Podcast episode

Episode 151: The Testament of Solomon and the Solomonic Tradition, Part II

[Thanks to the Qatar Digital Library for the use of the glorious image above]

Having prepared the ground in the previous episode, we dive into the fascinating text the Testament of Solomon, exploring it cosmology, demonology, angelology, and echoes across numerous, intersecting strands of tradition. We meet a lot of demons, and even a ghost (the ghost of a dead giant!). The Queen of Sheba is now a sorceress. Solomon sacrifices locusts to heathen gods. The seven planets and thirty-six decans make appearances. We learn how demons are able to foretell the future.

And much, much more! Fun for the whole family.

Works Cited in this Episode:


  • Testament of Solomon: Basic tripartite cosmology: 18.3. But multiple heavens: 14.8; 20.11-17. Beelzeboul is the prince of all the demons: 6:2; 3:6. Abezethibou is his lieutenant: 6.3; 25.
  • Corpus Hermeticum 13 on the twelve astral vices (‘tormentors’) driven out by the ten noetic powers: CH XIII 11 and ff. See episode 106.
  • Demons know the future by eavesdropping on the angels: Talmud Hagiga 16a; Qur’ān e.g. 37:6-9.
  • Protective East Roman bronze depicting Solomon: James Russell. The Archaeological Context of Magic in the Early Byzantine Period. In Henry Maguire, editor, Byzantine Magic, pages 35–50. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC, 1995, p. 41, fig. 6.


  • Dennis C. Duling. The Testament of Solomon. In James H. Charlesworth, editor, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volume One: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments, pages 935–87. Hendrickson, Peabody, MA, 2021; we quote p. 952.
  • Chester Charlton McCown. The Testament of Solomon. J. C. Hinrichs, Leipzig, 1922. We quote p. 43 and cite p. 48 on the voces magicæ.

Recommended Reading:

See previous episode. On the Decans, Gundel remains a monument of scholarship: Hans G. Gundel. Dekane und Dekansternbilder. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Sternbilder der Kulturvölker. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Glückstadt, 1936.


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