Bergamo: Marco Antonio Rubei, 1651. FIRST EDITION. Complete with half title, woodcut initials and headpieces; lacks first blank. Early vellum with manuscript title on spine; despite occasional browning an excellent copy. Inscription on title page of St. Pervi dated 1664. Item #16021
First edition of this extraordinary manual on exorcism that was placed on the Index in 1727 by the Sacred Congregation. The author, a Franciscan friar and professor of theology, offers a theoretical and practical handbook to clergy in charge of dealing with cases of demoniac activities and behaviors. He first defines the nature of diabolical possession and sets the guidelines for an exorcism, citing multiple cases of demonic possession. Brognolo specialized in the process of identification and diagnosis of possessions of preternatural origin. He dedicates much of his work to the analysis of the unmistakable signs of the possession, providing detailed descriptions of the symptoms of the presence of evil, detailed formulae for the recognition of the state of demoniacal possession, for the discovery of a demon’s name, for the cause of possession, and most importantly the step-by-step directions for the expulsion of demons.
Brognolo also lists a variety of poor and ill-chosen techniques some exorcists use, among them slapping possessed people and beating them in cruel and ferocious means inappropriate and sinful for exorcists. He attacks priests who touched their female patients immodestly and in a manner that causes excitement. Growing anxiety concerning the moral standards of the clergy was a major part of the post-Tridentine reform of the clergy. This book enjoyed a large success thanks to the support of his Franciscan order before it was placed on the Index due to the perception that Brognolo was overly critical of the Church and its approach toward exorcism.
Brognolo (1607-1677) was a theologian and member of the Franciscan order since 1625. He claimed in particular the validity of adjuring in the practice of exorcisms. Although he published other works, the bewitched and diagnosis of the possessed were the main focus of his studies. In addition to the Manuale exorcistarum, he published Alexicacon, hoc est, Opvs de maleficiis, ac morbis maleficis (Venice, 1668) on the symptoms and diagnosis of possession.