Veenstra (2016 Congress)

Jan R. Veenstra
(Independent Scholar)

“Magical Reconfigurations
in Gannell’s Summa in the Kassel Manuscript”

Abstract of Paper
Intended for the 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, 2016)

Session on
“Magic on the Page:  Transmission and Representation of Magic”
Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
and the Societas Magica

Organized by László Sándor Chardonnens
2016 Congress Program and 2016 Congress Report

[Published on 27 April 2016, with an update after the Congress]

[Please noteDr. Veenstra was unexpectedly unable to travel to the Congress to present his paper.  We post his Abstract as a description of the subject and scope of his contribution to the discourse.  During the Session, the Organizer presented a brief report of Jan’s subject and approach.]

The Summa sacre magice by the Catalan/Valencian scholar Berengario Ganell (c. 1346; Universitätsbliothek-Landesbibliothek und Murhardsche Bibliothek der Stadt Kassel, Ms. 4o astron. 3) is a unique compendium comprising a variety of magical texts from the medieval period. The author has done more than simply copying and compiling the texts that he gathered; rather, he reconfigured his materials to create a new unified whole. Hence the book offers its readers more than simply an encyclopedia of ancient magic. Texts and segments were copied and strategically repositioned so that we find not only ancient versions of the Rings of Solomon, the Almandal, the Liber iuratus, or the Book of Raziel, but at the same time reconfigurations of these materials. This paper will offer a survey of this process of redistribution and reconfiguration to offer insight into the aims and purposes of the Summa and to assess the significance of the manuscript for the reconstruction of the transmission history of the magical texts and rituals it contains.