The book centers on a Hebrew manuscript entitled Sepher Maphteah Shelomoh, that dates from around 1700. The original manuscript was discovered in the library of a London Rabbi, Samuel Marcus Gollancz (1819-1900), by his son, Herman, not long after his father’s death. Hermann Gollancz, himself an eminent Hebrew scholar, was fascinated by the manuscript, and felt that its study might give important insight into the history and origins of the “Solomonic” grimoires or books of magic, that are a mainstay of the Western occult tradition. In 1903 Gollancz published his preliminary thoughts and translations in a booklet entitled Clavicula Salomonis, A Hebrew Manuscript, and in 1914 he published a facsimile of the manuscript, along with a twenty-page English-language Introduction discussing the text and citing excerpts, under the title Sepher Maphteah Shelomo in an edition of only 300 copies. Both books are extremely rare, and have never before been reprinted.
This new Teitan Press edition includes the full text of both of Gollancz’s commentaries, a facsimile of the original Hebrew manuscript, and a new Foreword by well-known scholar of the occult Stephen Skinner, in which he explores the history of the grimoire in the light of modern scholarship.
The first section comprises the English-language Foreword and Introductions, and is 64 pages: printed on quality uncoated paper for easy readability. The remaining 158 pages (the facsimile of the original Hebrew manuscript) are printed on special coated paper, that gives a photograph like quality to the reproduction of the manuscript, with its numerous drawings of seals, talismans etc. In keeping with tradition, it has been printed so that the English-language Introductory essays, which are of course read left to right, are back-to-back with the Hebrew facsimile, which is read from right to left. Please note that the English text comprises three commentaries – as detailed above – it is not a translation.
The book is a high quality sewn hardcover, Large Quarto (11 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches, approx 28.5 x 22cm), lxiv + pp. Blue cloth with gilt titling to spine and front covers, and gilt design on front cover. Edition limited to 358 numbered copies.