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THE LANGUAGE OF DEMONS AND ANGELS

BRILLS STUDIESIN

INTELLECTUAL HISTORY

General Editor

A.J. Vanderjagt, University of Groningen

Editorial Board

M. Colish, Oberlin College

J.I. Israel, University College, London

J.D. North, University of Groningen

R.H. Popkin, Washington University, St. Louis-UCLA

VOLUME 119

THE LANGUAGE OF DEMONS

AND ANGELS

Cornelius Agrippas Occult Philosophy

BY

CHRISTOPHER I. LEHRICH

BRILLLEIDEN BOSTON

2003

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

The cover image shows the harmony and proportion of the human body with respect to the seven heavenly bodies, demonstrating the theory of the microcosm. From

De occulta philosophia 2.27, 331/347

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Lehrich, Christopher I.The language of demons and angels : Cornelius Agrippas occult philosophy / by

Christopher I. Lehrich.p. cm. (Brills studies in intellectual history, ISSN 0920-8607 ; v. 119)

Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index.ISBN 90-04-13574-X1. Agrippa von Nettesheim, Heinrich Cornelius. 1486?-1535. 2. Occultism. I. Title. II.

Series.

B781.A34L44 2003130.92-dc22

2003055665

ISSN 0920-8607

ISBN 90 04 13574 X

Copyright 2003 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored ina retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written

permission from the publisher.

Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personaluse is granted by Brill provided that

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printed in the netherland

Vos igitur, doctrinae et sapientiae filii, perquirite in hoc librocolligendo nostram dispersam intentionem quam in diversislocis proposuimus et quod occultatum est a nobis in uno loco,manifestum fecimus illud in alio, ut sapientibus vobis patefiat.Vobis enim solis scripsimus. . . .

You, therefore, sons of wisdom and learning, search diligently inthis book, gathering together our dispersed intentions, which indivers places we have propounded; and what is hid in one place,we make manifest in another, that it may appear to you wisemen. For, for you only have we written. . . .

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix

Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

List of Illustrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii

Chapter One Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Theory and Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Cornelius Agrippa: Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Chapter Two Logos and Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43The Natural Magic Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45The Practice of Natural Magic: Man as Operator . . . . . . . . . . . 66Magic and Skeptical Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Chapter Three Sign, Sigil, Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Exemplum: Magic Squares and Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100Exemplum: the Practice of Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110Theories of Signification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116The Elementary Forms of Language . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124The Power of the Sign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134Inscribing the Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146

Chapter Four The Language of Demons and Angels . . . . . . . . 147Magical Kabbalah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149Esotericism, Occultism, and Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159Ritual Magic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164Ritual, Belief, and Secrecy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172Manipulating the Demonic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185

viii CONTENTS

How to Summon a Demon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206

Chapter Five Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213Agrippan Interpretations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214Historical Speculations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219Theoretical Meditations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220

Appendix One Latin Quotations, De occulta philosophia . . . . . 227

Appendix Two De vanitate on Alchemy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239Works by Agrippa (abbreviated) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239Works on Agrippa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 240Premodern Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243Modern Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Any significant work of research incurs many debts. I should first of alllike to thank my dissertation advisors, Allen G. Debus, Jonathan Z. Smith,and Anthony C. Yu, for support and guidance through the long process.A Mrs. Giles Whiting fellowship allowed me financial freedom tocomplete the dissertation. Michael Bathgate, Richard Blum, StephenClucas, Nicholas Clulee, Alex Dent-Young, Heather Hindman, ArmandoMaggi, Hajime Nakatani, Allan Tulchin, and Robert Yelle all read anddiscussed with me bits and pieces of the book in progress. My anonymousreview reader provided essential critical advice on philological issuesoutside my competence. Jean Rainwater and the staff at the John HayLibrary of Brown University made the potentially agonizing process ofacquiring images simple and even enjoyable. Chris Mills of Lizard LoungeGraphics (www.lizardlounge.com) helped immeasurably with all thetechnical details of typesetting the text. Most of all, my wife, SarahFrederick, has supported me throughout the process in more ways than Ican count.

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ABBREVIATIONS

DOP De occulta philosophia libri tres, in Opera, 1.1-499; also ina critical edition, ed. Vittoria Perrone Compagni(Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992); also an English translation byJ.F. (London, 1651); reprint, ed. and annotated byDonald Tyson (St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications,1993). References are in the form: book:chapter, page inPerrone Compagni edition/page in Tyson edition; thus(DOP II:5, 258/245).

De vanitate De incertitudine et vanitate scientiarum atque artium , inOpera, 2.1-314; also in an English translation Of theVanitie and Vncertaintie of Artes and Sciences, trans.James Sanford (London:1569); reprint, ed. Catherine M.Dunn (Northridge, CA: California State UniversityFoundation, 1974). References are in the form: chapter,page in Opera /page in Dunn; thus (De vanitate 17,46/65). I have regularized the English spelling in Of theVanitie.

Epistolae Epistolae ad familiares, libri VII, in Opera, 2.593-1073.

Opera Opera, quaecumque hactenus vel in luem prodierunt, velinveniri potuerunt omnia in duos tomos concinne digesta . . .,2 vols. (Lyon, s.a. Reprint, Hildesheim: GeorgOlms Verlag, 1970).

Compagni Notes and introduction to critical edition of DOP.

Morley Henry Morley, Cornelius Agrippa. The Life of HenryCornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, Doctor and Knight,Commonly known as a Magician, 2 vols. (London:Chapman and Hall, 1856).

xii ABBREVIATIONS

Nauert Charles G. Nauert, Jr., Agrippa and the Crisis ofRenaissance Thought (Urbana: University of IllinoisPress, 1965).

Prost Auguste Prost, Les sciences et les arts occultes au XVIe sicle.Corneille Agrippa. Sa vie et ses oeuvres, 2 vols. (Paris,1881-82; reprint Nieuwkoop: B. de Graaf, 1965).

Van der Poel Marc van der Poel, Cornelius Agrippa, the HumanistTheologian and his Declamations, Brills Studies inIntellectual History, vol. 77 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1997).

W Juvenile Draft of DOP, noted interlinearly in PerroneCompagni.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Figure 1 Ficinos system of forces (after D. P. Walker). . . . . . . . 50Figure 2 Magic squares, sigils, and characters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101Figure 3 Magic square of order 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102Figure 4 Nine chambers system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104Figure 5 Construction of the Hismael sigil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105Figure 6 Character of Saturn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .