Tuesday, February 24, 2009

PGM & Extant Sources.

Hermetic.com's PGM section.

It could always be more comprehensive, but it has at least two spectacular papers that I think are worth looking into:

1."Self-Identification with Deity and Voces Magicae in Ancient Egyptian and Greek Magic" by Laurel Holmstrom.

2. "The Demons of Magic" by Morton Smith.

Further reading:
1. Jesus the Magician by Morton Smith.

Out of print, but a classic. It details the relationship between the Christian figure of Christ against the backdrop of the PGM's 'magician' figure, and includes comparisons between PGM rituals and Christ's comments in the New Testament... many of which are similar. It also has a wealth of traceable source-material for the treatment of sorcerers and necromancers in Judaic law, folklore from regional sources, and comparisons of earlier systems of magick. I got my copy years ago from - ironically - an OTO library that decided to sell it. Their library stamp is still on my copy and amuses me to no end. Is it worth a 30$ hit? I think so. I think the source material it references and some of the comparisons alone are well worth the money. However, it contains no rituals, etc. It's simply a book with apt comparisons.

2. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells: Texts by Hans Dieter Betz.

Spells and rituals, with about two essays inside it. The book is dedicated to Morton Smith, which should tell you something. Anyway, yeah. It's worth owning. I love my copy.

3. Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris by Stephen Flowers.

Only worth owning if you can't afford both Betz and Smith, as Flowers has a bit of both. I disagree with some of his ideas but if there's one thing that distinguishes this from Betz's text, it's that it's readable for people uninterested in scholarship. Of course, with that comes the associated flaws. I kept this at my bedside for about four years until I acquired Betz's seminal title and then immediately began disregarding it. Still, for like 14$ plus shipping, I don't think anyone can really complain. It isn't horrible, but it isn't seminal, either. It just is. Also, some of Flower's research was shown to me by Inominandum at the Strategic Sorcery blog to be sloppy; if I'd been fact-checking, I'd have caught it sooner. We all make mistakes, though, right?

More as they come or I think of 'em. Other references that I'm unaware of or have missed are welcome, and can be added to the list. If I haven't read it, then feel free to add your own commentary about a specific book or paper. ;)

- Faust

1 comment:

Adoniah Carrefour said...

I don't know if I would say that Flowers research was sloppy ... more like, slightly skewed to some nefarious purpose. Whenever I read Flowers I am intimately aware that my brain is being used to culture some sort of chutuloid being.