Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/545

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Reviews. 509

agencies they succeeded in killing most of the native mdrchen, as the Norwegian rat has ousted the native breed, and in becoming current in their place. Here at least they became " populaires."

E. Sidney Hartland.

L'Eglise et la Sorcellerie. Par J. Fran^ais. Precis Historique. Suivi des Documents officiels des Textes principaux et d'un Proces inedit. Paris : E. Nourry, 1910. 8vo, pp. 272. A valuable contribution to the solution of the vexed question of the origin and spread of witchcraft in the Middle Ages, and the relation of the Church to witchcraft. The book is written from the medical point of view, and the pathology of witchcraft is described with the aid of the author's study of nervous diseases. The author shows the change which has taken place in the attitude of the Church before the fourteenth century and after that period. During the first period, popular superstition of ancient origin was merely tolerated by the Church as a remnant of idolatry, and was considered as canonical sin. From the time of Pope John XXII. on, influenced by the growing superstition, and no doubt by scholastic interpretation, the Church condemned witchcraft as heresy, and punished those guilty of witchcraft with death at the stake. Pope Innocent VIII. laid the foundation of the era of wholesale persecution by his Bull "Summis desiderantes," and torture in the examination of accused persons was sanctioned by subsequent Popes. Moreover, the whole system of examination was fixed in the Malleus Maleficorum (" Hammer of Evil-doers "), a guide and manual to inquisitors and judges. The Inquisition took the matter into its own hands, with the result that between three hundred thousand and half a million accused of the heresy of witchcraft are said to have perished at the hands of the clerical or lay executioner during three centuries. Dr. Frangais describes the peculiar symptoms recurring so often