Peter Binsfeld

Peter Binsfeld

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[This is the $%^$ who killed all those people and forced Cornelius Loos to recant (].

He was elected Suffragan Bishop of Trier and became a well-known theologian writer, who achieved fame as a one of the most prominent witch-hunters of his time. Binsfeld wrote the influential treatise De confessionibus maleficorum et sagarum, “Of the Confessions of Warlocks and Witches”, translated into several languages (Trier, 1589). This work discussed the confessions of alleged witches, and claimed that even if such confessions were produced by torture, they should still be believed. He also encouraged denouncements.

He thought that girls under age twelve and boys under age fourteen could not be considered guilty of practising witchcraft, but due to the precocity of some children the law should not be completely strict. This point of view can be considered as moderate, taking into account that other inquisitors had condemned to be burnt at the stake children between two and five years of age.

Contrarily to other authors of the same time, Binsfeld doubted that people could change shape into animals and of the validity of the diabolical mark.

In 1589, the same year Galileo was beginning his revolutionary experiments on bodies in motion, Binsfield published the authoritative list of demons and their associated sins, including the demons associated with the Seven Deadly Sins[1]: Lucifer (pride), Mammon (greed), Asmodeus (lust), Leviathan (envy), Beelzebub (gluttony), Satan/Amon (wrath) and Belphegor (sloth).

Binsfeld’s classification of demons

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Is there virtue in sin?

Is there virtue in sin?

Lucifer and his counterpart Ahriman figure in anthroposophy as two polar, generally evil influences on world and human evolution. Steiner described both positive and negative aspects of both figures, however: Lucifer as the light spirit which “plays on human pride and offers the delusion of divinity”, but also motivates creativity and spirituality; Ahriman as the dark spirit which tempts human beings to “deny [their] link with divinity and to live entirely on the material plane“, but also stimulates intellectuality and technology. Both figures exert a negative effect on humanity when their influence becomes misplaced or one-sided, yet their influences are necessary for human freedom to unfold.”

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Marlowe’s Seven Deadlies from The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus:

Marlowe’s Seven Deadlies from The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus:

[Mephastophilis answers Faustus’s questions about the nature of the world, but not when Faustus asks him who made the universe. Faust has doubts, and Mephastophilis and Lucifer bring in personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins (pride, covetousness, wrath, envy, gluttony, sloth, and lechery) to parade in front of Faustus.]

LUCIFER. Do so, and we will highly gratify thee. Faustus, we are
come from hell to shew thee some pastime: sit down, and thou
shalt see all the Seven Deadly Sins appear in their proper shapes.

FAUSTUS. That sight will be as pleasing unto me,
As Paradise was to Adam, the first day
Of his creation.

LUCIFER. Talk not of Paradise nor creation; but mark this show:
talk of the devil, and nothing else.—Come away!


Now, Faustus, examine them of their several names and dispositions.

FAUSTUS. What art thou, the first?

PRIDE. I am Pride. I disdain to have any parents. I am like to
Ovid’s flea; I can creep into every corner of a wench; sometimes,
like a perriwig, I sit upon her brow; or, like a fan of feathers,
I kiss her lips; indeed, I do—what do I not? But, fie, what a
scent is here! I’ll not speak another word, except the ground
were perfumed, and covered with cloth of arras.

FAUSTUS. What art thou, the second?

COVETOUSNESS. I am Covetousness, begotten of an old churl, in an
old leathern bag: and, might I have my wish, I would desire that
this house and all the people in it were turned to gold, that I
might lock you up in my good chest: O, my sweet gold!

FAUSTUS. What art thou, the third?

WRATH. I am Wrath. I had neither father nor mother: I leapt out
of a lion’s mouth when I was scarce half-an-hour old; and ever
since I have run up and down the world with this case
of rapiers, wounding myself when I had nobody to fight withal.
I was born in hell; and look to it, for some of you shall be
my father.

FAUSTUS. What art thou, the fourth?

ENVY. I am Envy, begotten of a chimney-sweeper and an oyster-wife.
I cannot read, and therefore wish all books were burnt. I am lean
with seeing others eat. O, that there would come a famine through
all the world, that all might die, and I live alone! then thou
shouldst see how fat I would be. But must thou sit, and I stand?
come down, with a vengeance!

FAUSTUS. Away, envious rascal!—What art thou, the fifth?

GLUTTONY. Who I, sir? I am Gluttony. My parents are all dead,
and the devil a penny they have left me, but a bare pension, and
that is thirty meals a-day and ten bevers,—a small trifle
to suffice nature. O, I come of a royal parentage! my grandfather
was a Gammon of Bacon, my grandmother a Hogshead of Claret-wine;
my godfathers were these, Peter Pickle-herring and Martin
Martlemas-beef; O, but my godmother, she was a jolly gentlewoman,
and well-beloved in every good town and city; her name was Mistress
Margery March-beer. Now, Faustus, thou hast heard all my progeny;
wilt thou bid me to supper?

FAUSTUS. No, I’ll see thee hanged: thou wilt eat up all my victuals.

GLUTTONY. Then the devil choke thee!

FAUSTUS. Choke thyself, glutton!—What art thou, the sixth?

SLOTH. I am Sloth. I was begotten on a sunny bank, where I have
lain ever since; and you have done me great injury to bring me
from thence: let me be carried thither again by Gluttony and
Lechery. I’ll not speak another word for a king’s ransom.

FAUSTUS. What are you, Mistress Minx, the seventh and last?

LECHERY. Who I, sir? I am one that loves an inch of raw mutton
better than an ell of fried stock-fish; and the first letter
of my name begins with L.

FAUSTUS. Away, to hell, to hell! [Exeunt the SINS.]

Christopher Marlowe, The Tragedie of Doctor Faustus (1604 A text)

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Later, Mephastophilis answers all of his questions about the nature of the world, refusing to answer only when Faustus asks him who made the universe. This refusal prompts yet another bout of misgivings in Faustus, but Mephastophilis and Lucifer bring in personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins to prance about in front of Faustus, and he is impressed enough to quiet his doubts.

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How Does God Rate?

How Does God Rate? The Seven Deadly Sins.

We are lucky to have been provided with a list of sins that can apparently lead to all sorts of trouble – the Seven Deadly Sins. These should not be confused with the Seven Samurai (who could also cause lots of trouble and be deadly), the Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, or the Seven Sinful Ice-cream Flavours (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, pistachio, anchovy, mint-choc-chip and pumpkin). Obviously, it would be bad to commit any of these sins (they`re deadly, remember), and as such it seems reasonable to suppose that our Lord and Creator would carefully avoid them too.
Let`s see how well He does.

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Credit: Adrian Barnett