I was wondering whether I should post the next segment in my grimoire wish list, or some answers to some of your fascinating comments, when an email showed up in my box advertising the latest release from Weiser Antiquarian, a new edition of the Hebrew Key of Solomon. From their site:
The book centers on a Hebrew manuscript entitled ‘Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh,’ that dates from around 1700. The original manuscript was discovered in the library of a London Rabbi, Samuel Marcus Gollancz (1819-1900), by his son, Hermann, not long after his father’s death. Hermann Gollancz, himself an eminent Hebrew scholar, was fascinated by the manuscript, and felt that its study might give important insight into the history and origins of the “Solomonic” grimoires or books of magic, that are a mainstay of the Western occult tradition. In 1903 Gollancz published his preliminary thoughts and translations in a booklet entitled ‘Clavicula Salomonis, A Hebrew Manuscript,’ and in 1914 he published a facsimile of the manuscript, along with a twenty-page English-language Introduction discussing the text, under the title Sepher Maphteah Shelomo in an edition of only 300 copies. Both books are extremely rare, and have never before been reprinted. This new Teitan Press edition includes the full text of both of Gollancz’s books, a facsimile of the original Hebrew manuscript, coupled with a new Foreword by well-known scholar of the occult, Stephen Skinner, in which he explores the history of the grimoire in the light of modern scholarship.
If you’re curious, the scholarship I’ve seen indicates this is a late-period translation back into Hebrew instead of a text closer to the supposed “original” by Solomon. Stephen Skinner might say something different, for all I know.
For those who don’t want to shell out $75, images of the two books mentioned are also available on Joe Peterson’s CD. On the other hand, a small number of signed copies are available now on a first-come first-served basis, so those who are purchasing the book should do so sooner rather than later. I’ll give a review of the introduction – you know, the part I can actually read – when it arrives.