Magic and the Classical Tradition

Edited by W. F. Ryan and Charles Burnett
Publication date: 
1 February 2006
Number of pages: 
The present volume arose from a colloquium on magic and divination intended to apply the study of the history of the classical tradition to the specific area of magic. Magic is interpreted in a very broad sense, and the book includes discussions of Neoplatonic theurgy, Hermetic astrological talismans, the occult activities of oracles and witches, demon-possession, popular beliefs and party tricks. While several articles look at magic in the Graeco-Roman tradition, others deal with practices in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Byzantium and Russia. The emphasis is on showing transmission through time, and across cultural and linguistic borders, and the continuing importance of classical or ancient authorities among writers of more recent periods. Editions of several previously unpublished Latin texts are included.ContentsM. J. Geller: Deconstructing Talmudic Magic† David Pingree: From Hermes to Jabir and the Book of the CowJeffrey Spier: A Revival of Antique Magical Practice in Tenth-Century ConstantinopleW. F. Ryan:   Ancient Demons and Russian FeversAdelina Angusheva: Divination, Demons and Magic: A Hellenistic Theme from the Byzantine and Medieval Slavic PerspectiveSophie Page: Image-Magic Texts and a Platonic Cosmology at St Augustine’s, Canterbury in the Late Middle AgesCharles Burnett: A Hermetic Programme of Astrology and Divination in mid-Twelfth-Century Aragon: the Hidden Preface in the Liber novem iudicumJan R. Veenstra: Venerating and Conjuring Angels: Eiximenis’s Book of the Holy Angels and the Holy Almandal. Two Case StudiesRobert Goulding: Deceiving the Senses in the Thirteenth Century: Trickery and Illusion in the Secretum philosophorumNicolas Weill-Parot: Contriving Classical References for Talismanic Magic in the Middle Ages and the Early RenaissancePaolo Lucentini and Antonella Sannino: Recommendatio astronomiae: un anonimo trattato del secolo XV in difesa dell’astrologia e della magiaRichard Kieckhefer: Did Magic Have a Renaissance? An Historiographic Question Revisited.Dorothy Severin: Two Fifteenth-Century Spanish Literary Conjurations and their Relationship to Lucan’s Pharsalia VI