Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century

Paperback | February 27, 1998

byRichard Kieckhefer

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Preserved in the Bavarian State Library in Munich is a manuscript that few scholars have noticed and that no one in modern times has treated with the seriousness it deserves. Forbidden Rites consists of an edition of this medieval Latin text with a full commentary, including detailed analysis of the text and its contents, discussion of the historical context, translation of representative sections of the text, and comparison with other necromantic texts of the late Middle Ages. The result is the most vivid and readable introduction to medieval magic now available.

Like many medieval texts for the use of magicians, this handbook is a miscellany rather than a systematic treatise. It is exceptional, however, in the scope and variety of its contents—prayers and conjurations, rituals of sympathetic magic, procedures involving astral magic, a catalogue of spirits, lengthy ceremonies for consecrating a book of magic, and other materials.

With more detail on particular experiments than the famous thirteenth-century Picatrix and more variety than the Thesaurus Necromantiae ascribed to Roger Bacon, the manual is one of the most interesting and important manuscripts of medieval magic that has yet come to light.

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From Our Editors

Forbidden Rites contains one of the most interesting and important medieval texts on magic. Reproducing the original Latin text, Richard Kieckhefer includes a full commentary, detailed text analysis, historical background and context, translations of representative sections and comparison with other medieval necromantic works.

From the Publisher

Preserved in the Bavarian State Library in Munich is a manuscript that few scholars have noticed and that no one in modern times has treated with the seriousness it deserves. Forbidden Rites consists of an edition of this medieval Latin text with a full commentary, including detailed analysis of the text and its contents, discussion of...

Richard Kieckhefer is Professor of Religion and History at Northwestern University and an acknowledged expert on medieval magic and witchcraft. His publications include European Witch Trials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture, 1300–1500 (1976), Repression of Heresy in Medieval Germany (1979), Unquiet Souls: Fourteenth-Ce...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.25 × 6.18 × 1.09 inPublished:February 27, 1998Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271017511

ISBN - 13:9780271017518

Customer Reviews of Forbidden Rites: A Necromancer’s Manual of the Fifteenth Century

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Forbidden Rites Good book, but I will say that it is not a good choice for those starting out in necromancy. It is very christian based, but at the same time very interesting. Extremely 'wordy' but I enjoyed the direct photocopies of a few select pages from the original manuscript. It is more interesting than helpful though. Still worth buying if you want a good read.
Date published: 1999-12-17

Extra Content

From Our Editors

Forbidden Rites contains one of the most interesting and important medieval texts on magic. Reproducing the original Latin text, Richard Kieckhefer includes a full commentary, detailed text analysis, historical background and context, translations of representative sections and comparison with other medieval necromantic works.

Editorial Reviews

“I was captivated . . . by Forbidden Rites, part of an excellent series under the rubric Magic in History; with wonderful wit and succinct contextual insights, Richard Kieckhefer has edited a German wizard’s grimoire, packed with spells for Prospero-like conjurations of phantom banquets and castles in the air, as well as complicated charms, many involving hoopoes, against all manner of ills.”—Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement