Research Problems of Magical Texts in Central Europe Cover Image

Research Problems of Magical Texts in Central Europe
Research Problems of Magical Texts in Central Europe

Author(s): Benedek Láng
Subject(s): Cultural history, Customs / Folklore, Geography, Regional studies, Middle Ages, Culture and social structure
Published by: Historický ústav SAV
Keywords: magic; text; research problems; Central Europe; 15th century; manuscripts;
Summary/Abstract: In his fundamental article on the diffusion of Arabic magical texts in Western Europe, David Pingree made a remarkable observation. He noticed that copies of magical texts “found an attentive audience only after about (...) 1400 in Central Europe.” The research I have been carrying out in the latest years is closely related to Pingree’s remark. My investigations focus on Central European sources of learned magic found in 15th century manuscripts. These texts include a wide variety of branches from the relatively innocent practices of natural magic, which operates with the secret correspondences of the world and with the marvellous properties of its objects (to be found in lapidaries, bestiaries, books of marvels, and books of secrets), through the more manipulative methods of image magic or talismanic magic (presented in the famous Picatrix, in Thebit ben Corath’s De imaginibus, in a range of hermetic texts), to arrive finally at the practices of ritual magic, that is the science of acquiring knowledge about unknown, future, and hidden phenomena with the help of the invocation of angels and demons.

  • Page Range: 11-18
  • Page Count: 8
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Language: English