What is a grimoire? The word has a familiar ring to many people, particularly as a consequence of such popular television dramas as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But the grimoire represents much more than just magic. As this book richly demonstrates, the history of grimoires illuminates many of the most. Review: Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen DaviesJad Adams finds a mixture of the sacred and profane in books of spells.

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Of interest is that Owen Davies is not so much a true believer of magick with a k but a scholar who is fascinated with the often overlooked cultural history of it.

Beginning in earnest with the fertile environment of intellectual cross-pollination around the eastern Mediterranean during the late 1st millennium BCE, the book proceeds chronologically up to the present, primarily focusing on developments in the grimoire tradition of Europe and its colonial extensions quite forgivably, as this comprises the geographic continuum in which ‘grimoires’ per oboks actually circulatedwith brief mentions of parallels in Arabic contexts.

Grimoiures would also be subjected to mass production much like pulp fiction. Good fact-checking and proof-reading would soon clear those up. He’s done a comprehensive job of tracking down the important titles, outlining details of their production and consumption, and tracing the impulse to create books of magic from the ancient world to the early-twentieth-century pulps.

Magic moments

If I could have given more than five stars I would have. Grimoires shows the influence magic and magical writing has had on the cultures of boo,s world, richly demonstrating the role they have played in the spread of Christianity, the histoyr of literacy, and the influence of western traditions from colonial times to the present.

What we believe today is not what was believed 1, or even years ago. If you have interest in the subject matter, I would definitely say to give it a read.

The pre-modern period of the book was, for me, the most interesting element. At its worst, the grimoire is not merely obscurantist but dangerous, not because it jagic conjure devils or perhaps give cause in extreme cases to murderous fantasy of which there are cases and has a proven history of fraud, but because, in truly ignorant hands, it can block the use of ‘good’ expert knowledge to deal with ‘real’ problems of sexuality, power relations, conditions of life, healthcare and spirituality.


Then again, I’m very interested in both alchemy and the spread of magical knowledge to non-magical realms, so these worries probably better reflect my desires as a reader than the book’s shortcomings. bioks

Review: Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies | Books | The Guardian

These include everything from the simple wish for good health, to protection against perceived magical attack, to means of finding great wealth the latter, unsurprisingly, figuring prominently in the business practices of many 20th-century publishers. A History of Magic Books.

Jul 03, Edward Brock rated it really liked it. What I appreciated most about this book was how it traced the history of the print revolution and the first major attempts at censorship, since frimoires were often banned from producing print grimoires in the early modern period. At times, it seems not much more than a compilation of information about these books century by century but this serves one important purpose – it strips away any notion that the bulk of these books daviex any other purpose than personal aggrandisement in an age of poverty and lack of welfare provision.

At their most benign, they contain charms and remedies for natural and supernatural ailmentsand advice on contacting spirits to help find treasures and protect from evil.

But few people are sure exactly what it means. No books have been more feared than grimoires, and no books have been more valued and revered.

Thoroughly researched and very well written with appeal to academics, lay persons, and students of any magical grimiires interested in learning more about the historiography of mafic craft as well as its history. Well, considering Solomon was a magician I guess we all should have known. The ultimate condemnation of the teaching profession is well-deserved here.

Davies traces the history of this remarkably resilient and adaptable genre, from the ancient Middle East to modern America, offering a new perspective on the fundamental developments of western civilization over the past two thousand years.


Oxford University Press; 1 edition December 1, Language: Far better to have a good history of some areas than a poor history of them all.

We begin in the Biblical period with the story of Moses receiving the ten commandments and are instructed to recall that the books of the Jewish bible were selected from many writings, and those alternative gospels have not been wholly supressed; indeed they are the base of many magical traditions even today.

Davies did an admirable job of conveying the breadth and scope of the history of magical books, but it left me a bit cold. Bailey’s Magic and Superstition in Europe: Account Options Sign in. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. There are some bright spots, but most of these are adverted to rather than fully explored.

Some may also be surprised to find Simon’s Necronomicon, which Davies calls “a well-constructed hoax”, treated as “no less ‘worthy'” as a piece of magical literature than other grimoires.

Before we get hyper-critical about their provenance, we might ask just how reliable the claims of divine authorship of the books of the Bible or the Koran are if we really, really think about this instead of accepting claims on faith.

Grimoires – Owen Davies – Oxford University Press

From around the age of sixteen, he also became interested in archaeology and began to daview involved with field-walking and earthwork surveying.

The American book pirate L.

Compelling historical case studies. Davies writes in a w style that makes this book a riveting read from start to finish. Irrationalism represents psychic resistance to the arrogance of the powerful.

This lowered their value even more but made them more available. Paradoxically, as capitalism triumphed and the world became more materialistic, esoteric knowledge flourished in the occult revival.