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Robert B.

You, I believe, are incorrect about the Key of Solomon. The Hygromanteia, the Greek ‘original’ source of the Key, is thought to be as old as the sixth century and is believed by many to be older still that is just the age of the oldest known copies. That is a recollection I would have to look it back up to be 100% sure though that is as I recall.


I can believe it's sixth century -- or at least that the medieval versions included plagiarisms from some sixth-century text. But it's obviously and unambiguously written in a Christian context. One only need compare it with the Corpus Hermetica to see the difference.

Doesn't really change my point: HPL obviously considers it much older. Here's the relevant quote:

"[Cosmic terror] was, indeed, a prominent feature of the elaborate ceremonial magic, with its rituals for the evocation of daemons and spectres, which flourished from prehistoric times, and which reached its highest development in Egypt and the Semitic nations. Fragments like the Book of Enoch and the Claviculae of Solomon well illustrate the power of the weird over the ancient Eastern mind . . . "

To me this reads as though he thinks those books are quite ancient, certainly pre-Christian. The Book of Enoch barely qualifies, as it's dated to the first or second century BC.

The "tell" for the Key of Solomon is that it's attributed to Solomon. That follows exactly the same pattern of Medieval and Renaissance works claiming authorship by Moses, Mary, etc., and echoes the folk belief that Solomon was a great magician. A medieval writer making up a book of magic bullshit would use that name; I don't know if a Jewish writer before the destruction of the Temple and the end of the priesthood would have done so.

Robert Bright

Due to Jewish persecutions, a number of texts were misattributed to protect the identity of the writer while allowing the dissemination of the text. The Book of Abramelin is a perfect example — the real name of the Rabbi who wrote it was not included in the texts available to non-Jews and I only learned of his identity fairly recently. The texts for the general reader give the authorship to “Abraham the Jew,” which sounds anti-Semitic to many today. I regret that Rabbi Yaakov Moelin could not use his name for authorship of the book (assuming referenced claim is correct).

Additionally, attribution of authorship in distant times was often given to famous and well loved antecedents, in some cases to spare the writer persecution. No one can accuse Solomon of heresy but even as recently as the mid-19th century persecution and violence against proscribed authors was instigated by the Catholic Church. That was the case for H. L. D. Rivail, pen name Allan Kardec, the systematizer of Spiritism. There may be even more recent examples.

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