The History of Magical Demonology

For those interested in the history of the use of demons in magic, I highly recommend “Les who’s who démonologiques de la Renaissance et leurs ancêtres médiévaux” by Jean-Patrice Boudet.  He presents a mid-sixteenth century manuscript at Trinity College, Cambridge (which I visited not so long ago) that parallels in some ways the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum of Weyer, though its list seems to be more comprehensive than Weyer.

Why’s that important?  Well, Weyer’s list begat that of Reginald Scot in Discoverie of Witchcraft, and Scot’s list was the likely origin of the demons in the infamous book of demons known as the Goetia, perhaps one of the most well-known books of demonic magic today.  What Boudet reminds us is that this book was by no means comprehensive, but merely one iteration of a lengthy tradition of lists of spirits compiled by magicians over the centuries.  As such, Boudet’s contribution bears a look by anyone interested in such historical issues.

Published in: on October 22, 2009 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Boudet has produced some excellent work on medieval magic, and more is in preparation. His critical edition of ‘De Officiis Spirituum’, which should build considerably on this article, is I believe due to be published next year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s