Iuratus: Analysis of Non-Christian Elements and Their Integration with Liber Iuratus Honorii Part III

See the initial post of the series

The last instalment in case you missed it

Non-Christian elements are not always as easy to locate as Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldaic names, or Islamic ritual pattern: they are sometimes subtle and easy to pass over. For instance, the text begins with a set of oaths (which will be addressed more later) indicating that if the book cannot be passed on to a suitable man it was to be buried to protect the practitioner and the person who gave him the text. When put into context this seems unusual. The context in this case is the dominance of Christianity and the criminalization of magic and witchcraft and loosely related ideas. Liber Iuratus Honorii was written at a time just preceding the witch trials of Europe, when charges of magic were common and dangerous. According to the introduction of the text, the pope and his cardinals have made statements condemning “the art” (as the practice of these rituals is called within the text) and “judging [practitioners] to death.” A text as “dangerous” to the owner as Liber Iuratus Honorii would be better off destroyed, in a fire for instance, since a buried text can be recovered or discovered which would go against the spirit of the oath. Burying the text could allow a practitioner to be discovered, or an unworthy person to find the text. If the text was really to be protected the only real method would be its destruction. While this might seem odd, interpreted from a Jewish perspective it makes sense as it is a Jewish tradition than any holy text, or text containing the name of God, cannot be destroyed. When a text is no longer useful or usable it is to be buried in a cemetery rather than destroyed in any other way. While there is not enough said about burying the text in Liber Iuratus Honorii to conclusively say it is borrowing the Jewish custom of burying texts with the name of God in it, it does seem to be a parallel especially when contrasted with the issues of burying a text for reasons of security and secrecy.

These non-Christian elements could be seen as detracting from the argument that Liber Iuratus Honorii is really a Christian text, but I think it is more useful to interpret them as supporting and supplementing the text. At this time there is no real parallel to the form of angel communication of Liber Iuratus Honorii in Christian mystic traditions. On the other hand a great deal of the Qabalah at the time was centered on divine communication (despite Honorius’s protest otherwise ) so it is reasonable that the author of Liber Iuratus Honorii would borrow and steal from that tradition. The gaps existing in Christian mysticism could be filled in with Jewish mysticism to make a complete system, in an analog to using frog DNA to complete the sequence of dinosaur DNA in Jurassic Park. Taking from Jewish and Islamic sources doesn’t detract from the Christian nature of the next, but instead is merely evidence of the author seeing an element lacking in his system and deciding to appropriate the elements from another in order to make a more complete and potentially functioning system.

2 Responses to Iuratus: Analysis of Non-Christian Elements and Their Integration with Liber Iuratus Honorii Part III

  1. […] Analysis of Non-Christian Elements and Their Integration with Liber Iuratus Honorii Part III […]

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