Review: The Pauline Art of Solomon (Transcribed by Frederick Hockley)

Teitan Press was kind enough to send me a copy of their latest publication of a Hockley manuscript, The Pauline Art of Solomon.

In its most modern form, the Pauline Art is usually bundled with the other sections of the seventeenth-century compilation known as the Lemegeton, of which the most famous chapter is the Goetia.  The Pauline Art is, as with the Goetia, a list of spirits of various capacities and their seals.  These spirits relate to the hours of the day and night and the signs of the zodiac, and may be called upon to perform various tasks, as with other lists of spirits.

Hockley, the 19th century accountant, magician, and bibliophile, seems to have made this copy from an eighteenth-century source.  His copy preserves the original text, although he puts less effort into the actual seals.  The planetary seals in the first part are lightly drawn in pencil, and the talismans in the second part have not been filled into the circles at all.  It’s unlikely that this was a manuscript describing a practice in which Hockley actively engaged.

What really sets this edition above and beyond is the introduction by Alan Thorogood.  In his edition of the Lemegeton, Joseph Peterson did discuss the history behind the document briefly, but he doesn’t go into it at any length.  (Of course, he also had four other sections of the Lemegeton to cover, so that’s all right.)   Thorogood is always excellent, and he does an excellent job of putting the book into its historical context, describing its origins and how it came to be included in this broader collection of magical works.

I learned two fascinating items from this book.  First, the “Ars Paulina” was originally a title used for a book in Latin along the lines of the Ars Notoria, a set of prayers and exercises used to provide the user with eloquence.  I had not heard of this before, and it brings home the important point that a historical document that gives the title of a book might not refer to the book of the same title known in our era.

Second, many of the angel names in the Ars Paulina are derived from a seventeenth-century work by a parish priest named Jean Belot.  Due to confusion about the Hebrew characters to be published in Belot’s work, many of the angelic names provided in the Pauline Art are not correct according to what they should be.  Thorogood provides not only the names in Hockley’s manuscript, but the corrected versions that have not been published up until now.

Given that Joe Peterson has put an earlier manuscript version of the Ars Paulina online, this might not appeal to those trying to build a cheap grimoire collection.  It would appeal to those interested in Hockley and his magical knowledge, the background of the Lemegeton, or the history of the grimoire tradition.  Teitan’s releases also seem to increase in value after they sold out, so they are an attractive and valuable addition to a library.

Published in: on April 29, 2016 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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