Stephen Gordon1
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  • 1 University of Manchester
Necromancy and the Magical Reputation of Michael Scot: John Rylands Library, Latin MS 105
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Necromancy, the practice of conjuring and controlling evil spirits, was a popular pursuit in the courts and cloisters of late medieval and early modern Europe. Books that gave details on how to conduct magical experiments circulated widely. Written pseudonymously under the name of the astrologer and translator Michael Scot (d. 1236), Latin MS 105 from the John Rylands Library, Manchester, is notable for the inclusion, at the beginning of the manuscript, of a corrupted, unreadable text that purports to be the Arabic original. Other recensions of the handbook, which generally travelled under the pseudo-Arabic title of Almuchabola Absegalim Alkakib Albaon, also stressed the experiments non-Western origins. Using Latin MS 105 as the main case study, this article aims to investigate the extent to which a magic books paratextual data conveyed a sense of authority to its contemporary audience.

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