September 8, 2010
Greetings faithful bloggers!
It is unusual for me to make an issue out of a negative review of one of my books. Of course, if I find a mere attack posted as a “review”, I’m likely to take it to one of my forums and poke fun at it. Everyone has a good laugh. 🙂 Yet, you won’t likely see me talking about that kind of thing here.
However, I have received one less-than-glowing review- for The Angelical Language Vol 2 (An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the Tongue of Angels)- that does merit some discussion. It is not really an attack – the guy gave the book three stars, and at least suggested it would be useful if errors were fixed. Though I also think the author was grossly exaggerating when he insisted the errors were “just too numerous to list.” (Certainly the list of errors couldn’t be longer than the book itself! lol)
Plus, several of the examples he does offer are not errors at all, but are issues that scholars have long debated. The 48 Angelical Calls were not given to Dee as a complete and perfect set. There were a lot of issues with their reception, and both Dee and Enochian scholars since his time have worked to correct and complete them. What you see in The Angelical Language are *my* conclusions, even if they conflict with the conclusions of others.
I originally wrote a reply to this review that boiled down to: “Don’t mistake your own conclusions about Dee’s material as immutable fact.” It also reminded the reader that I don’t consider the Lexicon to be the final word on the language forever. The work continues, the Lexicon will be updated and expanded as the years continue.
However, for a while now, I’ve felt that something was not quite right with my reply. It almost said what I wanted it to say, but didn’t quite convey the message. Finally, I realized that I had put too much emphasis on replying to the reviewer himself, where the emphasis should have been on the continuing evolution of the work. And, worst of all, it was missing a certain invitation to all of you.
Below I am posting both the original review, and my updated reply. If you own, or plan to own, a copy of my Angelical Lexicon I hope you will read on:
Room for improvement, May 24, 2010
By Veritas “KK”
This review is from: The Angelical Language, Volume II: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the Tongue of Angels (Hardcover)
This is an interesting work, where clearly a lot of effort has gone into it. However, I was somewhat disappointed by the fact that the author has used, for his main source, Casaubon’s printed version of Dee’s works, which contain many errors. One example will suffice: the word ‘Peral’, to be found in Key 5 (according to Leitch and many other authors), never appears in Dee’s works at all. It is in fact a misprint for ‘Peoal’. At least Leitch has inserted it in its correct position. There are a number of other spelling errors throughout the Keys. I would also strongly argue against some of the numbered listings of the Keys near the beginning of the book, where, in my view, they are clearly wrong, but it was nice to see that in the first Key he lists 86 words (despite the fact that many individual words are numbered incorrectly), which is certainly correct. My last criticism is with accents: Dee never uses the circumflex (found throughout this work, and interpreted as as long vowel); all these should be replaced with a breve (from the Latin brevis – short), being a short vowel or syllable. The number of errors in this work are just too numerous to list, simply because the author is not using original source works.
To be of any real value, works such as this must be based upon Dee’s original manuscripts; relying on printed sources is a serious mistake. I have found no printed source which is free from errors, some of them are appalling. My own 40 year study in this field may one day be published. As a final note, I would say that, a revised and corrected version of this work would be a valuable addition to Enochian (not a word Dee ever used) literature.
My understanding from reading the intro to Volume I, was that the author exhaustively used the original source (Dee’s notebooks) and did not use Casaubon as his main source, as this reviewer states.
Aaron Leitch says:
Salmontree, you are correct. TFR was among the sources for my work, but was not my only source. It is quoted extensively in my books simply because (at the time I wrote them) it was the most commonly available source for my readers to reference for themselves. (Now, thankfully, anyone can see Dee’s originals online at The Magickal Review website.)
I am fully aware that TFR contains many mistakes and misprints (and mis-placed pages, etc, etc). These mistakes have been well vetted by Enochian scholars, and you will find them corrected in my work. (For example, check the entry for Coronzom.)
Of course, that doesn’t mean that this project – which I accomplished alone over the course of 10 years – didn’t see a rare mistake or two make it through the filters. I state very clearly in the introduction that my work is not offered as definitive of the language. It is simply the best anyone has offered to date, and it is my sincere hope that all Enochian students and scholars will do their part in correcting AND expanding the Lexicon. Any mistakes you folks help me find, I will be happy to correct for the next printing of the book.
As for the 48 Angelical Calls: I had to do a lot of corrective work on them before I could present them with their cross-reference numbers. The Calls were not simply given to Dee as a completed set. Not only Dee, but many Enochian scholars since him have worked to correct them.
I invite any and all Dee and Enochian scholars, students and practitioners to contact me if they find something I missed. This project is a living and growing thing, and it will take many minds and many years to fully understand and develop the Tongue of Angels.