Practica exorcistarum…ad daemones, & maleficia de Christifidelibus eiiciendum. [with] Dispersio daemonum.Padua, apud Paulum Meietum, 1587
8vo. 2 parts in 1, separate t-ps. pp. (viii) 188 (i); 86 (iii). Roman letter, little Italic. T-ps in red and black within typographical border, woodcut initials and ornaments. First t-p dusty with slight stains, intermittent light browning, very minor foxing, C15 ms. used as spine lining just visible at gutter of first A 1 and second L 1 . A very good copy in contemporary vellum, missing ties, yapp edges.
A very good copy of this important manual for exorcists. Valerio Polidori (fl. late C16) was a conventual Franciscan and theologian, whose fame rests on this work, first published in 1582. In two parts: one on the expulsion, the other on the dispersion of demons. The first part discusses the necessary characteristics exorcists should have (strong faith, pure conscience, not greedy or vain), the ways in which demons attack human bodies, how to tell if something is being generated by a demon or if a demon has been expelled, the nature of demons, orations and prayers to be used, and what demons should be asked (e.g., name, cause for entering the body, the angels he fears). The second explains the nature of ‘maleficia’, natural remedies to disperse demons, and how to tell the difference between a normal sickness and the consequences of demonic possession. ‘The work is very good, clear, well-founded on doctrine and mostly based on Peter Lombard. […] Of the subjects he does not want to discuss at length he mentions the best authorities, and he provides sound instructions for both the exorcist and the exorcised’ (Franchini, ‘Bibliosofia’, 561). It was, however, listed among the prohibited books in the Index of 1744.Durling 3701; Caillet III, 8805 (1582 and 1606 eds); Thorndike, V, pp. 556-7. F.G. Franchini, Bibliosofia e memorie letterarie di scrittori francescani conventuali (Modena, 1693).