- Hardcover: 128 pages
- Publisher: Ibis (July 17, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0892541520
- ISBN-13: 978-0892541522
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Arbatel: Concerning the Magic of Ancients Hardcover – July 17, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
Arbatel, which first appeared in 1575, is often quoted and reprinted, both praised and condemned, its impact on western esoteric philosophy has been called "overwhelming." It's magic is full of wonder and free from the sinister elements usually associated with texts on the subject. But it is about more than magic; filled with gnomic wisdom, it urges us to help our neighbors, be positive and grateful, and use time wisely. Above all, it teaches us to pay attention, looking for the wondrous and miraculous.
About the Author
Joseph Peterson has translated many esoteric and religious sourceworks. He has amassed a large collection of copies of rare and occult tracts for comparative research from the British Library and other institutions, which he shares on his award-winning Web sites www.avesta.org and www.esotericarchives.com. Peterson's published works include The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, John Dee'sFive Books of Mystery, and The Lesser Key of Solomon.
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Top Customer Reviews
In his over 20-page introduction, he covers not only the title and origins of the text, including the date, provenance, publisher, and probable author, but also the themes, editions, and influence of the book. Among the influences on the text, including those from the ancient esoteric currents of hermetism and Neoplatonism, the Bible and Paracelsus are prominent. Although the text has received opposition from certain Christian authorities, it is definitely cast in a Christian mold and is thought to have influenced not only certain Christian "proto-theosophers" such as Weigel, Khunrath, and Arndt but also the Christian theosophical current following Jacob Boehme. The biblical archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel are recognized in the text, but so also are the seven "Olympic" spirits who correspond with the seven traditional astrological planets. These spirits and their seals have influenced other magical texts or grimoires, several of which Peterson lists (including The Magical Calendar, The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, and the Secret Grimoire of Turiel). Peterson also summarizes the magical method of the Arbatel in the intro, noting its simplicity compared to other grimoires. He also notes that unlike many other grimoires which focus on seclusion, the Arbatel defines the true magus as being involved with helping the community. Peterson also includes after aphorism 27 (which describes it) a circular diagram called "the Seal of Secrets" which is found in another collection of magic texts that include an English translation of the Arbatel independent of Turner's (Sloane manuscript 3851, dated 1696). This seal is not shown in any other version that Peterson has seen.
Overall, this is a "wonderful" version of the text to own, reference, and compare with other works of a similar magical nature.
In many ways we are fortunate to live in such times. Today several of the oldest manuscripts steeped in the wisdom of the ancients that have been locked away in old languages and library collections, are now making their way to us with the help of private book binders, antiquarian book sellers and digital archives. While the publication of such texts has recently been on the rise it is still a rare treat to have a classic text such as this be accompanied with all the benefits modern scholarship has to offer.
Joseph H. Peterson's Arbatel is such a work and a magical work in deed. With the charm of a munificent mage, Peterson has breathed life into yet another age-old text with the full skill set of a scholar allowing the text to speak in new ways. Arbatel's relation to ritual practices, arcane traditions and esoteric text are clearly described. The corrected text, presented in both Latin and Modern English, is richly footnoted, thoughtfully illustrated and ends with a remarkable bibliography that is current with the most recent scholarship.