MS 5410
  1. Kabbalistic treaty on the combination of the Divine Names and names of Angels
  2. Kabbalistic formulas for the production of amulets and protective prayers
  3. Kabbalistic ritual-processes to use "Angelic script" or "Celestial Alphabet" in combination with prayers
Description MS in Hebrew and Latin (gloss) on vellum, Germany, late 14th or 15th c., 25 ff., 31x21 cm, single column, (20x13 cm), 28 lines in Hebrew cursive script and glosses in "Angelic script", numerous tables and diagrams.
Context Among the earliest examples of Angelic script known, but there is an Angelic character illustrated on the Jewish Aramaic incantation bowl MS 2053/166 dated to 5th-6th century.
Provenance 1. Professor Antonio Assemani, Arch gymnasium of Roma (ca. 1800-1850); 2. Professor Emiliano Sarti, Vatican Library and the College di Propaganda Fide (ca. 1850-); 3. Michele Amari, Firenze (-1899) and heirs; 4. Sotheby's, London 8.7.2008:15.
Commentary By the date of this MS the study of the mystic and esoteric inner meanings of the Hebrew Bible and traditional Rabbinic literature had reached a fully developed form with texts of the Sefer Yetzirah and Hekalot and of Sefer Zohar, the first truly work of Kabbalistic literature are of two branches, one involved with philosophical discussion of the nature of things, and the other represented in the present MS, which provides a practical step-by-step guide to using signs, words and prayers imbued with supernatural powers to ensure well-being. The idea of Angelic script seems to have developed from the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which contains a great deal of information on angels. Particularly the first part, the Book of Watchers (or Giants) tells the story of the fallen angels that came down from Heaven to Earth, became pregnant with humans and bore large giants. (See MSS 2657, 4612/06, 4612/08 and 4612/12). This contact with angels implied some form of language and script, and as numerous mystics and scholars in both the Jewish and Christian worlds to interest in angelology, the interest in the various forms of Angelic script developed. This is one of the earliest surviving Kabbalistic MSS known, as most copies are from the 16th and 17th c.
Place of origin Germany
Dates late 14c - 15c AD