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1896. This work is "The Prayers of the Lifting of the Hand," and represents the cuneiform texts of a group of Babylonian and Assyrian incantations and magical formulae edited with transliterations, translations, and full vocabulary from tablets of the Kuyunjik collections preserved in the British Museum. Contents: Prayers addressed to: Deities; Gods; Goddesses; Astral Deities; Prayers against the evils; Vocabulary.
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The purpose of Babylonian Magic and Sorcery is stated in the first sentence of the Preface: "The object of the present work is to give the cuneiform text of a complete group of tablets inscribed with prayers and religious compositions of a devotional and somewhat magical character". But this is not all that King provides. He transliterated and, where the tablets are complete, translated in full. All of the tablets come from one site: Kuyunjik, the site of the ancient city of Ninevah, where King would later conduct his own excavations, and on whose inscriptions he was the acknowledged authority.
The texts and translations are accurately presented and definitive. King's notes are concise, to the point, and easy to follow. But this is a highly technical book, designed for the professional, whether that professional be Assyriologist, paleographer, or magician. What, then, is its value to the non-professional reader? The answer is clear. Babylonian Magic and Sorcery offers us the means to gain an insight into the magico-religious concepts of the Semitic nations. And it is these concepts, and the magic based upon them, that underlie the worldview of the Western esoteric tradition, for that tradition is essentially Judaeo-Christian -- it does not, save indirectly, derive from ancient Egypt.
-- From the Foreword by R. A. GilbertFrom the Back Cover:
Babylonian Magic and Sorcery is a treasury of esoteric writing concerning the prayers and rituals to ancient deities from the dawn of Western civilization. Leonard W. King, an expert in the field of Babylonian and Assyrian translations, presents a series of texts from tablets uncovered during archaeological excavations at Ninevah. Included are 76 illustrations of cuneiform tablets, King's transliteration and translation of the inscriptions, and appendices with a Hebrew-Babylonian-English glossary, a list of proper names, and a list of numerals. When first published in 1896, recognition of this remarkable work was largely eclipsed by the popularity and profusion of newly discovered Egyptian magical texts. However, as R. A. Gilbert points out in a new Foreword for this edition, the evolution of the Western Mystery Tradition actually owes more to Babylonian and Assyrian magical traditions than to anything assimilated from Egyptian sources. Therefore, this becomes a very significant text for people interested in the origins of Western religious practices and the Western Mystery Tradition.
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