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Testament of Solomon

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The Testament of Solomon in a recent English-language edition
The Testament of Solomon in a recent English-language edition

Found at the Cairo Geniza, a storage place for worn-out scriptural books, The Testament of Solomon is a Greek text in the Jewish grimoire tradition, presumably written by a Christian author sometime between the 1st and 5th centuries CE. It is noted for its description of the seal of King Solomon and for having the first references to Jews summoning demons and controlling them for the purposes of doing good, rather than evil. With the use of his magic ring, Solomon is said to have commanded 36 demons to help build the First Temple.

The idea that demons are the offspring of humans and fallen angels, which is a notable Christian concept, is also first elucidated in this text. The Testament of Solomon is also the earliest instance in which the seal of Solomon is described as having five interlocking points rather than six, as according to earlier Jewish traditions. The new star or seal of Solomon is called the “pentalpha” and is also known in modern times as the pentacle, which later became known as one of the four card suits of the tarot cards.

In recent years, this once-obscure grimoire has been reprinted in both Hebrew and Engish, and it is currently consulted as a guide to the study of the the Kabbalah and the Jewish Grimoire Tradition.

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