Abraham ben Simeon of Worms

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ABRAHAM BEN SIMEON OF WORMS (15th century), pseudonym of the unknown author of a supposedly comprehensive guide to "the divine magic" according to the Kabbalah, especially the conjuration of the Guardian Angel who presides over every man's spiritual life. The author tells at length the story of his life and describes his wanderings that began in the year 1409 and lasted for decades. He lists the heroic deeds which he accomplished with magic devices. The author alleges that he wrote the book for his young son Lamech. The book is found in numerous German, French, and English manuscripts, dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Part of it was translated (c. 1700) into Hebrew under the name Segullat Melakhim ("Treasure of Kings"). The book was no doubt written originally in German, although the author claims it to be a translation from Hebrew. The question of its authorship, whether Jewish or Christian, is a matter of dispute. The general style of the book shows the author's knowledge of Hebrew. The work may well have been written by a Jew, with the passages with clearly Christian content added later. It may also have been written by a Christian kabbalist who had read the writings of *Pico della Mirandola and Johannes *Reuchlin. The German version was printed at the beginning of the 19th century, bearing, however, the date 1725. The book has had great influence among those interested in the occult in England and France since the end of the 19th century. In its English version (1898) it is attributed to Abra Melin "The Mage," which is but a corruption of the name Abramelin, mentioned as the main teacher of the author. Abramelin seems to be taken from Abraham Elymas, the latter being the name of a magician mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. The magic material in the book is essentially of Jewish origin, and constitutes one of the main channels of Jewish influence on late Christian magic. The German and the French–English versions differ considerably.


Michael, Or, no. 257; Steinschneider, Uebersetzungen, 907 ff.; Benjacob, Ozar, s.v.Segullat Melakhim; G. Scholem, Bibliographia Kabbalistica (1927), 2.

[Gershom Scholem]

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Abraham ben Simeon of Worms

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