What Does <i>Human</i> Mean?: Beings against Nature in Ludovico Maria Sinistrari's <i>Demoniality</i>

in In the Company of Demons

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780226501307
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226501291 | DOI:
What Does Human Mean?: Beings against Nature in Ludovico Maria Sinistrari's Demoniality

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This chapter examines the work De daemonialitate by the seventeenth-century Franciscan Ludovico Maria Sinistrari. This treatise on demonology, whose manuscript was discovered in London in 1872, saw its first printed edition in 1875. In De daemonialitate, the Franciscan Sinistrari questions the canonical definition of angelic being. A fundamental tenet of Christian angelology is the belief that angels lack any possible form of physical desire. However, Sinistrari refers to infinite accounts whose goal is not the sanction of a demonic pact but rather the fulfillment of a carnal, humanlike drive. Sinistrari calls this spirit incubus, and as innumerable stories confirm, the offspring of an incubus and a human is a hybrid, a being against nature. Sinistrari argues that an incubus's body is neither totally metaphorical like a devil's nor totally carnal like humans. Incubi are in-between beings, a step down from the angels and a step up from human beings.

Keywords: De daemonialitate; Ludovico Maria Sinistrari; angelic being; Christian angelology; incubus

Chapter.  9378 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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