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on 19 March 2017
Excellent. Fascinating to see everyday stuff put into historical perspective and how it was viewed and understood in the mindset of the time. It seems to be the first attempt at creating a university of knowledge from a logical scientific basis, or what passed for it at the time. Yes there is occult stuff in the back of the book. Western Mystery Tradition. Key of Solomon etc.
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on 29 May 1999
Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy must rank as one of, if not the most important work ever written on the Western Occult tradition. Written in relative youth, it nevertheless has an immensely broad range of topics covering Goetia ("Black magic") and Theurgia ("White magic') while still remaining in the Christian tradition. Agrippa's work certainly provides numerous practical instructions, but always ties together a wide range of classical and traditional sources in a broad theorectical framework. As a traditional astrologer I found his exposition of astrological magic to be among the best available in English, better than Marsilio Ficino's Three Books of Life (though the Boer translation is fairly universally disliked). Much of astrological magic still remains locked up in Latin, Thabit Ibn Qurra's De Imaginibus, edited by Carmody and Picatrix, edited by Pingree being the most salient examples. I should note, however, that Brill has just published a new edition of Agrippa in the original Latin which does differ in some respects from the Freake translation that Tyson has edited in this edition. For example, Chapter 50, Book II at 403 Agrippa describes the construction of amulets for love and concord between two people. The first full paragraph in the Tyson edition ends, "...let them [the two images] be wrapped up in silk and cast away or spolied. In the Latin Brill edition the sentence states that the images should be wrapped in "fine linen cloth" and "buried". Nonetheless if I could have only one book on the Western occult tradition (perish the thought!) this would be it. Anyone with a serious interest in studying or practicing in this area should have this book
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on 24 October 1998
I'm normally very skeptical about anything produced by Llewellyn, but not only is this an honest reproduction of Agrippa's brilliant works (I've seen the first English translation for myself--1560, I think), but Donald Tyson's scholarship is almost comparable to Agrippa's own. The notes are extensive & do a marvelous job of fleshing out the myriad brief & passing references in the text. Quotes from Agrippa's most likely sources provide timely insights into his own mind, and Tyson in addition offers a notes on sources foreign to or later than Agrippa for comparative study. Tyson's editing does not disturb the text at all, but rather makes it that much more clear. His diagrams & seals are well produced, & his corrections (which include skilled reanalysis of the Hebrew) & major additions are saved for the back of each chapter and of the whole volume. These appendices, and the bibliographical notes as well, are intelligent, clearheaded & very useful. Agrippa's genius is well known, but Tyson's fine scholarship for this volume deserves acknowledgment as well. I recommend this book especially strongly to serious students of magic who are tired of the flood of New Age-y magical manuals & gothic garbage tossed out like so much glitter by these shallow modern writers who use "magic" as a substitute for intelligence, or as a solution to their ego problems.
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on 23 July 2007
This is a curiosity from another age. In the 16th Century, much of what we would now regard as science was not based on observation or experiment but, rather like law, based on prescedent and the words of earlier writers and written sources of authority. This book is a treasure trove on contemporary magical beliefs, and techniques for making people fall in love with you, telling the future and so forth. Writers of books like this, especially Shakespeare's contemporary, Dr John Dee, are supposed to be the models for Prospero in 'The Tempest.'

WB Yeats, who subscribed to a kind of Jungian belief in a collective unconscious, used this book as a source of images for some of his poems. His idea was that people would instinctively know what he was talking about as they shared the same unconscious.

It is rather sad to see that some people living in 2007 should regard this book as a scientific text of some sort, but there you go.
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on 2 December 2013
This book is an excellent compendium of renaissance occult philosophy. The editor, Donald Tyson has done a superb job of eliminating errors in previous editions.
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on 20 September 2014
Of course, the "real" book is fine. However, this kindle book is so badly formatted it is useless.

The table of contents consists of book 1, 2, 3 -- that's all!

The text is one continuous flow, respecting neither section headings nor paragraphs.

Tables are exploded -- one cell after the other, without any indication of how the bits come together in which row or column.

Any foreign alphabet (usually Hebrew I guess) is transcribed as Roman letters with some accent or the other, so it is impossible to unravel them.

It seems the book was simply turned to text, so no formatting, tables, foreign alphabets, etc, were preserved, like saving a word file as text!

The book is public domain, being some hundreds of years old, so far better copies are available online for free.

A stupid purchase on my part.
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on 21 June 2012
I have not doubt the book printed edition weighs a ton and is probably well worth the expenditure and the muscle power to hump it around from bed to armchair or vice versa. The Kindle edition leaves a lot to be desired but it is cheap and gives a good insight into the contents of the printed edition. However I am most disappointed to find the is no access to a table of contents or index, there are no notes or marks and no page numbers so navigation around the 600 odd pages is a nightmare and intellectual insight becomes a real chore. Noses to the grindstone will be required lads and lassies if you are considering putting it on your Kindle for a quiet browse in bed. I only downloaded the Kindle Edition to my PC so I'm not sure what it looks like on the actual portable Kindle that I have purchased also but I think readers will struggle there. The paperback printed edition looks really good value at £24 which is a substantial discount
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on 16 December 2007
Most of other books (including "The Magus", for example) directly or indirectly take information from this book. This is fundamental book and may be the only you really need in your magic library. You certainly will not be disappointed!

This edition is also prefixed with a very interesting biography og Cornelius Agrippa. Edition is good but it is paperback, which is niot very convinient for such a thick book. Get a good cover for it if you can.
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on 28 September 2013
The Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Von Nettesheim is excellent. It takes you beyond the plagiarisms of Francis Barrett and other writers and shows you the work of Agrippa's own mind and his observations, without the mistakes and spelling mistakes and other anomalies since its editors, James Freake and Donald Tyson have back-tracked and researched its mistakes and corrected them all! The book now is a Magisterium and Grimoire (if you will) of completeness, showing the occult student and practitioner the way to go without the dross of mistakes and calumny. It shows what is true and what is fancy. And it puts other books to shame, such as "The Magus and Celestial Intelligencier" by Francis Barrett which was largely plagiarised from these original books, as well as many other books of their ilk. Hugo Shepherd.
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on 4 May 1998
This is the book most often found at the heart of many of the modern groups practising some form of Western esoteric/magickal system. This book influenced the Golden Dawn and many other groups which went on to form the foundation of classical magick in the West. Today, this heavy tome is still a treasure trove of information, technique, and erudition essential to anyone wishing to walk the path of Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, or other such related paths. Even Chaos magicians will find something useful in this book. It's a tremendous resource.
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