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A Valuable but Incomplete Edition
on November 3, 2001
This volume is a facsimile of Robert Turner's English translation (1654); the original volume first appeared (in Latin) in Marburg around 1554. The original volume included a large number of short texts of varying interest, but Turner (for unclear reasons) decided only to translate a few of them. This edition includes 6 short texts: Of Geomancy (H.C. Agrippa); Of Occult Philosophy the Fourth Book (pseudo-Agrippa); Heptameron or Magical Elements (pseudo-Peter de Abano); Isagoge: An Introductory Discourse on the Nature of ... Spirits... (Georg Pictorius Villinganus); Of Astronomical Geomancy (Gerard of Cremona); and the anonymous Arbatel of Magic. Only the Geomancy is actually by Agrippa, and it doesn't fit well with the other texts. The Fourth Book is, as another reviewer noted, certainly spurious; it purports to be Agrippa's "secret key" to the Occult Philosophy, of which he spoke in a letter to a friend. The Heptameron and the Arbatel are grimoires of some interest for those interested in black magic, as indeed is the Fourth Book itself; the Isagoge is a rather dull dialogue about spirits; and the Astronomical Geomancy is more or less impenetrable but perhaps interesting in a peculiar way. There have been a number of reprints of this volume, some now surprisingly valuable despite their modernity; all, however, have trimmed out one or more of the already few texts. As such, this is probably the best edition available. It is, like all Kessinger products, a cheaply-bound xerox facsimile of the original 17th-century text, but it's readable and includes everything. If you collect grimoires or magical texts, this is a very famous one, and you ought to have it; copies of the various Latin printings turn up with some regularity, and those with access to Latin would do better with those, although they are of course quite expensive. If you're looking for works by Agrippa, the Geomancy is all you'll find here, but it's interesting in a number of respects. If you want to know about Agrippa's ceremonial magic, however, you need to read book 3 of the Occult Philosophy, available in a nice Llewellyn edition.