Iuratus: Christian Elements, the Depth of Knowledge, and Authorship and Audience

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Christian Elements, the Depth of Knowledge, and Authorship and Audience

Though the Christian identity of the text is well supported at this point, the Christian elements should be examined to support this idea, and to further the argument that the author and audience of the text was not just Christian, but of the priestly orders, part of what Kieckhefer terms the “clerical underworld.”

In contrast to the adoption of Hebrew god names, the divinity in Liber Iuratus Honorii is referred to as the “Alpha and Omega,” “the father, son, and holy ghost,” and “the destroyer of death.” The references to the trinity and the Alpha and Omega mentioned in the Revelation of Saint John are both common naming conventions in Christianity, but the destroyer of death is a bit more obscure and is possibly a reference to 1 Corinthians that states “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” This part of the naming convention could possibly show the “sincerity” of the Christian nature of the text, as “destroyer of death” is a more obscure reference and shows a greater familiarity with the Bible than referring YHWH as the Alpha and Omega. Throughout the text common names and titles from Christianity are used repeatedly to refer to YHWH as well as the more uncommon names.

jur1[1]Another element of uncommon knowledge shows up in the ritual structures explained in the text. Part of the work on summoning the angels involves the creation of a complex seal. The creation of the seal includes a set of prayers to say over some blood which is used as ink in the process. The first prayer is the same as “The Blessing of Salt” used by Catholic priests to exorcise salt before putting it in holy water , only the word salt is replaced by blood. The prayer is currently contained in the Rituale Romanum –the ritual handbook of a Catholic priest– which was only standardized in the 17th century. (While predecessor texts have existed since the 15th century they tended to be more regional and temporary. ) After the compilation of the Rituale Romanum anyone who could read Latin and obtain a copy of the text could find “The Blessing of Salt.” Though the text currently sits at more than 700 pages it would be a lot to go through if they were not aware of what they were looking for. Liber Iuratus Honorii was written in the 13th or 14th century though, before these texts existed, at that time such prayers and rituals would have been part of the training of a priest, possibly part of an oral tradition. So the question is how would the author of Liber Iuratus Honorii know the prayer? It is possible they learned it from the local priest, or that it was something the laity might know, but it also opens up the possibly that the text was written by a priest, if not for a priest. Continuing this thread the format of the ritual for conjuration even has some loose similarities to the ritual of exorcism. In both cases the practitioner/exorcist is to attend confession and mass , then they move into prayers of adoration and beseeching divine aid in their task , which finally moves to include the calling of the spirits and commanding their obedience. One of the lower orders of the priestly hierarchy at that time was the exorcist, so the details and structures of the ritual of exorcism would be available to many lower priests . The blood used to consecrate the seal is the prayer said over salt for holy water, while the prayer used to consecrate the magic circle for the ritual is the same used by the priest to consecrate the host in communion. The ritual preparation includes finding a “wary and a faithful priest” who will perform mass and prayers for the practitioner all the while inserting prayers from Liber Iuratus Honorii into the mass service. While this could mean the practitioner himself, it could also be another priest who has the same interest. This builds the case that the author was a member of the clergy, or somehow familiar with their ritual structure and prayers. The requirement of another priest suggests that the author may not be alone in his interests.

2 Responses to Iuratus: Christian Elements, the Depth of Knowledge, and Authorship and Audience

  1. […] Christian Elements, The Depth of Knowledge, and Authorship and Audience […]

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