On the Shelf – The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, Part 2

Now that we know something about the history of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, the question becomes what Peterson’s edition brings to the table that has not been available previously.

First, Peterson’s text represents an all-new translation from the Scheible’s German edition, instead of a presentation of the corrupte English text. Ideally for scholars, this would have been accompanied by the original German as well, though admittedly this would have expanded the book considerably for benefits few readers would appreciate. In addition, the seals that were increasingly mangled through the same process have been reproduced from the original. Peterson points out that the normally-seen seals, with the white text on a black background, Those who were hoping that the Hebrew lettering would become decipherable will be disappointed, but those tired of the typical dark, blobby reproductions will be happier with what they see.

(Most of the book is actually up at Peterson’s site – I haven’t done a point-by-point comparison, but he has omitted material from at least two sections, meaning that the paper version is the only way to get them. The remaining material I’ll be discussing is also a bonus in this edition.)

Second, we get a great deal of material contextualizing the Sixth and Seventh Books within the larger tradition of magical literature. Simply put, this gives us a large number of hard-to-find magical texts in one place. He presents a section of the Liber Razielis from the Middle Ages, a collection of magical names that can be linked to the Books of Moses. Another appendix provides the conjurations of the Verus Jesuitarum Libellus alongside those in the Sixth and Seventh Books, showing the similarities between the two. Another welcome addition is an English text of the Faustian grimoire Vierfacher Hollenzwang, in which the spirits mentioned in the Black Raven section are shown to be a small part of a broader treatise on spirit magic. All around, it’s an impressive collection.

Third, we have the indexes. Yes, there are more than one. Not only do we have a general index, we have one for magical procedures, one for spirit names, one for desired results, and one for spell ingredients. This is a breathtaking amount of detail, and one that will be welcome to both scholars and practitioners alike.

That’s the basics. I’ll be discussing some other aspects of the book in posts to come. If you have any questions or topics you’d like to see covered, just let me know.

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 11:39 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. i need riches

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