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Friday, July 31, 2015

Carl Jung: Taken in the spirit of the age, the Malleus Maleficarum is not so gruesome.




Dear Herr Rosen, 16 June 1952

Taken in the spirit of the age, the Malleus Maleficarum is not so gruesome.

It was an instrument whereby it was supposed that one of those great psychic epidemics could be stamped out.

For that age it represented a work of enlightenment which was, admittedly, prosecuted with very drastic measures.

The psychology of the witch-hunting epidemic has never been worked out properly.

There are only rather inept opinions about it.

It can only be understood in the total context of the religious problem of the time and in particular in the context of the German psyche under mediaeval conditions.

The solution of this problem makes unusual demands on our knowledge of the spiritual undercurrents which preceded the Reformation.

Although I have some knowledge of them I would scarcely venture to tackle the problem.

For a German it must be quite particularly difficult because it is connected with specifically German psychological Assumptions.

You can get some idea of them by comparing the women in German literature with those in French and English literature during the past 200 years.

The Rhine forms not only a political frontier but also a psychological one.

Yours very truly,

C.G. Jung ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 68-69.