The British newspaper The Guardian spins an article off historian Owen Davies’ recent book, Grimoires: A History of Magic Books.
But newspapers and magazines love “top ten” list stories, and here is The Guardian’s. (Obviously, I missed the original publication.)
Number one on the list?
1. The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
Although one of the more recent grimoires, first circulating in manuscript in the 18th century, this has to be number one for the breadth of its influence. From Germany it spread to America via the Pennsylvania Dutch, and once in cheap print was subsequently adopted by African Americans. With its pseudo-Hebraic mystical symbols, spirit conjurations and psalms, this book of the secret wisdom of Moses was a founding text of Rastafarianism and various religious movements in west Africa, as well as a cause célèbre in post-war Germany.
But a certain American writer from Providence, Rhode Island, gets a shout-out too.