Friday, February 26, 2010

Publishing magic

An autograph manuscript by R Hayyim Vital, with his notes on practical magic, has attracted a fair amount of scholarly attention in the past decades. Several lengthy studies have appeared in Hebrew, and at least one in English (Gerrit Bos, 'Hayyim Vital's Practical Kabbalah and Alchemy: a 17th century Book of Secrets', Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 4 (1995), pp. 55-112).

Now, someone (the editor's name is not mentioned in the volume, as far as I can tell) has published as much of the manuscript as is extant today. Titled Sefer ha-Pe'ulot, it includes indices and an introduction, but virtually no notes to the text.

What I found fascinating was the following proviso, at the beginning of the book:
ספר זה נועד לעיון בלבד ולא לשימוש מעשי. והעושה מפעולותיו, על דעתו ובאחריותו הוא עושה. שומר נפשו וגופו ירחק מלעשותן והיה שלום.
This book is meant purely for research, and not for practical use. Anyone who follows its instructions, does so on his own responsibility. Whoever care about their soul or body will stay away from performing them and shall be at peace.

Not something you normally see in magic studies.
For more details, email the editor at hapeulot -at-


Blogger Jesús said...

Just a quick note: Emma Abate is finishing a PhD thesis (written in Italian) on the magic fragments of the Alliance Israélite Universelle's Genizah collection. She should then proceed to critically edit a magic handbook found in that collection. Her main PhD supervisor is Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, from the EPHE in Paris.

PS: And sorry for having left aside any decent e-mail reply time!

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supposedly the copying of the manuscript is defective.

3:31 AM  
Blogger חנוך said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:41 PM  
Blogger חנוך said...

You can read about the copying of the manuscript in the following link (in Hebrew):

7:46 PM  

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