Arcana Mundi. Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds.
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore / London, 1985. XV,396p. Paperback. Nice copy. ‘George Luck for many years has maintained an active interest in magic in Greece and Rome (…). The present volume evolved from a class which he has been offering at Johns Hopkins since 1972, ‘Magic and Occult Science in Antiquity’. Professor Luck became aware of the critical need for a source book of translated Greek and Latin texts on this subject. He undertook the project gradually, translating relevant passages and adding his own introductions and notes for classroom use. The book which resulted consists of six sections: Magic, Miracles, Demonology, Divination, Astrology, and Alchemy. The heart of each section is the texts, each of which is preceded by a brief introduction in which Luck orients his readers to the particular author and his perspective on the occult science in question. Before each major section he provides a more general introduction, where he addresses broader issues and problems regarding each occult science and its use in antiquity. (…) Luck’s book both fulfills and exceeds its original pedagogical design. I know of no better way to introduce a student or general reader to any aspect of antiquity than through a carefully selected corpus of primary documents. Luck not only provides this, but his own explanatory material offers more and better guidance than that of other anthologies of religious texts. Beginners will especially welcome such help, but even general classicists, who have yet to be initiated into not-so-mainline authors like Philostratus or Iamblichus, will appreciate his lucid introductions and notes. They will also find themselves surprised at the treasures to be gleaned from such writers who occupy the fringes of the classical literary tradition.’ (DAVID MARTINEZ in The Classical Journal, 1988/89, p.168). From the library of Prof. Carl Deroux.