Arbatel was written by an Italian mage, however the author and original date that pen was put to paper are unknown. It was a Latin grimoire of renaissance ceremonial magic published in 1575 in Switzerland. The Arbatel mainly focuses on the relationship between humanity, celestial hierarchies, and the positive relationship between the two. The Olympian spirits featured in it are entirely original. The Arbatel was one of the most influential works of its kind from its period, inspiring figures such as Johann Arndt, Gerhard Dorn, Adam Haslmayr, Robert Fludd, Heinrich Khunrath, and Valentin Weigel, in addition to its editor and publisher, Zwinger and Perna. It was possibly the first work to use "Theosophy" in an occult sense (as opposed to a synonym for theology), and for distinguishing between human ("anthroposophia") and divine knowledge ("theosophia").
When it first appeared in 1575, it attracted the attention of people with a surprisingly broad range of agendas, including some of the finest minds of the time. Often quoted and reprinted, both praised and condemned, its impact on western esoteric philosophy has been called “overwhelming.” This little book is mentioned by John Dee in his Mysteriorum Libri. Delrio condemns the book in his Disquisitiones magicae.'
The only known, existing tome (“book” or “volume,” that is) of the Arbatel, is the first, the Isagoge, which the author explains means “Book of the Institutions of Magic” and consists of “the most general precepts of the whole Art.”
The final editing of the book was likely carried out by Theodor Zwinger, and was almost definitely published by Pietro Perna, leaving little doubt to the book's claimed Swiss origin. The author remains unknown, but Peterson believes one Jacques Gohory (1520-1576) to be the most likely possibility. Gohory, like Zwinger and Perna, was a Paracelsian.
In 1617, the University of Marburg took action against two professors who intended to use the grimoire as a textbook, and expelled a student obsessed with it.
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