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False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light: Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd's Seventeenth-Century Treatise on Angel Magic

False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light: Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd's Seventeenth-Century... False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd's Seventeenth-Century Treatise on Angel Magic EGIL ASPREM University of Amsterdam INTRODUCTION ``His only (but great and dreadful) error [was], that he mistook false lying Spirits for Angels of Light, the Divel of Hell . . . for the God of Heaven.'' With these words the seventeenth-century scholar Meric Casaubon (1599­ 1671) introduced and condemned the famous angel conversations of John Dee (1527­1609) and his scryer Edward Kelly (1555­97), describing them further as ``a Work of Darknesse.''1 Casaubon did not dispute Dee's good intentions with the magical experiments, or his self-conception as a pious Christian. The problem was rather the doctor's gullibility when faced with what, in Casaubon's view, were obviously evil spirits masquerading as angels. Casaubon's suspicion was entirely typical of the line antimagical arguments had followed for ages. Ever since the early church fathers, theologians had more or less agreed that magic generally worked by the aid of demons, whether explicitly or implicitly.2 From the Middle Ages onward the perceived powers of the devil and his legions came to be seen as formidable in the theologians' eyes; devilish feats of trickery and illusion were especially http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft University of Pennsylvania Press

False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light: Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd's Seventeenth-Century Treatise on Angel Magic

Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft , Volume 3 (1) – May 14, 2008

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University of Pennsylvania Press
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Copyright © 2008 University of Pennsylvania Press
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1940-5111
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Abstract

False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd's Seventeenth-Century Treatise on Angel Magic EGIL ASPREM University of Amsterdam INTRODUCTION ``His only (but great and dreadful) error [was], that he mistook false lying Spirits for Angels of Light, the Divel of Hell . . . for the God of Heaven.'' With these words the seventeenth-century scholar Meric Casaubon (1599­ 1671) introduced and condemned the famous angel conversations of John Dee (1527­1609) and his scryer Edward Kelly (1555­97), describing them further as ``a Work of Darknesse.''1 Casaubon did not dispute Dee's good intentions with the magical experiments, or his self-conception as a pious Christian. The problem was rather the doctor's gullibility when faced with what, in Casaubon's view, were obviously evil spirits masquerading as angels. Casaubon's suspicion was entirely typical of the line antimagical arguments had followed for ages. Ever since the early church fathers, theologians had more or less agreed that magic generally worked by the aid of demons, whether explicitly or implicitly.2 From the Middle Ages onward the perceived powers of the devil and his legions came to be seen as formidable in the theologians' eyes; devilish feats of trickery and illusion were especially

Journal

Magic, Ritual, and WitchcraftUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: May 14, 2008

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