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Dissertation zugänglich unter
Anleitung zum Aberglauben : Zauberbücher und die Verbreitung magischen "Wissens" seit dem 18. Jahrhundert
Manual to Superstition. : Grimoires and the Transmission of Magical Knowledge Since the 18th Century
Dokument 1.pdf (2.617 KB)
Volkskunde , Aberglaube , Magie , Zauberliteratur
Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch):
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch):
Superstition , Magic , Grimoire
73.58 , 15.07 , 02.50 , 73.99
Kulturgeschichte und Kulturkunde
Hengartner, Thomas (Prof. Dr. )
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung:
Kurzfassung auf Deutsch:
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
This study focuses on "Zauberbücher" (books of spells) or grimoires, which contained instructions not only on how to invoke demons to find hidden treasure, but also to restore health, to reverse the effects of witchcraft and love spells and to safeguard and increase material wealth. Tracing the origins of these texts, both in their manuscript and printed form, is not easy. The place of publication and dates were often false, and equally fictional was their authorship, with some of them purporting to be the work of famous figures from the past such as Moses, Solomon, Albertus Magnus and Dr Faust. The study will examine the history of grimoires from the middle of the seventeenth century, since from this time there is surviving evidence of multiple copies of both hand-written and printed charm books. After 1800, not only is there a noticeable increase in the number of books in print but also in the number of hand-written copies of spell books intended for domestic use. Since 1900 there has been an immense variety of titles in mass circulation which continue to be popular today.
It is paradoxical that only since the Enlightenment have spell books been disseminated and taken up by wider sections of the population. Magic literature experienced a popularisation in both rural and urban society in a world in which all mystique had supposedly been dispelled. As the century of the Enlightenment came to an end a ‘Magic Media Market’ was being formed. Magic was being offered openly. From the time of the Enlightenment scholars also turned away from the pansophic-magic explanation of the world, and in doing so, their knowledge was passed on into the hands of those who were not so much concerned with philosophical knowledge of the world as with their own immediate applicable benefits. In the shadows cast by the light of the Enlightenment, the transmission of magical knowledge was easier than ever before, and its impact far reaching, with ripples reaching us today in the form of the current popularity of esoteric literature.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century magical manuscripts were in circulation up and down the social scale, and were put together and compiled by numerous collectors. During the following century increasing numbers of spell books also found their way into print. In this respect the editions published by the Stuttgart publisher and antiquarian Johann Scheible are particularly worth noting. It was Scheible who, in 1849, published the first printed copies of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses. Although increasing numbers of grimoires were put into print, hand-written copies still continued to be produced and circulated.
Grimoires can be described as being created according to a unit construction system. Texts, pictures, names, illustrations, magic signs, titles, incantations, recipes, possible uses, dates, places of printing, publishers, legends about origins: different combinations of all these elements or units were put together by the producers of spell books, both professional publishers and those who made copies for their personal use. One result of this process is that the individual elements can lose their sense and meaning. Every printed copy put onto the market could serve as a model for a hand-written copy. Likewise, every hand-written copy could be the model for a printed copy. In this way books of spells transported certain elements of magic and pansophic knowledge from the early modern period to the present. Speculations about the connection between macrocosm and microcosm, about the secrets of the cabbala or the order of hell, which were formally only topics for scholars like Paracelsus, were simplified and made more accessible. It is sometimes astonishing to see the course that scholarly ideas have taken from the early modern period to the present.