Author(s): Brian Copenhaver
'...as when iron is drawn to a magnet, camphor is sucked into hot air, crystal lights up in the Sun, sulfur and a volatile liquid are kindled by flame, an empty eggshell filled with dew is raised towards the Sun ...' The Bible is full of stories featuring forms of magic and possession - from Moses battling with Pharaoh's wizards to the supernatural actions of Jesus and his disciples. As, over the following centuries, the Christian church attempted to stamp out 'deviant' practices, a persistent interest in magic drew strength from this Biblical validation. A strange blend of mumbo-jumbo, fear, fraud and deeply serious study, magic was at the heart of the European Renaissance, fascinating many of its greatest figures. This is a book filled with incantations, charms, curses, summonings, cures and descriptions of extraordinary, shadowy, only half-understood happenings from long ago. It features writers as various as Thomas Aquinas, John Milton, John Dee, Ptolemy and Paracelsus along with anonymous ancient and medieval works which were, in some cases, viewed as simply too dangerous even to open. Brian Copenhaver's wonderful anthology will be welcomed by everyone from those with the most casual interest in the magical tradition to anyone drawn to the Renaissance and the tangled, arcane roots of the scientific tradition.
Brian Copenhaver is Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of California, Los Angeles and is one of the world's foremost scholars on Renaissance magic and mysticism. This book is in many ways a summa of the interests and writers with which he has been preoccupied throughout his career.