds for accepting the reality of a soul journey. and suspends his critical faculty.
DISCRETIO SPIRITUUM Since Nider was not alone with his hesitations. The "evidence" thus extracted did much to fan the overall climate of anxiety into the full-blown hysteria of the early modern witch hunts. he confesses his uncertainty. Nider himself stands on the boundary of the two traditions. It was in order to come up with evidence sufficient to satisfy the hypercritical that the early modern courts put such pressure on the accused that there was little they would not confess to on the rack. sanctity and witchcraft to a new kind of common denominator. he fitted very well into the set of contemporary debates concerning the supernatural. His reason inclines him to represent the sceptical. had been in a regular state of trance--for claiming that "only" her soul had been away. I am convinced that it was precisely this inordinately critical attitude that led. called for something else: the physical substantiation of such supernatural experiences. One might think that this would have been a process conducive to the eventual triumph of rationalism. Two kinds of traditions have to be invoked here: the growing animosities against late medieval living
burnt at stake in 1307: she asserted that she was “pregnant by the Holy Spirit” (sui asserunt eam esse gravidam de Spiritu Sancto). lead by a female pope called Mayfreda Pirovano were burnt as well. "Dal sacrificio al maleficio. 1999). Fra Dolcino. In the course of this it was decided to burn the earthly remains of Guglielma. and the incarnation of the Holy Spirit. 289-304. Archivio italiano per la storia della pietà. "Il movimento del Libero Spirito: I. Tocco. Her followers.).
Raniero Orioli. 4 (Roma. 39-51.122 An unusual from of “mystical betrothal” was claimed by Margherita. pp. As for the former. in the
André Vauchez. Women Writers of the Middle Ages. Dinora Corsi. pp. 1991). (Edizioni Biblioeca Francescana. the Vallonian Beguine. Oxford. Milano. a similar claim was voiced by Prous Boneta. 5 Series 8 (Roma 1899). pp. 1955). the testimony of Prous Boneta was edited by W. Marina Benedetti (ed. 437-469. Essays in Medieval Life and Thought (New York.). pp. Stephen Wessley. Studi Storici.
Romana Guarnieri. May. "The Thirteenth-century Guglielmites: Salvation through Women". 8-62. to Marguerite
. 407-432.121 the historiography of the past decade has provided us with a series of detailed studies in this matter.. Milano 1300: I processi inquisitoriali contro le devote e i devoti di santa Guglielma (Scheiwiller. storiche e filologiche. Manuel de l'Inquisiteur (Belles Lettres. Marguerite Porète. in Derek Baker. 309-342. 1988).. "Il processo dei Guglielmiti" Real Accademia dei Lincei. pp. the southern French Beguine during her trial in 1324. pp. Peter Dronke. author of the Miroir des simples âmes. 1965). La donna e il sacro nell'eresia e nella stregoneria". Bernard Gui. Io non sono Dio. 3-30. a female prophet who died in 1282 and claimed to be the daughter of the Czech King. Dalle origini al secolo XVI. Rendiconti. "La nascita del sospetto". Quaderni medievali. II. H. 1998). was burnt at the Place de Grève. The trial of the Guglielmites in Milan in 1300 was the firs serious blow against the female version of the new mendicant ideal. Ottacar Přemysl I. in J. Il movimento Apostolico-Dolciniano Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo. Milano. and the
theological treatises responding to this malaise. memorie della classe di scienze morali. Appendici". Finzione e santità tra medioevo ed età moderna (Rosenberg & Sellier. Guglielma di Milano e i Figli dello Spirito santo. A Critical Study of Texts from Perpetua (†203). Torino. the companion of the North Italian heretic leader. Medieval Women. 284-287. Venit perfidus heresiarcha.124 In 1318-19. in Gabriella Zarri (ed. 30 (1990). urban religious culture was torn by passionate quarrels with heretics and unexpected fervour caused by new religious upheavals. 193-196 (Roma. (ed. Paris.). A brief enumeration can illustrate the earlier history of the phenomena described by Nider. Mundy et al. 1978). 1978). II.123 In 1310. Marina Benedetti.37 saints manifesting themselves in visions and revelations. Il "Miroir des simples âmes" di Margherita Porete. SCH Subsidia (Blackwell. 351-384. In the late thirteenth century. the “birth of suspicion”.
1984). pp. pp. Brigitta of Sweden.). 1989).
Timoteo M. pp." Sacred Image East and West (Champaign--Urbana. Cambridge. "The appreciation of Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373). in Marguerite Tjadel Harris (ed. Henry Suso. Archivio Storico Italiano 147 (1989). in: Idem (ed. pp. Il processo di canonizzazione di Chiara da Montefalco (Regione dell'Umbria/"La Nuova Italia" Editrice. 435-436. cf. Ochsenbein. The Exemplar. New York/Mahwah. the heresy of the Free Spirit behind the apparent exemplary orthodoxy. by Albert Ryle Kezel. Auke Jelsma.
Dinora Corsi. now also in his The Visual and the Visionary. Centi: "Un processo inventato di sana pianta".). 1986). in Dinzelbacher . “Introduction”. Dinzelbacher.125 The widely known presence of these suspicions is also attested by some of the spiritual leaders of these religious women: Henry Suso (1295-1366)126 or Venturino da Bergamo (1304-46)127 who had serious worries that the extreme practices of self-torture and flagellation could eventually lead to “simulated sanctity”. "La nascita del sospetto". Katharina". Brigitta. Tore Nyberg. pp. "The Liber miraculorum of Unterlinden. Bell. Perugia/Firenze. Milano. S. 13-51. pp. Hamburger. 1994).38 canonisation trial of Saint Clare of Montefalco a Franciscan friar voiced
“severe doubts” concerning the arma Christi miraculously found in the heart of Clare after her death. p. supplemented by a much more important conflict.
Enrico Menestò (ed. (Cambridge University Press. however. "La 'crociata ' di Venturino da Bergamo nella crisi spirituale di metà Trecento". Lo Specchio delle anime semplici. Centuries.
. 183-196. 26-28. "Leidenmystik". the Great Schism. (Paulist Press. 1984). All this was in their case. 279-315.). pp. Romana Guarnieri and Marco Vannini (eds. 162-170. mental illness and epilepsy behind the mystic raptures. Vauchez.Bauer. Religiöse Frauenbewegung. 23-25. Holy Anorexia. 39-56. Caterina fra i dottori della chiesa (Firenze. XIV-XVII. The Hague. 697--747. Life and Selected Revelations. 1970). tr. cf.). in the 15th century" in Elisja Schulte van Kessel. Jeffrey R. A Meeting of South and North (Netherland's Government Publishing Office. 163-176. Giovanna Fozzer. 1998). Saint Bridget of Sweden129 and Saint Catherine of Siena130 had to confront this set of suspicions as well. cf. where both living saints used their charismatic authority to put pressure on the pope to return to Rome. disguised gluttony behind the ascetic fasting. "Das politische Wirken der Mystikerinnen in Kirche und Staat: Hildegard. 44. Heilige oder Hexen? pp. (San Paolo.128 The most acclaimed mystical saints of the second half of fourteenth century. 1990). His accusations sound familiar: simulated piety. 1995). pp. New York. pp. pp. 194. 265-302. Women and Men in Spiritual Culture. Oehl. (ed.). Deutsche Mystikerbriefe.131 The amplification of such mystical interventions into ecclesiatical politics made the debates concerning the
Porete (†1310). The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York. Vauchez. with two German sermons. "La nascita del sospetto". Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany (Zone Books.
De inspirationum discretione sermo III.39 authenticity of revelations a central problem in the times of the Great
Schism (1378-1417). Die christliche Mystik.” and a sudden earthquake also helped her to be cleared of the infamous charges. André Vauchez. again two popes (John XXIII.e. then she paid a visit to Clement VII in Avignon. The cardinals of the latter accused her of witchcraft. 112. in idem. put a “crazy confidence” into the prophecies in his favour. 727. VI. Dinzelbacher.135 After three popes (Gregory IX. Richard Kieckhefer. in AA SS.
Nider also begins the series of
“false apparitions” in the third book of Formicarius by deploring that Petrus de Luna i. 453-454. "L'Église face au mysticisme et au prophétisme aux derniers siècles du Moyen Age". Benedict XIV. p. 259-265. they became the subject of a lengthy discussion at the Council of Constance (1414-18). pp.
On these debates see Rosalyn Voaden. 1377. 1391) declared them orthodox. Les laïcs pp. She first made a pilgrimage to Rome and visited Boniface IX. I.
. cf. Vita. in: S. one of the three rival popes before the Council of Constance. Boniface IX. 267. 1. The Discernement of Spirits in the Writing of Late-Medieval Women Visionaries (York Medieval Press—Boydell Press. A good example in this respect is Ursula of Parma (1375-1408). "The holy and the unholy: sainthood. Ursula answered with dignity: “I do not rely upon the malefices of the devil. Women’s Voices. vol. col. Simon de Zanachiis.. 1959). A commission headed by Cardinal Juan de Torquemada had to clear Bridget of the charge of having made 123 statements
"Maleficiis diaboli non utor.134 This background provides some explanation for why the revelations of Saint Bridget stirred such a debate even after her death.133 All this is well summed up by Bernardino of Siena: “We are filled with prophecies up to being sick of them” (Vaticiniis usque ad nauseam repleti sumus). Urban V.
"in praedictam Prophetiam fatue confidens". Görres. witchcraft. but the debates were stirred up again at the Council of Basel (1431-1443). In two. 1419) declared them to be canonical. 73107. 360. vol. 287. God’s Words. cf. Heilige oder Hexen? p. but implore heartily the blessing of Lord Jesus Christ to your souls. 1. The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 24 (1994). Bernardini Senensis Opera Omnia (Quaracchi/Florence. subsequently beatified. 225. 1999). 1415 and Martin V. and thus end the Schism. who made an attempt to mediate between the two popes. p. and magic in late medieval Europe". sed beneficiis Domini nostri Jesu Christi pro animarum vestrarum salute fungor". Woodbridge. Apr. Formicarius II/1. then three concurrent papal courts the weapons of biting polemics had been directed mostly against the prophets and visionaries of the other party. pp. p.
Roma. (ed. d’André Vauchez (École Française de Rome. pp. “Beholding Men’s Members: The Sexualizing of Transgression in The Book of Margery Kempe”. London.1990). (= Mélanges de l'École Française de Rome. Mystics Quarterly.
. 175-191. 25 (1999) # 4. P. Ithaca. “Écoute et usage des prophéties par les prélats pendant le Grand Schisme d’Occident”. 1974). by Peter Biller and A. Butler-Bowdon. in Siena e il suo territorio nel rinascimento. W. Minnis (York Medieval Press – Boydell Press. The Book and the World of Margery Kempe (Cornell U. God’s Words. one should not marvel at the success of Joan of Arc († 1431). by R. Devin-Adair. 1983). Woodbridge. which in 1461 superated the adversities concerning her canonisation. “Constance de Rabastens: Politics and visionary experience in the time of the Great Schism”. 1997). Chambers (Cape. J. fourteen hundred & thirty six.Imelda Foralosso (eds. intr. “Catherine of Siena and the Dominican Order”. which she used as a real weapon of war. 109-154. New York 1944). in Dinzelbacher and Bauer (ed. Sabine von Heusinger. Siena. 1936. Il processo castellano (Milano. Renaissance Siena and its territory. Hélène Millet. "Dorothea von Montau: Wahrnehmungsweisen von Kindheit und Eheleben einer spätmittelalterlichen Heiligen". Atkinson. imprisonment. in Medieval Theology and the Natural Body. pp. pp. Thomas Antonii de Senis "Caffarini": Libellus de supplemento. At the same time she had to face charges of heresy and witchcraft besides being revered
M. ed. Laurent. sous la dir.40 of heretical nature. Rosalyn Voaden. Clarissa W. patronised by the mighty Dominican Order.-H. Vauchez. In France debates were stirred by the visions of Constance de Rabastens (1384-85) and Marie-Robine (1398). Religiöse Frauenbewegung. 1990).). Iuliana Cavallini . Although the sainthood and the revelations of
Catherine of Siena. pp. Mystic and Pilgrim. her canonisation still met unexpected obstacles. 1942). Roma. 102 -. in: Les textes prophétiques et la prophétie en Occident (XIIe-XVIe siècle). pp. Pius II. holy women like Dorothy of Montau (1347-1394)137 or Margery Kempe (cca 1373-1439)138 had to face continuous harrassment. 373-394. ed.139 Having contemplated all this. She relied upon the charismatic power of female sainthood. Mario Ascheri (Edizioni il Leccio. 43-51.. Legende prolixe virginis beate Catherine de Senis (Edizioni Cateriniane.). and charges of heresy. pp. 425-455 .
Elisabeth Schraut. were much less problematic.
The Book of Margery Kempe.136 Around the turn of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.). 278-279. eadem. 2000). Tommaso Caffarini tried in vain to provoke an official investigation (Processo castellano). and these debates had been renewed around the strange prophecies of Jeanne-Marie de Maillé (1331-1414) at her 1415 canonisation trial in Tours. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinsky. It was only the patriotism of the Siennese pope. Les laïcs au moyen âge. 147-168. a modern version by W.
cf. 12. in: Les textes prophétiques. 188-191. New York. The validity of these new sources of divine authority could not be adjudicated by traditional arguments of authority or rational reasoning. "Discretio spirituum" Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Spiritualität”. marginal or even lay authorities who tried to make reference to independent sources of the divine wisdom: prophecies. De civitate Dei. pp.: Apparitions in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain (Princeton University Press. Weimar. Theologie und Philosophie 47 (1972).143 The problem was again discussed by two founding fathers of medieval Latin Christianity. revelations. I. 16. 3676.. Dinzelbacher. 162. The whole of contemporary Christianity was divided
over the question of whether her revelations were of an angelic or diabolical nature.8. The Early Debate (The Boydell Press. 10.
André Vauchez. 4. one can see very well that the topic itself became popular whenever the guardians of ecclesiastical dogma were confronted with external. 11. 2000). “Alii datur per spiritum sermo sapientiae. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism. Christian. 251-25. Deborah A. Joan of Arc. 4.141 If one examines the medieval cases. . Jeanne d’Arc. this kind of problem presented itself with the visions among Egyptian monks and hermits of the third and fourth centuries. Sabine Tanz. 577-588. 24.140 These debates gave a new vigour to a theme of theology traditionally discussed since New Testament times. Confessiones. Conlationes.
Augustinus. Günter Switek. "Les théologiens face aux prophéties à l'époque des papes d'Avignon et du Grand Schisme". Princeton. Fraioli. the discernment of spirits (discretio spirituum). 16-22. 1981). DS Vol. Spätmittelalterliche Mentalität im Spiegel eines Weltbildes (Böhlaus Nachvolger.41 as a prophet and a saint. 96-116. 1991). Heilige oder Hexen ? pp.8. II.144 and became a frequently debated
Marina Warner. Augustine and Gregory the Great.8). (Knopf. It had to be decided upon by a complicated casuistic mixed with intuition. Jr.” (1 Chor. 9.
. 1981). pp. William A. 122. 1254-1266.142 After the solidification of early Christian dogmatics in the work of Origen. Moralia in Iob. alii sermo scientiae. visions and apparitions. alii discretio spirituum. "Discernement des esprits". pp. De doctrina christiana 5.19. pp. this is why Johannes Cassianus (c360-430) devotes such an attention to the problem of the discretio spirituum (and his relevant writings kept on being used until the late Middle Ages). Woodbridge. Gregorius Magnus. François Vanderbrouke. III.
2) angelic. internal values. Tschacher.148 and his words refer in fact to two of the most famous works written in this subject: the "De IV instinctibus" of Heinrich von Friemar149 and the treatise of the leading intellect of the new theological faculty of the Vienna University founded in 1384/85 the "De discretione spirituum" by Heinrich von Langenstein (Henricus de Hassia) (1325-1397). 2) humility. Heinrichs von Langenstein ›Unterscheidung der Geister‹ lateinisch und deutsch. Each one of these is to be recognised by further combination of triple or quadruple clusters of indices. Da Enrico di Langenstein a Gerson”. “Il silenzio di Dio e la voce dell’anima. Quartalschr. and its early German translation can be credited to its simple and easily perceivable structure. 346-353. Anna Morisi Guerra. “The Physiology of Rapture”. and 4) the inclination for the wealth of virtues. Alma Mater Rudolphina 1365-1965. 40 (1932). the medieval evolution of the concepts is well presented by Elliott. Sermo de discretione spirituum. IV-V. and the newly founded university of Vienna (1365) became one of the principal centres of these discussions. 4) natural. pp. PL 183. Thomas Hohmann. 105-176. Zürich-München. 210. The “divine” instinct for instance is to be detected in 1) the sequel of Christ. 151-156.
Konrad Josef Heilig.146 These traditions gained a new vigour at the beginning of the fourteenth century. 1977).
Richardus de Sancto Victore. pp. Cristianesimo nella storia 17 (1996). who moved there from Paris and finished his treatise in 1388. 155-183. the list of the Mss. PL 196 coll. 150 The popularity of the treatise by Heinrich von Friemar. Formicarius. pp. Cassiciacum 32 (Würzburg. 602. 393-413. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. 3) the turning from the outside towards the inside. 3) diabolical. Warnock. p. The four “angelic” indices provide twelfth century religious reform
movements who had a mystical sensitivity. "Kritische Studien zum Schrifttum der beiden Heinriche von Hessen" Röm. 21-26.
Adolar Zumkeller -. pp. Texte und Untersuchungen zu Übersetzungsliteratur aus der Wiener Schule (Artemis. such as Bernard of Clairvaux145 or Richard
Bernhardus Clarevallensis. pp.42 topic among various representatives of of St.Robert G. II/5.: pp. vel de discretione spirituum tractatus". Die Wiener Universität und ihre Studenten (Wien. Franz Gall. Victor.
. De gratia contemplationis ("Benjamin minor"). col. Der Traktat Heinrichs von Friemar über die Unterscheidung der Geister. He distinguishes four “instincts” or rather dispositions: 1) divine.147 Nider does mention these debates: "vidi magnos Theologie Doctores fecisse de instinctibus. 280-282. Discerning Spirits. 1965). Caciola. 1977).
A decade later. pp. cf. Nider mentions his name with the true reverence of a disciple: "recolendae & sancte memoriae Mag.152 The starting point of Heinrich von Langenstein was fairly similar to that of Nider. i. apparently made an even a bigger effect upon him. 65-66.153
I rely in this outline of Friemar’ treatise upon the account of Hohmann. Henricus de Hassia. 5-
9. his second pamphlet on Telesphorus is published in H. More than this. Biberach is published in A. “Écoute et usage des prophéties”. 3637. (Augsburg. 27-31. 8. Peltier. whereas the twice four indices of the “diabolical”
instinct represent a systematic negation and antithesis of the “divine” and the “angelic” indices. Vauchez. precisely those two convents where Nider had been prior for some time. written in 1382-83 had been provoked by contemporary debates around prophecies and revelations which. made him decide to compile and analyse a list of the relevant ecclesiastical authors on the discretio spirituum.e. pp. containing the oldest translation of the treatise by Heinrich von Langenstein. it is worth mentioning that two out of its four oldest manuscript copies belonged to the Dominicans at Basel and Nuremberg. vol. Millet. and also the one of Heinrich von Friemar. vol. Heinrich von Langenstein’s work. Telesphorus of Cosenza (Invectiva contra quemdam eremitam de ultimis temporibus vaticinantem nomine Telesphorum). Pez. he could make a more concrete use of these arguments. C. Heinrichs von Langenstein. Hohmann. 393-482.151 Even this short outline can indicate that it was Friemar’s popular classification which served as a point of departure for Nider in the development of his own taxonomy of dreams and apparitions. S.43 similar positive drives. Brand. I.
The De discretione spirituum could have relied in this upon the work of Rudolf of Biberach De septem itineribus aeternitatis. if one tries to measure the impact of the work of Hebry of Langenstein. Bonaventurae Opera Omnia (Paris. pp. this same Ms. 1721). p. Studien zu Johannes Niders deutschen Schriften. Heinrichs von Langenstein. written sometime between 1345 and 1360. Finally. Formicarius I/10. in a pamphlet written in 1392 against the most controversial visionary authority of his age. also contains a popular German language work by Johannes Nider: 24 goldene Harfen. Morisi Guerra. It in the Carthusian monastery of Nördlingen. “Les théologiens”. pp.
. pp.. 396-399. 505-564. Heinrichs von Langenstein. “Il silenzio di Dio”. sacrae paginae professor".Hohmann. however. 123. his treatise. the ambivalent group of “natural” instincts is characterised in itself by a similar antagonism (divided into two triads) between the opposed tendencies of natura and gratia. Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus. pp. 1866). pp. cf. cf. that an early German manuscript was preserved.
".. 62. as well as the following warning of Heinrich von Langenstein: “we should be on our guards and not believe immediately and easily those homines spirituales. a bono vel malo spiritu supernaturaliter moveatur. “For it is very hateful in the eyes of God. cui deus dedit rationem. the vision certainly came from an
"Patet ergo non esse cito et leviter credendum homini spirituali. Heinrichs von Langenstein. 58-60. "ne homo in fatuam deducatur credulitatem et aestimationem de se et de continua circa se supernaturali actione dei et spirituum bonorum vel malorum.. quae ei quasi inopinatae occurrunt.". He protests against this attitude. who plunge into their fantasy and contemplation while working. quod in omnibus impulsibus quos sentit vel in omnibus. and he admonishes with passion reliance upon humana ratio. when he comes to a more concrete distinction between good or bad spirits we have to observe with some embarrassment that he is still a child of his age: his strategy for the evaluation of supernatural phenomena seems to be rather naive. seven external. the Vienna theologian mocks with a sarcastic tone the “crazy and credulous” people who suspect with every natural occurrence “the supernatural manifestation of God or that of good or bad spirits”. pp. As we have already seen. pp. We hear of the disturbed balance of body humours. the supernatural operation of good or bad spirits”. four substantial “spirits”. (“excessus humoris”). even unwillingly. a scorpion.. qui laborat continue phantasiando et contemplando.. of “marvellous imagination” originating from the excessive workings of fantasy. irrationabiliter et indiscrete procedere est deo valde odibile.”155 Still.
. of the impact of the stars. In connection with this. Hohmann. this set of categories was nearly completely adopted by Nider in his Formicarius.
It begins with a lengthy scholastic taxonomy of spirits (five internal. if the man proceeds in a foolish manner. 68. Heinrichs von Langenstein. rationally and indiscreetly.154 Heinrich von Langenstein could be at the origin of the triple distinction made by Nider of natural causes or influences stemming from good or bad spirits. the effects of which are complemented by five further dispositions which take their origins from the natural or moral condition of the individuals).44 The treatise of Heinrich von Langestein consists of fifteen chapters. since God gave him reason. He suggests for instance basing our interpretation upon the type of things and animals appearing in the visions: if it is a snake. because man denies thus his human condition." Hohmann. a pig or a raven. cum hoc sit maxime repugnans conditioni humanis. "Quia hominem fatue. and perceive in anything that occurs to them.
.159 The most prolific writer a cloud. L.." Hohmann. a desire for fame (cap 4. p. After the treatises discussed in Vienna we should turn to the debates at the University of Paris. I Antwerpiae. First it was Pierre d'Ailly.
Petri d’Ailliaco de falsis prophetis tractatus I-II. or a lamb. p. 19-27) and consequently the danger of pride (cap. He deplores various errors of the recently converted. He labels the striving for revelations and unusual miracles is labelled as modus temptandi deum (cap.". the conclusion he arrives at is rather meagre: “if we have any doubts. cf. such as intolerance. 32-39). 1706. 4. ut in factis eorum obmittant viam et modum procedendi humanum. we can be sure that
Hohmann. so it is somewhat outside of our objective here). considerandum est. 3. where two important theologians. whether a vision or a miracle is coming from a good spirit. see Tschacher. 62. p.. 349.157 In the second half of the treatise Heinrich von Langenstein aligns a number of authorities from Aristotle.. 114. to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Heinrichs von Langenstein.
. 76. edited as an appendice in Opera omnia Johannis Gersonis. Cicero (hinted at with the Somnium Scipionis). Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. Gregory the Great.. After reviewing these varied and interesting arguments. on this series of debates at the Paris University. also extending to the problem of “superstition”.156 The treatise provides a detailed interpretation of the various manifestations of visionary and prophetic religiosity. Heinrichs von Langenstein.”158 This conclusion provides a good illustration what great difficulty contemporary theologians encountered whenever they had to decide such questions.
"aliqui tam volunt vel credunt rapi in deum. however. and he suggests approaching God in a human manner rather than with the will or the belief of falling into ecstasy. Discerning Spirits. p. which degree of the ecclesiastical hierarchy it is coming from. Caciola. an a spiritu bono sint. but if it were a dove or fire. 101-120). both chancellors of the University contributed to this subject. exaggerated asceticism and overdone eagerness for supernatural signs (cap. 4. Hugh and Richard of Saint Victor. Hohmann. 81-82). we should above all consider. Cassianus (named erroneously Cyprianus). Ellies du Pin. passing through Augustine. who wrote a passionate treatise against the "false prophets" (where he essentially aimed at the vogue of astrological prophecies. coll 489-510 and 511-603. quem statum aut gradum in ecclesiastica hierarchia habeat vel habuerit. Saint Paul. it originated from a “good spirit”.45 “evil spirit”. Heinrichs von Langenstein. ed. "Cum ergo de visionibus alicuius aut miraculis dubitatur.
cf. “Seeing Double: John Gerson. written six years ago – since my considerations point to the same direction. those who profess “true revelations” should be adorned by the same five virtues that were possessed by the Virgin Mary. whether true divine love transpires through them.14). as an alternative approach of the same perspective). III. 36-56. “Gerson and s’Ailly: An Admonition”. Glorieux (Desclée & Cie.
Cf. 74-79. (with the caput Nos I refer to the previous one and with the page numbers to the latter. the De
distinctione verarum visionum a falsis. 98. vol. but from between 1410 and 1415. John Gerson. On the other hand it is highly suspicious if visionaries publicise their revelations with curiosity and pride instead of humility.
His first treatise concerning the subject. 1.
Opera omnia Gersonis. patience. 192-197. Dyan Elliott. 43-59. was written around 1401. The Concept of Discretio Spirituum in John Gerson's "De Probatione Spirituum" and "De Distinctione Verarum Visionum a Falsis" (The Catholic University of America Press. Louvain. 1973). Francis Oakley. Brian Patrick McGuire (ed. Speculum 40 (1965). as was conventionally held. I decided to leave them unaltered here.
. pp. Paris. Reformer and Mystic (Librairie Universitaire.160 chancellor of the University of Paris. and Joan of Arc“. finally.46 in these matters was his successor as Jean Gerson (1363-1429). American Historical Review 107 (2002). 1959). 365-378 . there should be a careful investigation. It is also to be observed attentively whether the said seers are willing to accept the advice of the more experienced with discretion of whether they have the patience to wait without grumbling and rebelling until the Church gives full credit to the message received by them. 270-273.162
pp. 56. Connolly. Ellies du Pin. English translation and analysis in Paschal Boland. pp. Jean Gerson. pp. 1928). De distinctione.. And. cf. Oeuvres Complètes. pp.). New York-Mahwah. tr. where caput numbers are no more preserved). Early Works (Paulist Press. According to Gerson. 26-54 (this insightful recent analysis goes in many points further and deeper than my description here.C. the treatise is probably not from the period between 1372 and 1395. discretion. 6. Visions and Apparitions. The theologian has to find the golden middle way between two bad extremes. Washington D. pp. that is humility. whether the revelations in question are in accordance with the fundamental verities of Catholic faith. 1998). new edition by Palémon Glorieux: Jean Gerson. Christian. James L. the Discernment of Spirits.161 Gerson provides an acute exposition of the problem: the reason why one should pay so much attention to whether a prophecy or revelation has angelic or diabolical origin is that "Satan himself goes disguised as an angel of light" (2 Co. new translation in.
Gerson gives a synthetic overview of these considerations at the end of his treatise. truthfulness and love.
p. ed. 11. pp.. scepticism refusing revelations altogether and credulity accepting dreams and fantasies of the mentally disturbed.
who turn towards God or the saints with sensual passion rather than real sincere love”. about the authenticity of which Gerson was personally asked by the prior of the abbey of Saint-Deny of Reims. 1970). 1997). pp. et trad. Ermine of Reims († 1396). His close relationship with his five sisters. one can also detect in Gerson’s writings the clichés of a well routinised animosity against women: he
163 164 165
Mgr. 8386 .163 What may have disturbed Gerson was the frequent reliance upon bodily metaphors within mysticism. 1945-1948). for such associations may have seemed to him to limit the infinity of God. ed.: Champagne et Pays de Meuse (Paris. Françoise Bonney. see now Elliott. English tr. 39-44. doctoris et cancellarii.47 Reading the complex argumentation of Gerson. Entre Dieu et Satan. de vita sanctae Erminae. Philologie et Histoire. par Claude Arnaud-Gillet. This is why he grumbled with so much insistence about “those naive women. II. in McGuire. 1975). 166 Gerson wrote a cautiously positive assessment on Ermine. Jean Gerson. d’André Vauchez (SISMEL Edizioni del Galuzzo. Les visions d’Ermine de Reims († 1396) recueillies at transcrites par Jean le Graveur. t. 187-195. t. Firenze. around 1401 or 1402. 75. pp. pp. pp. Revue d’histoire Ecclésiastique. “Late medieval care and control of women: Jean Gerson and his sisters”.
. 92 (1997). Préf. pres. 21-27. “Jugement de Gerson sur deux expériences de la vie mystique: les visions d’Ermine et de Jeanne d’Arc”. 6. but he changed his mind in the subsequent decades. Ellies du Pin. in later writings he demarcated himself from his earlier fascination with such mystic women. however. Combes. 244-249 (Brian Patrick McGuire dates the letter to 1408). one can feel
that his theological awareness is struggling with an undeniable attraction to mystical sensibility. Essai sur la critique de Ruysbroeck par Gerson (Paris.
Brian Patrick McGuire. “Seeing Double”..167 Besides the theological and biographical reasons. 5-37. Actes du 95e Congrès national des sociétés savantes (Reims. ed.165 Another motivation could have been provided by the contemporary debates concerning the revelations of a pious woman.164 Gerson’s specific attention to female spirituality may have been motivated by various factors. Jean Morel. pp.. it is not by chance that he dedicated so much polemical attention to the works of Ruysbroeck.
Judicium Joannis Gersonii. his supervision of their religious careers and the eventual anxieties concerning his own role might have been some of these. A. I. De distinctione.
For an analysis of the complex background of Gerson’s hesitations concerning female mystics.
in De probatione spirituum (1415).
As supposed by Vauchez. Oeuvre doctrinale pp. Elliott. Beguines and Beghards. 367-368. 19.168 The errors of the Beguines and Beghards were also exemplified by the writings of a woman. To illustrate the unreliability of “false apparitions”.48 was the first theologian to introduce the topoi of misogynous discourse into the
debate on revelations. 180.
De probatione.. p. Vauchez. where he exemplifies the case with an "arrogantly stubborn" female visionary. But what was even more scandalous for Gerson is that she did not allow herself to be dissuaded from this practice by any kind of wise arguments. and after retelling again the scholastic quadruple classification of revelations coming from God.
.. that Gerson is basically “reworking the treatise defending the inspiration of Bridget’s revelations” by her confessor Alphonse of Pecha. 273. Oeuvres complètes. p. Vol.
Gerson. quid. and reversing its arguments with an “ad feminam twist”. Dyan Elliott explores the origins of Gersons investigating techniques : the inquisition concerning sanctity in canonisation trials and the questions suggested for the confessions. cui. the "subtle" books of Marie de Valenciennes (who might be identified with Margaret of Porete). Glorieux.. pp. . MacDonnell. Gerson narrates that she got ultimately worn out by her extreme ascetic practices and after having finished her severe fasting she always started devouring food gluttonously. “Seeing Double”. “Seeing Double”. a certain married woman in Arras. 6. 12. p. 458-476 . ed. his examples always target the typical mistakes of religious women. good spirit. 68-84. p.. 6. evil spirit and (in a "rational" or in an "animal" way) from a human being. as described in Raymond of Peñafort’s Summa de paenitentia. Dyan Elliott argues convincingly. p. 184.
Ibid. Elliott. Eventually we can detect here an allusion to Catherine of Siena . P. Les laïcs. so popular in French literary circles of the age.169 Gerson was asked to take positions again during the debates around the revelations of Saint Bridget at the Council of Constance.cf. pp.172 he arrives again and again at the problem represented by religious women. quare. The Heresy of the Free Spirit. 177-184.. p. Les laïcs. In connection with the kind of persons professing revelations he stresses that sudden religious passions may lead to specific dangers “especially with adolescents and
De distinctione. One of these is the "non-acceptance of expert advice".170 after proposing a catchy little verse about the rules of circumspect investigation (Tu quis. cf. Lerner. unde require171). IX. qualiter. 36. 45-47. 43. 273. In his new treatise.
effrenis. quia non constat eas esse sapientiae divinae cognitrices.." De probatione. De probatione. aliud. scorn her heavily.. omnis doctrina mulierum.173 As for the “public” of those revelations. especially sayings and writings concerning higher things. et multo amplius quam doctrina virorum. wanton. because they are more easily seduced.
uninhibited and therefore utterly suspect”. Gerson. and they ignore divine wisdom. Oeuvres complètes. For what would happen.49 women. it is again the relationship of women and confessors which remains the only problem to be discussed. IX. ut interim de tactu silentium sit. 32-33.. ideoque quspectus. 458-476. capriciously changing. Quare? quia levius seductibiles. whose ardour is excessive. 180.175 Speaking with Apostle Paul: “women. 50-51. non mireris quasi sanctam dignamque revelationibus atque miraculis. varius.. led on by all kinds of desires. pruriginem". who are always wanting to be taught. maxime solemnis verbo seu scripto. 7. p. p. avidus. do not praise her.. 181. Aliud etiam est garrire quae venerint ad phantasiam. and start professing as great miracles or divine
"praesertim in adolescentibus et foeminis. p. not to speak of touching”.”177 According to Gerson “already Jerome disapproved of those who wanted to learn from women what is originally taught by men. is the most sarcastic about “uncultivated. if these women would start adding visions to visions. “Do not applaud such a person. Obsiste potius. Gerson warns about the responsibility of confessors and spiritual directors.. with some vicious remarks on women “who can have no satisfaction to their eagerness for seeing and talking. Vol. increpa dure. 2. ... 3. are much more suspect than those coming from men.
. 468-469.. pp. 184.” (2 Tim.. reputanda est suspecta.. p. quarum ardor est nimius. ac sine litteris mulierculas): “Teachings coming from women. de Scripturis sacris proferre sermonem.. ". show her disdain. The De examinatione doctrinarum (1423)176. For it is a different thing to chat about things coming into one’s fantasy. do not venerate her as a saint worthy of revelations or miracles. but are incapable of reaching a knowledge of the truth..." De probatione 9. sperne eam. and again a different thing to preach about the Holy Scriptures. quia pertinacius seductrices. when the way of life of the visionary comes into question. they themselves are restless seducers.”174 And finally. Gerson’s third treatise on the matter. "non applaudas tali personae. "habet insatiabilem videndi loquendique. illiterate women” (idiotas. 22. 7).. 11." De examinatione. Stand in her way rather.. Why. non obinde laudes eam.
Glorieux. visiones quotidie super visiones addere.. P. in Gerson. stirred up by the “querelle des femmes” in connection with the Roman de la Rose. 1.. proh pudor.180. Howard Bloch.50 revelations. this classification becomes somewhat blurred: instead of joining the misogynous “party”. R.179 Yet. Dyain Elliott also underlines that we cannot find this same ad feminam attitude in the writings of Heinrich von Friemar.
troubled by epilepsy. 301-16.. His importing mysogynous arguments on the field of spiritual discernment (which he may not have endorsed in debates on vernacular literature) could be rather characterised as a strategic rhetorical device. ed.183 there was a copy of the De probatione spirituum in the library of the Basel Dominican
"Culpat Hieronymus eos. 467. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. Chicago/London. 1991).
. and here it can be observed that the arguments of Gerson really brought about an important transformation. those things that are merely the product of a disturbed brain. 2." De examinatione. laesiones quoque cerebri per epilepsiam vel congelationem aut aliam melancholiae speciem ad miraculum referre. Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale 20 (1977).181 Considering this. pp. congelatio. 166. Nider represented very similar opinions to the ones of Gerson on this matter. Elliott. a foeminis discunt quod viros doceant. Vol. Quid si talis sexus apposuerit . pp. In any case he brought about an influential setback to the general tendency of late medieval Christianity which saw in the saintly female mystics the most appropriate mediators of divine and supernatural messages. Heinrich von Langenstein and Pierre d’Ailly. McGuire. 105-131 .178 Gerson’s qualifications seem to follow the general line of the negative judgements and misogynous topoi of medieval ecclesiastical public opinion concerning women. Marie-Thérèse D'Alverny. VII. Le débat sur le Roman de la Rose. Jean Gerson. his anti-woman statements have to be evaluated strictly in the context of the discussions concerning the evaluation of female visionary sanctity. pp. etc. 378-398. by Eric Hicks (Paris. 1977). p. Christine de Pizan. pp. Oeuvres complètes. Though he did not directly refer to Gerson in the Formicarius. Gerson made here a nicely argued statement on Christine de Pizan’s side.
Contre le Roman de la Rose.. or by other kind of melancholy”. pp.. nihil denique dicere nisi vice Dei sine medio revelantis. "Comment les théologiens et les philosophes voient la femme".
This curious lack has been pointed out by Tschacher. As we have seen.182 His concern with feminine mystical spirituality was a will to control and contain. 30-31. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love (The University of Chicago Press. 454. in the turmoil of early fifteenth century Parisian debates. ed. qui.
they do not learn the necessary. Already Master Henricus de Hassia186 of venerable memory warned us that the number of canonisations should be limited." De probatione. For instance. Cod. converterent oculos et aures prurientes. entitled De lepra morali. when he was still in Paris "Onerosum quippe esset.
. presently kept in Budapest. and ff. ne dicamus vanum. absque ulla comparatione. ideo placentiores quia recentiores. which God intended to keep according to Augustine in a short and concise form. are still counterbalanced in Gerson’s writing by circumspect and cautious final
184 185 186
Gerson. For like this our faith and religion.51 convent184 and the spiritual kinship between the works of the two
theologians is also illustrated by the fact that their works are frequently linked in fifteenth-century manuscripts.
Clear reference that Gerson knew well Heinrich von Langenstein. who turn their curious eyes and ears towards these apparitions which are all the more attractive as they are recent. xii. supervacua didicissent. 181. ff.8. p. 94-183. quod omisso divinarum Scripturarum studio magna christianorum pars ad has visiones. Oeuvres complètes. 379. 28-29. are bound together with one of the most misogynous writings of Nider. among which is the duodecim consideraciones super spirituum probacione. they study only what is superfluous. Sicque demum nostra fides nostraque religio quam Deus. quia juxta Senecae verbum. And another reason should also be mentioned: the multitude of Christian believers. redderetur plus. sicque necessaria nescirent. Hinc alia ratio sumitur. would become even lengthier than the Old Testament..”187 These arguments. pp. who might have been one of his teachers. in a manuscript compiled around 1440. three treatises by Gerson. voluit sub paucissimis contineri. vol. quam lex vetus onerosa.185 There is another point where the treatises of Gerson give a new direction to debates concerning apparitions: he provides a theoretical formulation to late medieval objections against recent cults of sainthood and revelations. Hinc clarae memoriae magister Henricus de Hassia comprimendam esse tot hominum canonizationem scripsit. visiones super visiones in immensum multiplicatas debere recipere tamquam ab ore Dei prolatas. “It would be onerous and vain. meanwhile omit the study of the Holy Scripture. Hungarian Széchényi National Library. IX. 198v-206. ac proinde certissima fide credendas. teste Augustino. Speaking with Seneca. lat. if the new and new visions immensely multiplying in our age would all be considered truthful divine revelations. formulated in the context of the debates over the canonisation of Saint Bridget.
Karen Sullivan. vel in reprobatione. De puella Aurelianensi. the defence was “inverted into attack” by the treatise of an anonymous Paris cleric. Monnoyeur. 50-53..191
"est autem utrobique. Fraioli. there is no trace of the use of the two positive treatises. pp. these doubts are shared by Fraioli. While there is ample evidence that the judges of Rouen made use of his three former treatises in this matter. is again epitomised by one of his ultimate writings. Wayman. 43 (1906). Dyan Elliott analysed the „antiphonal nature” of the treatise. also written in 1429. Joan of Arc. as Gerson’s own work (both texts are appended to this article. pp. 159-72. pp. the trap-like nature of the discernment argumentation becomes apparent from its effects. 11-12. 5. 273-303. Surprisingly. “Un nouveau témoignage sur Jeanne d’Arc: Réponse d’un clerc parisien à l’apologie de la pucelle par Gerson (1429)”. "The Chancellor and Jeanne d'Arc". 33-34. the prophecies of Joan of Arc. he defended. Charles VII et Jeanne d’Arc: La propagande au service de la guerre”.
191 190 189
Noël Valois. “Gerson. his expert opinion was not respected. Joan of Arc. Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique. shortly before his death. J-B. cf. Annuaire-Bulletin de la Société d’histoire de France. IX. 296-303). However much Gerson would have desired to apply his critical criteria for arriving this time at a positive judgement. already exemplified by his changing opinion on Ermine of Reims.190 More than this: Gerson’s cautiously positive argumentation was triumphantly turned upside down. pp. Traité de Jean Gerson sur la Pucelle (Paris. Oeuvres complètes. p.52 conclusions concerning the apparitions of St. convincing additional arguments in Elliott. pp. in Gerson. vol. 1930). “Seeing Double”. despite all his previous reservations concerning female revelations. p. periculum. pp. The Interrogation of Joan of Arc (University of Minnesota Press. 161-79. entitled De Quadam Puella. Franciscan Studies 17 (1957). who considers rather an earlier treatise on Joan. pp. against this assertion: Georges Peyronnet. pp. 1999).. vel in approbatione. entitled De bono et malino spirito.188 The ambivalence of his judgement. classifying Joan’s revelation as clearly originating from the evil spirit. doubts on his authorship are voiced by Dorothy G. “Seeing Double”.. Minneapolis-London.
. 84 (1989). cf. or were these writings forgeries from the times of the 1450-56 rehabilitation trial?189 If we assume that the De mirabili victoria treatise was really Gerson’s own work. It might have been precisely this ambivalence which led to the lasting debate: was it really Gerson who wrote the short treatise on De mirabili victoria cuiusdam puellae in 1429 (or an earlier treatise entitled De quadam puella). 22-44. pp. pp. 343-48." De probatione. 48-50. generally attributed to Heinrich von Gorckheim. 19. Bridget: “it would be as
dangerous to approve them altogether as to disapprove”.
Between 1425 and 1428 its spiritual director was Eberhard Mardach. in Die Vermittlung geistlicher Inhalte im deutschen Mittelalter. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. 1996). provides an authentic picture of the hardening judgement concerning female religiosity. Almut Suerbaum (Niemeyer. 104. von Heusinger. Tübingen. noch hören. led by their general Master. Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde. 152-161. 34 (1935). Roscrea 1994. While an important group from among the Dominicans. 289-317. pp. pp. “Auditionen und Visionen einer Begine.193 In the 1420s it was the Saint Catherine convent of Dominican sisters in Nuremberg which became one of the centres of the Dominican observant movement. who started such an intensive series of preachings in 1400 against the large local community of Beguines (numbering approximately 350 or 400 members) that it soon led to severe debates about them and ultimately in 1411 to their complete expulsion from the city. Brigitte Degler-Spengler. ed.194 The immediate successor of
Cf. above N. Teil. pp. Internationales Symposium. written in 1422 to one of his “spiritual daughters”. 61-71. Jackson. and “lose all external senses. 29-118. Basler Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde. Williams-Krapp. La mort d'une hérésie. Schmitt. 107-259. 1233-1429" II. pp. One should not constrain divine grace in such a manner. Johannes Mulberg (1350-1414). the brother of the saintly woman Adelheid Mulberg mentioned by Nider192. so that they do not see. Palmer. 5-83. 70 (1970). Die ’Selige Schererin’. Timothy R. entitled Sendbrief von wahrer Andacht. constantly see the suffering Christ. nor feel anything” (oft also ingezogen von allen aussern sinnen.53 In the list of the sources of the ideas of the Formicarius one should
equally mention several Swiss or German promoters of Dominican observance for a fuller panorama. Johannes Mulberg. noch empfinden. Nigel F. another group of the Dominicans formulated a similar or even harsher judgement on the phenomena of female religiosity. nor hear. One of his preserved epistles. He thinks those nuns are on the wrong path who constantly fall into ecstasy (gezuckt werden).
Georg Boner. An example of this was the activity of the famous Dominican inquisitor of Basel. "Das Predigerkloster in Basel von der Gründung bis zur Klosterreform.). das sie nihtz sehen. Raimund of Capua (who was actually one of the initiators of the Dominican observance) was striving to get Catherine of Siena canonised. Mit einem Textabdruck”. "Die Beginen in Basel". “Dise ding sint dennoch nit ware zeichen der heiligkeit”. Johannes Mulberg und der Basler Beginenstreit. one should not believe in the apparitions seen under such conditions. 69 (1969). pp.
19601971). Klincksieck. it is obvious that they were acting according to the circumspect logic of the sceptical point of view outlined above. 214 . “The Reformation of Vision: Art and the Dominican Observance in Late Medieval Germany”. so he certainly had firsthand knowledge of these ideas.197 And these signa were interpreted by the judges as very contradictory: “has the archangel ever made a bow in front of a human being be it even Virgin Mary?”198 From the fact that Saint Catherine and Saint Marguerite allegedly embraced and kissed her they drew the conclusion: “it could only
He describes several anecdotes concerning the reform of the St. in his The Visual and the Visionary. recently analysed by Jeffrey F. vol. Sullivan.
. 1819. I. pp. Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Dominikanerordens in Deutschland. II. Procès. Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d'Arc (Jules Renouard et Cie. Buch der Reformacio Predigerordens. Visions and Apparitions.54 Mardach as the prior of the Nuremberg convent. Leipzig. 56. ed. Bailey.
Johannes Meyer. Speculum 68 (1993). as we have already
mentioned. new edition: Pierre Tisset. Formicarius. Whatever the evident political biases of the infamous Pierre Cauchon and the other judges of the Pucelle could have been. "The Right to Remain Silent: Before and After Joan of Arc". Ansgar Kelly. 61-81.196 We have already touched upon the biggest scandal which occurred in the history of female visionaries. 3. 1861). pp. to convince him ultimately of the truthfulness of Joan’s apparitions. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider.195 Dominican observance kept its concern for the “discipline” of female visionary religiosity throughout the first half of the fifteenth century. 188-194. preney lay") and offered him the crown. Catherine convent. Cf. p. cf. 123. vela vostre signe. 51-54. II. M. pp. Tisset. pp. by B. 74. pp. Sullivan.
Jules Quicherat. 1908-9). 5 vols. 427-467. entitled Buch der Reformacio Predigerordens. They wanted to hear about signs (signa) that were also accessible to others besides the visionary herself. Procès et condamnation de Jeanne d'Arc (Paris. vol. pp. Tschacher. 992-1026. The Interrogation. in the years immediately preceding the birth of the Formicarius: the apparitions and the military victories of Joan of Arc in 1429 and 1430 and her capture and condemnation in 1431. prepared in 1468. 307-310. Christian. p. was no other person than Johannes Nider himself. Battling Demons. Vol. cf. Hamburger. 2-3 (Harrasowitz. we can find an ample series of references to this problem and to the initiatives of Nider and his predecessors in the representative overview by Johannes Meyer (†1485). Reichert. pp. The Interrogation. 136. This is how Joan came to describe the scene where Saint Michael was allegedly also seen by Charles VII when he leaned to him ("Sire.. III. Paris. pp.
"Clercs et paysans au XVe siècle: une relecture de l'épisode de l'arbre aux fées dans les procès de Jeanne d'Arc". The Council of Basel. Normes et pouvoirs au Moyen Age (CERES Montréal. significantly enough. pp. 382. then they insistently tried to get her confession concerning the “fairy tree” where she used to play as a child in Domrémy. "The holy and the unholy”. 1989). das Basler Konzil und die "Kleinen" der Reformatio Sigismundi". 85-86. I. Sullivan.
About the intention to send an appeal: Quicherat. 192. Rector of the Paris University between 1426 and 1429. Sullivan. II. These charges are enumerated by Kieckhefer. vol. pp. Nicolaus Amici”. p. but. according to Gregory the Great” we hear from Philibert. vol. Procès. 1-21. Ecstasies. pp. Bishop of Coutances. 178. i. not less than nine judges or other participants of her trial took part for shorter or longer periods in the council. 319-338. Testimony of Isambard de Pierre cf. pp. p. Procès. and her leaving home without permission. Procès. also Madeleine Jeay. he does not speak about
199 200 201
Tisset. The Interrogation. in Marie-Claude Déspoez-Masson (ed.55 be disguised evil spirits with whom she made a sacrilegious pact”. e. II. vol. male attire and of course the obscene English gossip about her showed her morals in an unfavourable light.). Joan of Arc. cf.203 Based on the report of one of them. naturally knew quite a lot about her trial. Ginzburg. 146-163 . Heinz Thomas.199 This is
why her accusers tried to inculpate her with invocation of spirits and magical activities (which they had to drop subsequently)200. I. her amazon-like behaviour. in fact.
Tisset. 33-41. p. the two characteristics of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. “Good morals and humility are completely missing here. “Lic. The Interrogation. pp. 97. p. 208-210.
Tisset. II. Theol. hoping to extract her a kind of statement concerning witchcraft or women riding in the air. Francia.p. Nicaolaus Lami.
. Warner. I will not fly away…”201 The diabolic origin of Joan’s apparitions seems to have been confirmed by the fact that the prophet self-consciously opposing her judges could not be qualified as “humble”.202 a very similar way of approaching apparitions with Heinrich von Langenstein and Jean Gerson. pp. vol. 318. where Joan would have liked to appeal. Procès. 4-5. Johannes Nider gives us a detailed account on Joan “deifying herself and appearing in male attire”. p. "Jehanne la Pucelle. and she even joked about it: “don’t be afraid. 111. 163. 11 (1983). Joan asserted to have heard of such things. and said that this “witchcraft” (sorcerie) generally happened on Thursdays.
about the importance of the Council of Basel for influencing common opinions cf. Pierrette Paravy. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. 281. About the readings. four years later one of the opinion leaders of the Basel Council. 1981). but rather in the chapter dedicated to
“witches and their deceptions”. a liar.”205 This was perfectly in line with the conclusion of the treatise against Joan by the anonymous Paris clerc. 119-130. dissolute. Prince of Savoy. Der Formicarius des Johannes Nider. Borst.56 her in the row of “false apparitions”. but according to a large number of interpretations and examinations of most learned men. se habere familiarem Dei angelum. 85. 329-332. 124. this was judged to have been rather a malign spirit. Blauert. sorceress. This could have become a generally accepted opinion at the council. p. blasphemer of God. pp. where Nider read out several passages from the stories of the Formicarius to the participants. invoker of demons. p. Modalités de la diffusion et de las réception des messages religieux du XIIe au XVe siècle (Table Ronde. cf. Wood. per quem spiritum velut magam effectam ignibus per publicam iustitiam consumi permiserunt. “Seeing Double”.
Quicherat. who spoke about “heresy with sorcery involved” in her case. The infamous inscription on her stake summarised the stream of insults of the “English party” rather than the results of the inquisitorial investigations: “Joan. 1979). Procès. Tschacher. 600-602.
"fassa est. 50. p. defamer of the faith of Jesus Christ. elected as
De maleficis et eorum deceptionibus. Elliott. p. English translation quoted from Charles T. pp." Formicarius V.. Joan of Arc and Richard III (Oxford UP. pp. apostate schismatic and heretic”. does not hesitate to call her a witch. Johannes Nider.204 Joan “would have stated of herself that she has God’s angel as her familiar. Roma. pernicious deceiver of the people.206 The judges of Rouen did not manage to prove the charge of witchcraft or the alliance with the devil. idolatrous. cruel. who called herself the Maid. superstitious. 469. esp. "Anfänge".207 In any case. qui judicio literatissimorum virorum judicatus est esse malignus spiritus ex multis conjecturis & probationibus. Vol. 1988). 8. Roma. New York/Oxford. so Joan was finally sentenced with the charge of heresy. in Faire croire. and consequently secular justice had been instructed that the spirit and the witch (maga) under its influence should be burnt. IV. 459-460. boastful. (École française de Rome.208 A similar opinion is echoed by the secretary of Amadeus VIII.
. "Faire Croire: Quelques hypothèses de recherche basées sur l'étude des procès de sorcellerie du Dauphiné au XVe siècle".
avocat de l’amour et de la femme au XVe siècle. cf. 1888). Martin Le Franc. pp. fecisset. 458. The chapter on Jehanne la Pucelle is in the immediate neighbourhood of that on the witches (Des faicturières). got off with a milder sentence. 1985). in the Swiss and Alpine valleys. 599. Let us examine. pp. written around 1440-1442.
. 101-104. André Vauchez. who “like Joan. Hansen. 148-149.57 Felix V to be the Pope of the Council. with the text of the poem. also “velut magae et maleficae”. Formicarius. who mentioned Joan
of Arc in his Champion des Dames. initially calling herself Claude. She was taken into custody by the Cologne inquisitor. also preached her prophecies in male attire. The part on witches is also edited by Hansen. Martin Le Franc. Blauert. pp. 602. asserted to have been sent by God”. 285286. pp. Quellen. 439-452. A German imitator of the Pucelle. Léon Barbey. V/8. p. “Seeing Double”.. p. Fribourg. to the point of vanishing completely. p. pp. with the charge that “she performed miracles with magical crafts”.
Formicarius. que magica arte videbantur fieri”. Heinrich Kalteisen. new edition by Robert Deschaux in L’imaginaire du sabbat. One of them. how this evolution was influenced by the early witchcraft prosecutions which occurred precisely in the vicinity of the Council of Basel..211 The borderlines between heavenly and diabolic apparitions were becoming more and more uncertain. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. "Jeanne d'Arc et le prophétisme féminin des XIVe et XVe siècles" in idem Les laïcs. Martin Le Franc. Quellen. prévôt de Lausanne. but the more stubborn one was sentenced to death by burning. in the first quarter of the fifteenth century. (Lausanne. (Éditions Universitaires de Fribourg Suisse. prévôt de Lausanne.209 It must have been at the Council of Basel that Nider heard the other two stories related to the case of Joan of Arc. who admitted to have been seduced by “the angel of Satan”.
Arthur Piaget. V/8. 52-53. 30-32. “mira . cf.210 The inquisition indicted the two Paris prophetesses. Elliott.
sometime in the first quarter of the fifteenth century. 68-69. to harm humankind with his help. cf. they participate regularly with his help on the witches’ sabbath. they regularly participate in the witches’ sabbath presided over by the devil during the night. also accused of infamous black masses and pacts with the devil.”213 Since historical research has recognised the importance of this early fifteenth century mutation. Zauberer. Ginzburg. pp. and they commit there infamous sexual acts with the devil. Blauert.212 Joseph Hansen gave the following definition of this new kind of witchcraft: “they are principally women.58 THE “LIVING SAINT” AND THE NEW SABBATH There is a general consensus in historical research that scattered medieval maleficium accusations had been exchanged for massive and epidemic witchcraft prosecutions from the moment when. traditional witchcraft notions amalgamated with the more recently coined mythology of the diabolic witches’ sabbath. Quellen. cf.
.as Pope Alexander V called them in 1409). 385-432. Historische Zeitschrift 81 (1898). p. "Inquisition und Hexenverfolgung im Mittelalter". and later on the Knights Templars.
Joseph Hansen. they get organised into a heretic sect. 386. Ketzer. who make a pact with the devil. 11. Europe’s Inner Demons. This dangerous set of beliefs presented witches (who were suspected until then principally of solitary evil activity) as members of a new organised sect (novas sectas et prohibitos ritus. loc. there are constant debates about the relative importance of the various factors that have contributed to this change. Ecstasies. they come to these meetings flying in the air with the help of the devil. inquisitor in Southern France: Hansen. Cohn. p. cit. pp. It remains a widely popular explanation that witches inherited the principal elements of the witches’ sabbath from the inquisitorial stereotypes formulated in the persecution of medieval heretic movements.214 The relationship of the Waldensians with witches also seemed evident from the fact that in the fifteenth century MYTHOLOGY OF THE WITCHES'
His letter to Ponce Fougeyron. they are organised into heretical sects. 16. p. Most recently cf.
(Lausanne.216 Though one cannot share any longer the idea of a linear descent of witch beliefs from the anti-heretic inquisitorial stereotypes. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. pp. Sandrine Strobino. and their comparison with trials in the same region against Waldensians. cf.215 The influence of these factors has been considered recently on a wider historical scale. pp. 18 (München. Pierrette Paravy. Demons. during one of the most dreadful early persecutions. Eretici e inquisitori nella società piemontese del Trecento (Claudiana.
Jean Marx. forthcoming. Hexen und Rebellen. “How Waldensians became witches”. Trente ans avec le diable. Les bannis au Moyen Age (Aubier. 1996). 1914). Kathrin Utz Tremp. The detailed analysis of several hundred of early fifteenth century witch-trials in Switzerland. Une nouvelle chasse aux sorciers sur la Riviera lémanique (1477-1484). 72. 1977).
Important recent works in this respect: Robert I. Ecstasies. Sabbat et chasse aux sorciers de Vevey (1448). Quellen zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters. 2000) . Françoise sauvée des flammes? Une Valaisanne accusée de sorcellerie au XVe siècle (Lausanne. Wolfgang Behringer. Das 14. Blauert. Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte 86 (Göttingen. or other heretics in these places. František Graus. 1996). Martine Ostorero. Juger les vers. 1995). I-II. "Anfänge". Jahrhundert als Krisenzeit. Quellen zur Geschichte der Waldenser von Freiburg im Uechtland (1399-1439). Monumenta Germaniae Historica. (Lausanne. 1999). 1995). Note 15. fidèles et déviants (vers 1340-1530).
Like in 1459. Paris. “Folâtrer avec les démons”. and various pieces of the Cahiers Lausannois d’Histoire Médiévale. unexpected support was recently provided for the more ancient thesis. Moore. Paris. 33-86.). to be published in Gábor Klaniczay and Éva Pócs (eds. Ecstasies. provided a large new set of data as to what effect these latter had upon the emerging new type of diabolic stereotypes of the witches’ sabbath. who withdrew to the Alpine region in the later Middle Ages. 556. Dauphiné and Savoy. 1996).J. L'inquisition en Dauphiné. 476.59 vauderie became one of the well diffused designations of diabolic
witchcraft. Pest-Geißler-Judenmorde. taking also account of the possible sources of diabolic witch-beliefs in the fourteenth century stereotypes formulated in the persecution of other late medieval scapegoats such as lepers or Jews. 1993).). Princeton. La Vauderie d'Arras (1459-1491) ou l'émergence contrariée d'une nouvelle souveraineté autour des ducs Valois de Bourgogne (XVe siècle). Quellen. Spirits and Witches. François Mercier. (École française de Rome. édités par Agostino Paravicini Bagliani: Catherine Chène. Andematten and Utz Tremp. Power and Defiance in Western Europe. 1987). Exorcismes et procès d’animaux dans le diocèse de Lausanne (XVe-XVIe s. 950-1250 (Oxford.217. eadem. Étude sur le développement et la répression de l'hérésie et de la sorcellerie du XIVe siècle au début du règne de François Ier (Honoré Champion. N. Torino. Hanna Zaremska. cf. Merlo. Ginzburg. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle Ages (Princeton UP. Hansen. L'enfer du décor. "De l'hérésie à la sorcellerie: l'inquisiteur Ulric de Torrenté OP”. Waldenser. 569. Biographien zu de Waldenserprozessen von Freiburg im Üchtland (1399 und 1430) (Freiburg Schweiz. Borst. The Formation of the Persecutive Society.
. more recently Grado G. Roma. De la chrétienté romaine à la réforme en Dauphiné. David Nirenberg. cf. 2001. 467. 1986). Évêques. Thesis at Université Lyon II-Lumière. 1996). Budapest. (Lausanne. CEU Press. These factors are brought into contact with the problem of witchcraft stereotypes by Ginzburg. Eva Maier. cf. in Arras. Wiedergänger.
60 Another important source of the concept of the witches’ sabbath could
have been that in the trials. pp. indeed. 833-836. Der Formicarius de Johannes Nider. Cambridge. idem. p.: Pennsylvania State University Press. this is also Nider’s own purpose. as a third factor in the evolution of the diabolical elements in the witches’ sabbath. 1997). Tschacher. though Nider does not relate them to the witches’ sect described in another chapter of his book. 106-147. 69. Indeed. or the Dominican inquisitor of Autun. 231-232. on the other hand. One might expect that the first group of explanations of the origins of witches’ sabbath. A Necromancer’s Manual in the Fifteenth Century (University Park. Claire Fanger (ed. the broad panorama of the Formicarius allows us to place these phenomena into the broader context of other religious manifestations of this age. 1998). Texts and Traditions of Medieval Ritual Magic (Sutton Publishing. which started to multiply towards the end of the fourteenth century. pp. American Historical Review 99 (1994). Conjuring Spirits. pp. the descriptions of the ecstatic orgies and feasts of the libertine heretic sect.
. idem.219. Pa. above N. depriving the sixty-year-old virgo of her virginity. cf. Forbidden Rites. "The Specific Rationality of Medieval Magic". It is in his accounts that we can find one of the first descriptions of the secret meetings of the infant-devouring. pp. 1989).218 And finally. sacrilegious and devil-worshipping witchsect. as represented in the proliferating genre of exotic “magical handbooks”. idem. L’imaginaire du sabbat. 175-177. Ecstasies. as to the identity of the Dominican inquisitor of Autun (inquisitor eduensi). Cf. like the hypothesis of shaman and fairy beliefs that we have already dealt with. designed erroneously as the inquisitor of Evian by Ginzburg. who provides a lengthy account on the
Kieckhefer. witch-grease-fabricating.). pp. it is hard to understand why Nider. The information provided by Nider is especially valuable for two reasons. And. would find considerable support in his descriptions. Nevertheless. could provide as many interesting insights to the creation of the new image of the witches’ sabbath as the alleged accounts of Judge Peter of Berne. 46. the one relying upon anti-heretic inquisitorial stereotypes. 151-200. Magic in the Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press. various popular mythologies are taken into account. traditional accusations of maleficia were more and more interpreted according to the language of demon-invocations of “black magic”. European Witch Trials (with a detailed series of data of European witch trials until 1500).
exactly at the same time.221 a single line to the Waldensians. ut de suis mittat aliquem. V/5. 164-166. 39-41.225 even concrete attempts at its exercise. Cf. and later repented of this horrible sin. 401-402. there is a detailed discussion of this issue in Bailey. but rather the traditional ones of the lone sorcerer operating through “black magic”: lizards buried under the threshold causing sterility. V/4.
. "certis verbis in campo principem omnium Demoniorum imploro. does not “confess” the newly coined stories of the witches’ sect. also subjected to torture. 567-569.224 One can read here equally different recipes of love-magic. p. Magister Johannes Nider. they stand apart rather by virtue of their shocking otherness." Formicarius. "De l'hérésie". Andenmatten and Utz Tremp. 269-341. there were great persecutions and trials against the Waldensians. i. Deinde veniente certo Daemone. does not
dedicate. in campo aliquo viarum pullum nigrum immolo.223 Nider also mentions another magician. 36-50.
Blauert. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. Formicarius. 386. 173. The witch figure presented in the greatest detail. a black chicken the neck of which is cut at the crossroad which is subsequently thrown in the air. Bailey. Scaedeli. who conjured up the devil with the help of “libros daemonum de Necromantia”. . one can find useful indications as well. 560.226 But the descriptions provided by Nider on the witches’ sabbath are in no relation with all of these. Formicarius. L’imaginaire du sabbat. who later became reputed for his relentless persecution of witches around 1438. directed by the same inquisitor. pp. pp. Uldry de Torrenté. It is all the more curious.61 Hussites. when the spectacular ecstasies of Magdalene Beutler were followed with so much attention by Nider. pp. V/5.. who dedicated several treatises to them). Schieler. Utz Tremp. Der Formicarius de Johannes Nider. Battling Demons. pp. the prince of the demons conjured by incantations. p. in the year of 1430. that of ritual magic leading to the new diabolic mythology of the sabbath. pp. Battling Demons. a strange monk of the Schottenkloster of Vienna. legate of the Basel Council. eundem in altum projiciendo in aërem. Formicarius III/10. quia me designatum percutiat. pp. in the region of Vevey and Neuchâtel)..
I cannot enter into the discussion of the complex relationship of Nider with Hussitism (he was the Hussites specialist. Tschacher. pp. 57-64. besides a flimsy mention.220 the Adamites and the Brethren of the Free Spirit. Waldenser and Quellen. because in Fribourg.222 If one scrutinises Nider’s explanations from the angle of the second hypothesis. pp.e. 551-552.
in L’imaginaire du sabbat. They divine from melted lead. does not recommend this “forbidden. 268. in the accounts of Scaedeli. and try to make the alleged witch suffer by symbolic means. in
226 227 228 229
Formicarius. however. 162-166.227 One can also discover traditional sorcery. “one should rather die than turn to such practices”. related to promoting or diminishing fertility. pp. 333-379. p. or rather one should turn to “licit means” of the mediation by the saints. one can find no such accounts in Nider concerning the witches themselves. pp. juge dauphinois (vers 1436)" Mélanges de l'École française de Rome 91 (1979). pp. The most important of these new sources is the treatise of a secular judge. Ketzer. in Blauert. All in all. which is dated to around 1436. 65-66. in characteristic manner also malefica. Nider provides no decisive proofs of either of the competing explanations of the origins of the witches’ sabbath.62 As for the third hypothesis on the origins of the new witchcraft
Ed. N. I. I/2. Pierrette Paravy. entitled Ut magorum et maleficiorum errores manifesti ignorantibus fiant. 158-164. superstitious” manner to confront the witches’ harm. pp. . one can also discover in Nider’s book an episode which offers an authentic description of the operation of the workings of the traditional village opponents of witches. p. (German transl. Cf.228 As for the most important such element. Materials. 118-159). the shamanistic motifs of metamorphoses into animals or the ecstatic flight. 2nd edn. 548. Zauberer.. repr. the cunning folk named by Nider.
. Claude Tholosan . by. an excerpt in English in Kors and Peters. Nider. V/4.229 and is based on the several hundreds of witch trials in the region of Briançon. pp. that of the impact of traditional motifs of folk beliefs. Lea. besides the isolated episode of Scabius turning into a mouse or the sceptical story of the “foolish old woman” imagining to ride with Diana. L’imaginaire du sabbat. "A propos de la genèse médiévale des chasses aux sorcières: le traité de Claude Tholosan. Witchcraft in Europe. pp. Formicarius. Let us now examine whether the rich array of new sources recently explored on the witchcraft prosecutions in early fifteenth century Alpine regions would give us more information. 46-47. diviners.
i. pp. 14-17 ottobre 2001 (Spoleto.
San Bernardino da Siena. 299. Blauert. Martine Ostorero. pp. – with statistic evaluation: between 1424 and 1446 out of 258 accused (83 men and 175 women). 511-531. Bailey ”The Medieval Concept”. pp. Roma. Witchcraft in Europe. Quellen. Le prediche volgari. Ginzburg argued Bernardino’s reference to Piemont rumours: Ecstasies. 267-337. pp. 539-544. 607-608. 118-122. new edition by Martine Ostorero and Kathrin Utz Tremp.
A part of these trials is edited by Hansen. (Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo. analysed by Marx.63 Dauphiné. sec. pp. “’Figlia di un demonio minore’ La stregoneria nei processi toscani del Quattrocento”. 249-261. malefizia e incantamenta nei predicatori francescani osservanti (Italia. 334-335. “Predicazione osservante e propaganda politica: a partire da un caso di Todi”. The witchcraft persecutions stimulated by the fervent preaching of Bernardino of Siena in 1428 can be proved to have taken information about this “new sect” precisely from the rumours originating from Piemont. Cohn. which have recently been compared with the statements of Nider in various excellent analyses. "A propos". Ginzburg. Frühe Hexenverfolgungen. has been known for a long time. which would relate the evolving witch beliefs of Central Italy to the Alpine region. Ecstasies. 2002). Mormando. Dinora Corsi. 310. written by an
unknown Savoy cleric. new edition by Kathrin Utz Tremp.
"Bericht des Luzerner Chronisten Johann Fründ über die Hexenverfolgung im Wallis"..: Paravy. Un libro dedicato ad Odile Redon. in L’imaginaire du sabbat. Marina Montesano. in La propaganda politica nel basso Medioevo. 132-152. in fact it was produced exactly in the period in question here. there is a third important source that gives a report of the same phenomena. XV). 49-50. 2002). L'inquisition. idem. Frühe. la santità. pp. 783. 2nd edn. 159-162.230 The treatise entitled Errores Gazariorum. De la chrétienté. Bargellini (Roma. pp. Paravy. ff. Bruno Laurioux and Laurence Moulinier-Brogi (Viella. il cibo. Blauert.e. in Scrivere il Medioevo.232 Finally. 3243. The Preacher’s Demons. 62-65. 23-61.234 one can get a much more detailed picture of the frightening features of the recently appearing witches’sect. an excerpt in English in Kors and Peters. ed. 69-73.231 And finally. 72. pp. in L’imaginaire du sabbat. pp.. around 1437. p. the report of the Luzern chronicle writer Johann Fründ about the witch-hunts in Wallis between 1428 and 1430. 52-107. Paravy. Europe's. pp.
Hansen. Atti del XXXVIII Convegno. Quellen.Todi. Battling Demons. 20 marzo 1428 (Todi. modified datation with a recently discovered new Ms. 1999). 1983). cf. 50-70. Lo spazio.. 151 were sentenced to death. 533-537. Hansen. Ecstasies. 784. the denomination "gazari" refers probably to Catharists – cf. cf. « Supra acqua et supra ad vento ». pp. pp. Quellen. eds. Ginzburg. pp. p. “The Concept of the
. pp. pp. pp. P. important critical corrections to this work by Letizia Pellegrini. Carlo Ginzburg has recently argued for the inclusion in this same “dossier” of a remote contemporaneous source. the most important document of this trial: Domenico Mammoli. « Superstizioni ». Processo alla strega Matteuccia di Francesco. Roma. L’imaginaire du sabbat. 1936). but it turned out only recently that it was written earlier than Hansen supposed. 758. pp. "A propos".233 From these documents. around 1450. pp.
. spits on it thrice. his legs are bowed." The novice then "draws a cross on the ground for the purpose of dishonoring Jesus Christ. the first half of the quotation comes from the treatise Ut magorum… the second part from a trial steged by Tholosan in 1438. etc.
Witches’ Sabbath in the Alpine Region (1430-1440). but the treatise itself also contains a very similar description. From the more verbose documents of the witch trials that Tholosan held in Briançon after 1436. 400-401. a black pig or a black cock. 365-367. his tongue hangs to the ground. a young white man. . and then defecates on it. pp. and a third trial in 1437. 355. too.). prophet!'"235. refers) is gleaned from these confessions: "They stand in a circle and put a pot in the middle. et habebat linguam extra hoc longam versus terram. about their apostasy. 541. p. L’imaginaire du sabbat. ubi eciam mingit dyabolus. et habebat tibias curvas et articulos pedum nigros". a black cat. 119. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Quellen.. Paravy .. The devil urinates in it.. "A propos". Demons. and then bend backwards for the purpose of totally abjuring their faith in Christ. 36. p. Paravy.238 (murdering children. we learn that the devil is a man dressed in black. et demum suppinant. thumbs his nose.. 364. they drink it. admodum occuli bovis. the other references ibid. says: `I deny you.).. he then turns his bared bottom toward the east. intencione quod sic totaliter recedunt a fide Christi..e.
236 237 238 235
Hansen.Text and Context” to be published in Klaniczay and Éva Pócs (eds.. urinates on it. "A propos".cf.".. p. ". L'inquisition.64 The judge Claude Tholosan regularly extracted confessions from
the accused about the act of the alliance with the devil. "faciat crucem in terra in dispectu Jesu Christi. a black dog. The obligations that a witch incurred with this iuramentum fidelitatis are detailed in seven commandments in the Errores Gazariorum putting an evil spell on all marriages.. et subvertendo aliquod vas quod ponunt in circulo facto per eos in terra.. et super crucem ter ponat pedem sinistrum et ter expuat de super et mingat et extercoret et culum nudum ostendat versus solis ortum et faciat figam cum digitis et expuendo dicat 'ego te renego propheta'. pp. Hansen.
"habebat occulos grossos. L'inquisition. cf... Marx. a white child.almost the same description is to be read in the sentence of a trial presided over by Tholosan in 1436: Marx.. pp.. Quellen. he stomps on it three times with his left foot. i. His description of the rite of swearing allegiance to the devil (a rite to which Nider. p. de quo bibunt. 34. 356.236 The devil—Tholosan tells us—appears at these rituals "in the form of a man and/or a number of animals"237. his toes are black". Spirits and Witches forthcoming. 33-36.". scintillas igneas emittentes. and spitting once more. He is a Saracen with red hair. p. p. whose "eyes burn like coal and are as big as a calf's.
His body is as cold as ice (frigidum sicut glacies). and punishes them if they betray him. though at times they ride on a broom or on the backs of wild animals. Hansen.239 Johann Fründ's account mentions not just "black animals". Superbus. This aspect is analysed with Tholosan by Paravy. they kneel to the devil. he puts every bit of information available on the matter in his tract. "A propos". had three devils appear to him regularly: Luxoriosus. 534. kiss him on the lips. Marx. who was sentenced in 1437. an old man dressed in tattered clothes but whose purse was full of gold. he emphasises that the witches' notion that they have physically (corporaliter) gone off to an assembly (synagoga) is an "illusion" suggested by the devil in their sleep. There were some whom he promised to get pregnant. and have intercourse with him. "et inflavit eam vento sic quod credidit crepari". Quellen. Hansen. Cf. but bears and rams as well. on the odd chance that they would be set free. sometimes in an "unnatural way" (contra naturam). who appeared in the form of a lovely twelve-year-old virgin. Tholosan's account is a unique balancing act between the scepticism of the Canon episcopi. a middle-aged man dressed in black. Once at the witches' sabbath. p. 540-541.241 While Nider tells us very little about how the devil actually conducted the witches' sabbath. we find one instance when
the various demons were arranged into a sophisticated symbolic system. He visits the witches imprisoned in dungeons.240 We learn that witches meet with the devil not just at the ritual gatherings. and Avarus.
239 240 241 242
"cum illo de nocte dormiebat et delectabatur et habebat rem delectabilem". and "slept with him and had her pleasure of him at night". p. on the other hand. p. Then they kill children--at times their own--who have been brought there to make ointment of.
. 357.242 and the folkloristic wealth of confessions that he himself had had a hand in extracting under torture. he blew them up with the wind till they died. They have intercourse with demons and with one another. Quellen. On the one hand.65 In the same collection of documents. pp. 40. L'inquisition. N. He describes how on Thursdays and Saturdays. the contemporary sources give the new mythology in all its variety. 41. "in reality". but whenever they conjure him up. Jubertus de Bavaria. the witches go off to their conclave on magic wands greased with the ointment made of children. he also appears on his own initiative as well.
Quellen.’ After they had heard this command they join themselves carnally.
.246 and the orgy takes places in the ritual form familiar from the old sources: "The presiding devil cries out that the lights be extinguished and yells `Mestlet. pp. Kors and Peters. 2nd edn. When they dance in circles. and sometimes father with daughter. L'inquisition. Quellen. Quellen.245 It is the Errores Gazariorum that echoes most precisely the century-old topoi about the Black Mass of heretics. "A propos".244 In Fründ's chronicle. Marx. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Hansen. Hansen. 119. mestlet. 356-357. p. Let us now examine. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Witches. whether we have been provided with new elements which could be put in relation with the above mentioned threefold explanation of the origins of the witches’ sabbath. or make drink. Witchcraft in Europe. the same motif with Martin Le Franc: "Veans le dyable proprement/Auquel baisoient franchemewnt/Le cul en signe d'obéissance". p. p.. The devil has been known to place his stamp on a witch's body. "der bös geist sy nachtes umbe trug von einem berg uff den andern". 290 .66 cook them and eat them. where they can eat and
243 244 245 246
Hansen. the suddenly chrystallising imagery of the witches’ sabbath. p. pp. 102. Quellen. 160-161. we learn. and we know many more details of it than reading only the book of Nider. pp. The devils then open all kinds of dwellings to them. cf. Here. the head devil keeps time on a drum. we have the devil "bear them from one place to another throughout the night". They fly as swiftly as the wind. 364-366. 36-39. 536. make music and dance in circle. the pledge of fealty to the devil is sealed with a kiss on the devil's behind (in culo vel ano). a single man with a woman. 119. pp."247 So we have here. p. Sometimes they gather on Tuesdays as well. use black or chestnut horses and rabbits to get around. maleficent powders and ointments out
of them. or a single man with another man. brother with sister. and the natural order is little observed. son with mother. Hansen. their merrymaking comes to an end when the cock crows.243 The court records confessions made in Tholosan's presence are even more detailed.
and coin plans to take power over the Christian world. 33-34. p. 535-537. Quellen. 121.248 and also by the heretics who come to mind when we hear of the “school of witches” from Fründ. 545.
249 250 251 252
Hansen. 56 (2001). “if they can. p. p. 540. that it has yet to be proved how far precisely this motif of the colorful confession made by Matteuccia di Francesco before she was burned at the stake in 1428 in Todi--she told of rubbing herself with an ointment made of fat and blood from a vulture. Hansen. cf. Les usages religieux de l’écrit (Moyen Âge et temps Modernes)” (co-authored with Ildikó Kristóf). Marx. cf. I have analysed this issue in the broader framework of medieval use of writing in my “Écritures saintes et pactes diaboliques. L'inquisition.
. Ginzburg in his recent analysis of these same sources considered the detailed description of the witch's magic flight to their sabbath to be the most significant. follow an elaborate liturgy. who appeared in the form
According to Nider. V/3. or on the back of the devil Lucibello. however. Such is the secrecy of the witches’ sect.252 From the point of view of the shamanistic parallels.249 As for the second hypothesis. There are other motifs as well. 36. one could refer above all to the above-quoted detailed rituals of the ceremonial of apostasy. p. where they pronounce sermons. such as the frequently occurring cases of the invocation of the devil. pp. 43. but also by Nider. Bailey justly stresses this aspect. Fründ and the Errores Gazariorum. pp. Quellen.
the use of a “liber de nigromantia”.
Hansen. 296 . a few additional instances
advocate the relationship of this new mythology with the inquisitorial stereotypes used in fighting medieval heresies.67 Besides the topoi of the Black Mass. Annales HSS. We must note. Formicarius. 947-980. p.251 or the outspoken reference of the
Errores Gazariorum to a written contract with the devil. Quellen. and of going off to Benevento to the witches' congregation held at the old walnut tree either in the form of a fly. underlined not only by Tholosan. L’imaginaire du sabbat. pp. they kick into the cross". L’imaginaire du sabbat. a bat and a small child. appearing in the trials of Dauphiné. which has to be signed with the blood of the witch taken from his/her left hand. that of the influence of the late medieval beliefs related to the ritual “black” magic.
153-155. both sheep and goats. Szeftel.S. 120.
. L’imaginaire du sabbat. 36. and however fragmented the tradition from which all this was gleaned.M. Slavic Epic Studies (Mouton. It is.
"hec est ratio. there can be no doubt that the soul-journey-like motif of the witches' ecstatic flight.256 this accusation has more to do with yet another type of explanation concerning the development of large scale witch panics. and the metamorphosis of the soul's leaving the body in some animal form all hark back to what Ginzburg has called the "shamanistic substratum" of European culture. p. 292. and there is very bad weather in areas near by"257: they have strewn their powder made of "children's innards" and poisonous animals into the air from the
253 254 255 256
Ginzburg. “Predicazione osservante”. This motif appears in a trial directed by Tholosan. cf. pp. L’imaginaire du sabbat. This part of the Errores Gazariorum has received less attention to date than the above morbid accounts of the witches' sabbath. Selected Writings. Pellegrini. We can detect fewer direct influences in the notion of the chief devil setting the pace of the witches' dance by beating his drum. cf. Ecstasies. L. the notion of a witches' ointment.254 and in the notion of devils assuming the form of animals like the bear or the ram. 208-226. in Roman Jakobson. the everyday economic issue of their having become identified as the cause of the community's agricultural setbacks.. Hansen. we read. Ginzburg. 1966). in Marx. . pp. 36-39. Quellen. L'inquisition. pp. and accusing the witches of changing into wolves and plundering the flocks. namely.255 Though the belief in werewolves is undoubtedly shamanistic in origin. In the same vein. the flight of the soul became the leitmotif of the entire witch mythology.68 of a billy goat253--can be attributed to borrowing from the beliefs of the Alpine
communities. and yet. p.C. The Hague-Paris. IV. "La métamorphose illusoire: des théories chrétiennes de la métamorphose aux images médiévales du loup-garou". 40 (1985). pp. Hansen. p. Hwever indirect the influence. et in aliis circumvicinis viget maxima aëris intemperies". 301-379. Quellen. the witches who are to blame "if there is more mortality in the towns and villages of a particular region. pp. Ecstasies. 535. Harf-Lancner.
Roman Jakobson -. "The Vseslav Epos". The moment the first witch was said to have flown off to the first meeting. quare in aliquibus villis et villagiis unius regionis est mortalitas. 136. p. 174. we find Johann Fründ--and the witch trials he describes--linking the notion of werewolves with the notion of witches. 514-518. Annales E. the book gives a detailed formulation of what was probably the "enemy within" cliché of the later Middle Ages.
covetousness and malice. burgensium et aliorum. cf. and the ability to avenge themselves on those who have wronged them: "He relies on people's vanity. nobility." in AnkarlooHenningsen . 32.
"ducit eos ad domos potentum prelatorum.69 mountain tops. nid.
Gábor Klaniczay. persistentesque in illis usque ad medium noctis . idem. p. 250-251.
"überwint er dieselben mönschen durch hofart. 120. and ruin with it the crops on the lands of their enemies and neighbors.. p. mediante etiam baculo ad destruendam possessionum fertilitatem inimicorum suorum ceterumque vicinorum.postquam satis comederunt et biberunt.262
"tempore tempestatum sunt de mandato diaboli multi congregati in montibus ad frangendum glaciem. unusquisque ad propria revertitur. on all the things that make a man turn against his fellow man. p. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Marx. L'inquisition. When there is a storm. p. Quellen. 121. Hansen.." Hansen. p. He explains how the witches use "base matter" (bos materye) to replace the wine stolen from the cellars. and gives a detailed account of what makes people turn to witchcraft. die ein mönsch gegen sinem ebenmönschen treit.et portant glaciem tempore tempestatum misterio diabolico per aërem. "Le sabbat raconté par les témoins des procès de sorcellerie en Hongrie". haß und viegentschaft. pp. avarice.". 232-234."261 The documents of the trials held in the Dauphiné echo these charges: there. they whisk the ice through the air. nobilium. durch gitigkeit... and burghers. in Jacques-Chaquin--Préaud. and using their magic wand.. As the author of the anonymous tract sees it. "Hungary: The Accusations and the Universe of Popular Magic. and have acquired too many enemies.. 534. 296. 294. L’imaginaire du sabbat. Hansen. the accusation was poisoning the neighbor's well. where they find plenty of wine and food. p.. p." Another likely group of candidates are those who have grown poor through a profligate life. the devil is most likely to attract those who "can't live in peace with their fellow men.. cf.. Le sabbat. in quorum domibus scit cubaria et vinum voluntati et desiderio eorum convenientia. 39."259 This storehouseraiding variant of the witches' sabbath--common also in descriptions originating among Hungarian villagers260--has a central place in Johann Fründ's account as well.". cf. but don't want to give up their immoderate life style: these the devil lets loose "in the homes of the powerful among the clergy. Quellen.."258 The motivations of everyday life are assumed to motivate witches as well. and with the devil's help. The evil one promises them wealth and power. Quellen. and there they can eat and drink until midnight. pp. Early Modern.
. "they gather in the mountains to break
the ice. L’imaginaire du sabbat..
must seem as significant as the roughly simultaneous finalisation of the mythology of the demonic witches' sabbath. the moralising strain of this reasoning: the propensity to project the image of the collective enemy. The new terms described a witch who was no longer motivated by the familiar. which pillaged and looted with the devil's help.264 and popular particularly among Anglo-American researchers.
Alan Macfarlane. Entertaining Satan. the new witch belonged to an organised sect. the violators of the community's economic and social cohesion. these witches killed babies. Seen in this light.70 No sign of the fantastic tales told under torture here! What is reflected is
the reasoning of the traditional witch hunters of the villages--clerics. Arno Borst called attention to the social strains behind witch hunts. personal and agricultural in terms more dangerous and frightening than ever before. and poisoned and destroyed everything. 1970). Religion and the Decline of Magic. in the parents' bed). These potions were not love potions. 1982)
. midwives. Keith Thomas.263 an approach known as the "sociology of accusations". and the shamanistic elements of popular mythology).New York. Analysing Nider's report. and to the social rituals that served to ward it off. the practices they engaged
Borst. Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England. had effective potions. their own and others' (in the mother's womb. Studies in popular beliefs in sixteenth and seventeenth century England (Routledge & Kegan Paul. London. and that these agents possessed supernatural powers. to fire desire or to make impotent. 1971). fortune tellers--or rather. A Regional and Comparative Study (New York/Evanston. What it does is calling attention to the system of beliefs in terms of which misfortune was explained. John Putnam Demos. particularly the accusations levelled against Scaedeli. the fact that--in the course of the Alpine witch hunts of the 1430s--witches were scapegoated for the community's fertility problems. Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England (Oxford University Press. Oxford . Focusing on the social conflicts behind the witch trials does not detract from the explanatory force of the factors we have been discussing until now (the Church's persecution of heretics. the belief in black magic. "Anfänge". The appearance of massive witch trials that gripped Europe towards the end of the Middle Ages indicates the growing dominance of the belief that misfortune was due to human agency. personal interests of the traditional spellmonger and purloiner of cow's milk.
physical regular. the question of how Johannes Nider views the state of trance in his Formicarius. and
. and the subsequent enrichment of the motifs of both. they were the witches themselves the devil's concubines. as recent research has shown. It impacted the mythologies that had grown up around visionary female saints. on the one hand. ruthless orgies. The revoltingly negative role assigned to the witch was an integral part of the same cultural and religious re-evaluation that gave the "living saints" their growing prestige: it was all part of the growing faith in human mediators and personifiers of supernatural power. and what effect his explanations had on the subsequent practice of witch hunts. the state of trance. The mirror effect operated also because of the ambivalence that soon blurred the distinction between the two. The digression has been deliberate: it is the sociological and anthropological theories of witchcraft which will show us the correlations between everything that Nider said about late medieval visionaries. the lips. and devil-worshipping witches. touching. in some sense. Some astonishing analogies developed between these two sets of categories in the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It might seem that I have strayed far from my topic. perverse. (For example: Christ and Satan appearing in human form. Recalling what we said above about the analogy between the religious function of the ecstatic saints of the high Middle Ages and the communal functions of shamans or other workers of "white magic". kissing (the stigmata. The projection of the angelic vision on the diabolical. on the other. the eroticism involved in the love felt for both: embracing. and witches. we shall see how this late medieval interpretation of the witch as the devil's associate fits in the picture. the two sides of the same coin. due to their being.71 in were not just immoral. the behind). and vice versa. There was a kind of mirror effect between the two poles of the supernatural pantheon. with borrowing in both directions. It was a typological correlation that would have far-reaching consequences. has just begun to be studied.
I myself have drawn attention to this same binary opposition between saints and witches in my "Hungary: The Accusations and the Universe of Popular Magic". their miracles and revelations. Einige Überlegungen zu den weiblichen Heiligen des Mittelalters in Mitteleuropa" in Wissenschaftskolleg Jahrbuch 1990/91.
the obscene details of copulating with the devil.267
Let us. L'érotisme. vol. pp. 49-74. by R. 78. were the same people who dealt with the mythology of the witch's sabbath. Contra superstitiosam diem observationem. 85-98. Bell. 121-157 . 1997). pp. the orgasm of Marie Bonaparte is mentioned in connection of the transverberations of Teresa of Avila by Georges Bataille. 1925). Heilige oder Hexen? --.. Paris. Wiesbaden. Zarri. and its orgasmic pleasure. Médiévales. dedicated several treatises to the problems of superstition and witchcraft (De diversis diaboli tentationibus. heavenly and demonic feasts. pp. and to cautiously acceptable or suspicious female visionaries. Wolfenbütteler Forschungen Bd. cf. pp. New York/London. pp. hagiography and demonology grew on the same tree. N. (Harrasowitz. Opinions des théologiens sur les superstitions et la sorcellerie au début du XVe siècle". stigmata. Wolfgang Ziegeler.und Zauberwesen im ausgehenden Mittelalter (Böhlau. 224-252. Jean-Patrice Boudet. in idem. "Sante vive". W. who. consider once again the issue: how far can we "credit" Nider's Formicarius--and the cults. 220-222.
Françoise Bonney. and “Miraculum and Maleficium: Reflections Concerning Late Medieval Female Sainthood”. 113-132. 1973). Dinzelbacher. heavenly and satanic pregnancy. cit. The Psychology of Religious Mysticism (Harcourt. Jean Gerson. Holy Feast. loc. Brace & Co. Bynum. Sante e streghe (Milano. pp. rings. Le Moyen Age 77 (1971). Contra errores magicae). the tokens of betrothal to the Heavenly Bridegroom as compared to betrothal to Satan. disputations and persecutions of the first half of the
James Leuba. dancing). eadem. besides his works related to mystical theology. The interest relating these two poles can be clearly observed in the work of the late medieval theologians discussed here: besides Nider one could also refer to his important precursor. 1980). Köln/ Wien. the witch's stamp.266 Johannes Nider's Formicarius illustrates that one source of the analogies could certainly have been the fact that the people who dealt with the visions of the saints. J. Po-Chia Hsia and R. p. 234. Holy Anorexia. "The holy and the unholy".
The parallel of these two mythologies has been analysed recently by Marcello Craveri. 368-373./Kegan Paul.in connection with the latter a number of thoughful objections have been made by Kieckhefer. and "Miraculum und Maleficium. 2001. 10. Oeuvres complètes (Gallimard. in conclusion. ed. printemps 2001. pp. 12 (73). "Autour de Jean Gerson. “Jean sans Peur et la ‘fole secte’ des devins: enjeux et circonstances de la rédaction du traité Contre les devineurs (1411) de Laurent Pinon”. 218-258. in Problems in the Historical Anthropology of Early Modern Europe. Revue Mabillon. Véronèse. In the fifteenth century. Fragmentation and Redemption. 1976). Möglichkeiten der Kritik am Hexen. pp.S. “Les condamnations de la magie à Paris en 1398”. Scribner.72 union with the Heavenly Bridegroom in ecstasy.
and grew more vigorous. La quête du surnaturel à Naples au XVIe siècle (Flammarion. Die Akten des Kanonisationsprozesses Dorotheas von Montau von 1394 bis 1521 (Köln-Wien. pp. 473-474. on the other hand. a time when belief in witchcraft was on the rise. "The Lives of Byzantine Saints as Sources of Data for the History of Magic in the Sixth and Seventh Centuries A. Paris. had caused them harm. idem. 359. (PUF. the saint had been the main actor on the religious scene of Europe. gained in significance right up to the seventeenth century. without a doubt. European Witch Trials. In the canonisation proceedings of scales were perceptibly tipping to one
Jeffrey Burton Russell. Ithaca/London. jeteurs de sorts. the cult of saints lived on in modern times. and in Catholic countries people continued to turn to the saints and their relics to counter the works of witches. 1978). Chercheurs de trésors. 108-109.D.. Dorothy of Montau heals maleficia in two of her posthumous miracles: Richard Stachnik. 228-269.
Such cases are analysed by Jean-Michel Sallmann. 37 (1967). 1994)
. for personal gain and with diabolical help. Witchcraft in the Middle Ages (Cornell University Press. 1972). Cohn.270 It was a conflict-fraught moment indeed when. Paris. H. p. 1986).73 fifteenth century--with the fact that the side in the saints-witches dichotomy? While in medieval times. J.269 On the other hand. Magoulias. Byzantion. Europe’s Inner Demons. Relics and Icons". Kieckhefer. though by no means exclusive systems.268 and many a saint was credited with having protected the faithful from the spells of magicians and witches. Witches. "The holy and the unholy". the star of early modern Europe's supernatural pantheon. cf. Böhlau. Kieckhefer. We might say that while in the Middle Ages the saint's power to protect the community seemed the more attractive solution to misfortune (witness the mushrooming of local cults and of "living saints"). Naples et ses saints è l'âge baroque (15401750). Let us recall the functional similarities and differences between the cult of saints and witch hunts from the point of view of their explaining and/or warding off misfortune. the ambiguities of the first half of the fifteenth century led to half of Christendom completely repudiating this cult. early modern Europeans preferred to try to ferret out from their midst those who. We know that witch trials were not unknown in medieval times. the witch was. pp. and tried to turn the scales by burning the scapegoat at the stake. We have here two very different. at the end of the Middle Ages.: Sorcery. a "living saint" was called upon to deal with the new kind of witch.
we read that it suicide). But when they were seduced into taking part in the fight against witchcraft. As for the historical processes we can observe. 513. "Witch doctors. however. who. moved in--to say nothing of the witch hunters--was on the rise. Violence. then it will be evident why the late medieval visionaries achieved such an equivocal reception. saint and witch moved in two diametrically opposed systems. as I have tried to show272. ed. 183-187. rather than dealing with distant evil spirits. The same process of re-evaluation led to the rise of both "living saints" and witches. On cunning folk in European historiography and tradition". they would hear the charge: "Whoever has the power to cure. Goodich. when they.271 The two systems of accounting for misfortune coexisted in villages in late medieval and early modern times. the system that the latter. Bridget of Sweden. for all its last moments of glory. N. patrons of the community with supernatural powers. and if we also recall that all this happened at a time when the fear of diabolical witches was on the rise. pp. resorted to the same mechanisms of averting misfortune as the saints. the witches. pp. who committed
Isak Collijn. 285-303. This. were expected to help unmask the traitors within the community. More was her prayers that freed a priest on
the verge of madness from a love spell (and from the witch herself. Social History 19 (1994).). p. 1980). shamanic magician figures such as the benandante and the táltos. in Venetia Newall (ed. Among the traditional "removers" of a witch's curse we find archaic. "The cunning folk in English and Hungarian witch trials". cf. Acta et processus canonizationis beatae Birgitte (Uppsala. 64-66. Willem de Blécourt. has the power to harm". If we can accept my contention that the late medieval "living saints" were the "heirs" to whom the white-magic-making shamanic functions had passed. XX
. was on the verge of disintegration. cf. Folklore Studies in the Twentieth Century. Tekla Dömötör. Soon. 1924-31).273 We have come full circle. was true only as regards their credibility as supernatural operators. too.74 St. soothsayers and priests. pp. when they began themselves to join those who accused the witches there was a change in their supernatural authority. Proceedings of the Centenary Conference of the Folklore Society (Rowman & Littlefield. The system of the former.
simulated visions". the living saints met witchcraft. His close successors will. he seldom mentions the matter of their "Satanic origin". but his considerable efforts already pave the way to the synthesis on witchcraft that the Malleus Maleficarum of two generations later would be. living saints". He does not rule out the possibility that the Viennese Benedictine who had practiced black magic would be pardoned. One man's miracle is another man's
New light is shed on this process is now by the recent monograph by Walter Stephens. like Theophil. the fate of Joan of Arc: they found
themselves pushed from one system into the other. Nider's Formicarius balances precariously on the verge of this transformation.274 He is unable to create order on the chaotic and conflict-riddled late medieval religious scene.
. Alhough he is skeptical of "false. And he still has not made the connection between the orgiastic ecstasy of heretical sects and the orgies of witches. but believes that witches murder children. He derides his contemporaries for believing in the flight of witches. All this goes a long way toward explaining why Nider's tract is more successful and more popular than the more colourful and sensationalist accounts of his witch-hunting contemporaries. Demon Lovers.75 and more often. and turns with veneration to "real" visions and "real.