May 19 in freethought history…

malleusMay 19, 1487 – The Faculty of Theology of the University of Cologne issues a unanimous approbation of the recently published book Malleus maleficarum (“Hammer of the Witches”), which insisted on the reality of witchcraft, described its supposed practices, and offered guidance on the interrogation and prosecution of witches. The book was quickly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church (which viewed “witchcraft” more as a fraud than an actual power); nonetheless, the book enjoyed numerous publications, deeply influenced popular superstitions, and caused the torture and deaths of countless innocent victims.

 

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