The Transformations Of Magic: Illicit Learned Magic In The Later Middle Ages And Renaissance

Paperback | January 2, 2013

byFrank Klaassen

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In this original, provocative, well-reasoned, and thoroughly documented book, Frank Klaassen proposes that two principal genres of illicit learned magic occur in late medieval manuscripts: image magic, which could be interpreted and justified in scholastic terms, and ritual magic (in its extreme form, overt necromancy), which could not. Image magic tended to be recopied faithfully; ritual magic tended to be adapted and reworked. These two forms of magic did not usually become intermingled in the manuscripts, but were presented separately. While image magic was often copied in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, The Transformations of Magic demonstrates that interest in it as an independent genre declined precipitously around 1500. Instead, what persisted was the other, more problematic form of magic: ritual magic. Klaassen shows that texts of medieval ritual magic were cherished in the sixteenth century, and writers of new magical treatises, such as Agrippa von Nettesheim and John Dee, were far more deeply indebted to medieval tradition—and specifically to the medieval tradition of ritual magic—than previous scholars have thought them to be.

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From the Publisher

In this original, provocative, well-reasoned, and thoroughly documented book, Frank Klaassen proposes that two principal genres of illicit learned magic occur in late medieval manuscripts: image magic, which could be interpreted and justified in scholastic terms, and ritual magic (in its extreme form, overt necromancy), which could not...

Frank Klaassen is Associate Professor of History at the University of Saskatchewan.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6.04 × 0.65 inPublished:January 2, 2013Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271056274

ISBN - 13:9780271056272

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface

Introduction

Part I: The Apothecary's Dilemma

1 Magic and Natural Philosophy

2 Scholastic Image Magic Before 1500

3 Some Apparent Exceptions: Image Magic or Necromancy?

Part II: Brother John's Dilemma

4 The Ars notoria and the Sworn Book of Honorius

5 The Magic of Demons and Angels

Part III: Magic After 1580

6 Sixteenth-Century Collections of Magic Texts

7 Medieval Ritual Magic and Renaissance Magic

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

“The Transformations of Magic is an inspiring and innovative work of scholarship on illicit learned magic. It sheds new light on problems with the transmission and transformation of magical traditions in a systematic manner. But more than this, it opens up important new vistas of inquiry for scholars interested in the longue durée of ritual magical texts, and suggests that more work is required on the complex, culturally productive relationship between experience, discernment, ritual technique, and textuality in Western magic.”—Egil Asprem, Correspondences