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The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century magical text allegedly written by Moses , and passed down as hidden or lost books of the Hebrew Bible. Self-described as "the wonderful arts of the old Hebrews , taken from the Mosaic books of the Kabbalah and the Talmud ," it is actually a grimoire , or text of magical incantations and seals, that purports to instruct the reader in the spells used to create some of the miracles portrayed in the Bible as well as to grant other forms of good fortune and good health.
The work contains reputed Talmudic magic names, words, and ideograms, some written in Hebrew and some with letters from the Latin alphabet. It contains "Seals" or magical drawings accompanied by instructions intended to help the user perform various tasks, from controlling weather or people to contacting the dead or Biblical religious figures. Copies have been traced to 18th-century German pamphlets, but an printing, aided by the appearance of the popular press in the 19th century, spread the text through Germany and Northern Europe to German Americans and eventually helped popularize the texts among African Americans in the United States , the Caribbean , and Anglophone West Africa.
It influenced European Occult Spiritualism as well as African American hoodoo folk magic , and magical-spiritual practices in the Caribbean, and West Africa.
An older magical text, a fourth-century Greek papyrus entitled Eighth Book of Moses otherwise unrelated to the Sixth and Seventh Books, was found in Thebes in the 19th century and published as part of the Greek Magical Papyri.
No first version of this work has been established, but early versions began to appear as inexpensive pamphlets in Germany in the 18th century. Historian Owen Davies traces copies of the work from the 18th century in Germany. In the early 19th-century European or European-American grimoires were popular among immigrants and in rural communities where the folk traditions of Europe, intertwined with European religious mysticism, survived.
One of the earliest American grimoires is John George Hohman 's Pow-Wows; or, Long Lost Friend , a collection of magical spells originally published in for Pennsylvania Dutch spiritualists known as "hexmeisters".
While versions of The Sixth and Seventh Books were likely passed around German immigrant communities from the late 18th century, the Leipzig copy was followed by a New York printing, in German, in , and an English translation in The growth of inexpensive paperback publication in the 19th century, like those of Chicago occult publisher L. Its prominence as a source of popular rural Pennsylvanian  and Appalachian " folk magic " spells has been recorded as late as the midth century.
The boom in inexpensive publishing, and the interest in Spiritualism helped the work gain popularity in the African American population of the United States, and from there, the Anglophone parts of the Caribbean. From through , the folklorist Harry Middleton Hyatt interviewed 1, African American Christian root doctors and home practitioners of hoodoo , and many of them made reference to using this book and other seal-bearing grimoires of the era, such as the Key of Solomon.
When Hyatt asked his informants where such books were purchased, he was told that they could be had by mail order from hoodoo suppliers in Chicago, Memphis, or Baltimore. In the West Indies , the book became one of the central texts of Jamaican obeah and was counted among the founding works of the "Zion Revivalist" Christian movement and the Rastafari movement of the early 20th century.
It served as a source for "Christian Magic", both by West African spiritualist Christian cults and "assimilated" Africans. In colonial Gold Coast and Nigeria , it was seen as a "western" form of magic that might be used by educated Africans seeking access to Britain or its power, much like Masonic ritual or Rosicrucianism. The Nigerian press in the s regularly featured advertisements for copies of The Sixth and Seventh Books and other Christian occult books.
It was also influential in Christian occult movements in Anglophone West Africa. Versions of this work circulated throughout Scandinavia and Central Europe. The printed texts of The Sixth and Seven Books of Moses from combine two purportedly lost short Biblical texts with several contemporary essays and half a dozen purported writings of those who kept this knowledge and practiced its use through history, dated from Biblical times to the 17th Century.
These works attempt to paint a portrait of secret knowledge which Moses was given by God, and then handed down father to son until King Solomon , when it was handed to Priests, and finally, Talmudic scholars.
In Christian circles, the text appealed to the same authority as did Biblical apocrypha : Biblical texts outside the current Biblical canon. Containing numerous allegedly magical spells used to summon spirits to do the will of the conjurer, the books are attributed to works in which Moses sets forth the magic which enabled him to defeat the magicians of Egypt, part the Red Sea , and perform the acts attributed to him in the Old Testament.
Most texts are reputed to be Hebrew, passed to the editors through European Talmudic scholars or Christian Medieval ecclesiastics who were privy to secret Biblical texts.
Some of the texts are allegedly translated from a text written by Canaanite magicians and keepers of the Samaritan Pentateuch in the "Cuthan-Samaritan language", a language considered extinct since the 12th century. No complete manuscripts older than Scheible's printing are extant, and the claimed origin must be regarded pseudepigraphic and spurious. The vast majority of the printed works of , a New York German printing of , and the first English public printing of are additions to the reputed biblical books.
In the edition, for instance, "the Sixth Book of Moses" and "the Seventh Book of Moses" run only from page 6 to 28, making up 23 of the pages. The vast majority of the work is appendices, restatements of similar seals and incantations, reputedly from those Kabala teachers to whom this knowledge was passed. Finally, there are sections including lists of the powers associated with each of the Hebrew "Names of God", the powers and use of reciting each of the Psalms and each Hebrew letter.
These two Books were revealed by God, the Almighty, to his faithful servant Moses, on Mount Sinai, intervale lucis, and in this manner they also came into the hands of Aaron, Caleb, Joshua, and finally to David and his son Solomon and their high priest Sadock. Therefore, they are Bibliis arcanum arcanorum, which means, Mystery of all Mysteries.
The included pictures of the "seals" consist of various stylized symbols surrounded pseudo-Hebrew and pseudo-Latin phrases and letters. Each "Seal" or "Table" in the Seventh Book is paired with an incantation reputedly Hebrew and a very brief description of its powers.
The seventh book is much the same: taking the events of the Biblical narrative of Moses' life and other Biblical and unknown stories and gives a reputed pairing of an incantation and a drawn magical object, here called "Tables".
There are twelve tables, each said to control powers associated with certain Angels, elements, or astronomical symbols:. In the New York Edition this is followed by "The Magic of the Israelites", used in the version as the introduction. The second volume of the work collects a series of works claimed to be "in the tradition of" the original two books.
In the New York edition, this begins with "Formulas of the Magical Kabala of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses", which again demonstrates seals and incantations, these said to be the Magic used by Moses himself at various points in the Biblical stories, such as how to turn his staff into a snake or conjure the pillar of fire. They include other incantations, such as the one labeled "These words are terrible, and will assemble devils or spirits, or they will cause the dead to appear.
These are followed by a long section reputing to explain the powers associated with each of the Hebrew "Names of God" , other seals which are to be used with these incantations, the Schemhamphoras of King Solomon The Semiphoras and Schemhamphorash a occult book attributed to King Solomon printed by Andreas Luppius , and the powers and use of reciting each of the Psalms and each Hebrew letter.
For example:. Psalm From Dr. Vienna: ". This work was one of a school of Wissenschaft des Judentums "the science of Judaism" in German , a 19th-century movement of critical investigations of Jewish literature and culture, including rabbinic literature , using more or less scientific methods.
After a long treatise on Astrology , a further section lists cures, spells and amulets, and gives a source preceding each, such as.
Rabbi Jochanan said: A chief among witches told me: If you meet witches you should utter the following charm: "Hot dirt, in perforated baskets, in your mouths, ye enchanting women. May your heads become bald; may the wind blow away your breadcrumbs; may it scatter your spices; may the fresh saffron which ye have in your hands fly away. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Hexateuch and Heptateuch. Owen Davies's top 10 grimoires. The Guardian.
The Study of Solomonic Magic in English , Pow-wow's: or, Long Lost Friend. Pomeroy: Health Research Books. Lucifer ascending: the occult in folklore and popular culture. One story in this work was collected in Richard M. Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork. Last update of the site Accessed A history of Christianity in Africa: from antiquity to the present. Rewriting Moses: the narrative eclipse of the text. Ring shout. Gullah category. Gullah people topics. Gullah language.
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