For many years the occult community had to make due with the smattering of titles and partial titles brought out of obscurity by Mathers and Crowley. Today we are literally witnessing a Hermetic Renaissance as more complete titles come forth to replace their partial or unedited folio predecessors.
Here we have not just the Goetia, but the entire Lemegeton, put together in a uniquely scholarly fashion. Compiled from original manuscripts and fragments from the British Museum Library, this is the most complete and accurate Lemegeton ever offered to the public.
Peterson has done a wonderful job at compiling and editing this work. His continued commentary on derivative works, and analytical comparisons of the variations in the historical manuscripts, is an unprecedented boon to the student. Nearly every page is 20% footnotes and editorial comment, making it particularly valuable for anyone exploring the Solomon cycle.
The copious footnotes go to heroic lengths to contrast different readings or additional materials from other editions. Unlike previous editions of the Lesser Key, you really feel like you have the benefit of the British Museum Library at your fingertips.
If the footnotes weren't curriculum enough for the aspiring Goetic Magician, then the 55 pages of appendices should fill the bill.
Appendix I is a list of addenda from Sloane 2731 and Sloane 3648.
Appendix II - Pseudomonarchia Daemonum - Translated to English.
Appendix III Comparison of Goetia spirits with Weyer's list.
Appendix IV is made up of alternate drawings from other editions of the Lemegeton.
There is only one section that I am not fond of. Peterson gives a breakdown of previous editions of the Lemegeton/Goetia (missing a couple along the way) and it seems to me the judgments he hands out here may not be even handed. His primary beef with earlier editions is that none of them were critical, and most rely on a single manuscript, rather that trying to piece together the original tradition from a survey of all fragments at hand. While that is a true observation, I am not sure that any of these earlier works claimed to be anything other than exactly what they were. The incomplete Mathers/Crowley edition which simply contains the first book of the Lemegeton, "The Goetia" is easy enough to attack. After all, it was pretty sloppy with some unexplained material that doesn't even belong to the Goetia. However his treatment of Mitch Henson's edition is a little on the harsh side. He complains that Henson doesn't include the 5th book, "The Notary Art of Solomon". Henson explains his logical omission of this work very well in his edition. In fact Peterson goes on to explain that there is "no one work" by that name.
I have to say that last gripe would pass right past most readers, and even the ones that agree with me would find it only the most minor of annoyances. It doesn't take a single star from my review of this monumental and over-due work.
The only down side to having so many alternate readings, seals, sigils, and spellings, would be that you are never quite sure again, who you are summoning, and just what he can do once he gets here. Something else that anyone who uses the Mathers/Crowley version of the Goetia will notice, is that these seals are rough, and not inside of a double circle. If you want to augment this book with cleaned up artwork (which means recently altered for production value.) then you might want to also pick up a copy of Mitch Henson's Lemegeton. The seals are all redrawn beautifully.
This is truely the new standard edition of the Lemegeton. King Solomon is dead. Long live the king!