[Giorgio Levi della Vida]
We say in the beginning: In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, amen. We will instruct you, O my brothers, about these extraordinary words, which the clever cannot understand. In fact, when we Christians call God the father of Jesus Christ "father", that is the name of the Living One who speaks by means of the Son, this is the word "father". And similarly when we say "son", we mean the power of God. And this is attested in the Holy Gospel: "And the power of God will live in you, and from birth you will be called Holy and the Son of God" (Luke. 1, 35). And when we say "and the Saint Spirit", that is why the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life for every living thing. And this is attested in the Holy Gospel in the words of the Angel Gabriel: "From birth the Holy Spirit will be with you".
But, O my brothers, the divinity originally adored by the nations of the gentiles was threefold: the first Cause, the Intellect generated from it and the Spirit which emanated from it. Therefore every temple of their divinity consisted of three sanctuaries: the sanctuary of the First Cause, the sanctuary of the Intellect, the sanctuary of the Spirit, and they covered them with gold and paintings and erected in every sanctuary a statue representing the object which they worshipped and said that the spirit of this rested on that statue and was mediating between them and the good; and they offered it sacrifices, as seven of them attest. The greater part of them worshipped the seven planets in seven climates; and therefore the patriarchs and the prophets opposed them with miracles and prodigies which penetrate the intellect. The first great prodigy was when the sea divided and was raised into two walls, like an immense mountain and the army of the Israelites passed and the ranks of the Egyptians perished.
Despite all these things, the Sacred Scripture do not attest that any of the peoples of the gentiles returned to the worship of the most high God; indeed the sacred Books attest that the Israelites, who were the people of God, after escaping outside from the sea ahead of Pharaoh and having seen these miracles and these immense and extraordinary prodigies, they worshipped the celestial planets and spheres and the images of men and animals; and they worshipped a Calf, whose material existence was obvious, and said of the Calf: "This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Ex.32, 4). All this happened because they founded themselves on the fact that those things were materially present in front of them, while the one they should worship remained hidden from them. In fact the demons spoke face to face with their worshippers (f. 47b) and the Israelites lived in Egypt and saw these actions, and intermarried with them, with their blood in their veins, and were distracted by the presence of these extraordinary things, the wonderful monuments made with magic and incantations and talismans of the divinatory art.
And all the gentiles went to hell for a certain number of years, until the law of Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared, which He passed on to the Apostles: "Go and teach all people and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Mt.28, 19), indicating that it was opposed to those who said that the spirits of the divinity are found in bodies (images?) in order to mediate between them and the worshippers. And so like our Lord the Apostles peformed innumerable miracles that the incantators could not do, such as resuscitating the dead, making the paralysed walk, healing the blind, (f. 50a) and the crazy, which are easy to the most high God, and broke the idols and destroyed the temples.
And all the miracles performed by the apostles were done by means of these three magical words, that is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In fact they (the gentiles) said: "the triplex one", meaning: "the Creator and the spirit of the celestial sphere".
And this is what it says in the book "al-Astamatis".
Aristotle the wise says: "In the climate of Mercury there was a man who the spirit of Mercury had visited, called Afridun (Feridun? http://www.zeno.org/Pierer-1857/A/Afridun ) the wise, who was a prophet-king.
Mercury said to him: "I will choose you and will take you as my prophet and I will visit you with my spirit which will remain with you and I will make you my high priest; but you will institute for me a regular festival. You will unite all the people of your kingdom and lead them to me; (50b) and when you have done that, I will pour out on you my spirit and will give to you whatever you ask. " The following morning Afridun informed the great ones of his kingdom and his people of the vision that he had had. The people of that climate were of varied religion, and did as he told them, and a spirit similar to a torch of fire came, and spoke and said: "O Afridun, I will remain here with you and I will help you in your affairs".
Here the Lord Christ opposed himself to him by the grace of the Holy Spirit that came down on his disciples on Mount Sion, and nullified the spirit of Afridun and its astuteness and its diabolical art by the power of the Holy Spirit of the living God.
Still, we will tell you what Afridun did, which God opposed by means of the prophet Moses. The spirit by the mouth of Afridun spoke and said: "You are my climate and my portion. (f.51a) I will cover you with my spirit and my government and my conduct and will place between me and you one of my guardian spirits, and guard it from impurity and dirt and hide it from the eyes of the profane ones, and when you want something, come in and address the spirit and I will give to you what you want".
And Afridun commanded that an immense house was cleaned up and a gold throne put in it, and first seven goats were sacrificed in the temple and then flayed and the fat was put on the table (altar?), and he made a special prayer while he censed it with the incense, then taking the meat, he took it outside and he commanded them to cook it, and he prepared enough bread for the people of the country. And after doing this and invoking those names, the spirit appeared in its usual shape. And Afridun made rules for this and commanded that there should be placed in charge (f. 51b) to serve it four beautiful young men with no beards on their faces; then that spirit remained in that place smelling the odour of the fat. Then Afridun ate and ordered that they should eat with calmness and quiet and in silence and come forward and carry it to their houses and they divided it between their families.
Our Lord God opposed himself to him by means of Moses and He obliterated their work. Firstly He appeared to Moses in the fire, then He commanded Moses to make a "Cupola of Time" and to make in it an altar: when the spiritual fire came down upon it, and he charged the sons of Aaron with its care and ordered them to sacrifice the victims of the sacrifice and to put the fat around that place on the fire that was on the altar and to send the meat (f. 52a) to their houses and to cook it and to eat it with calm and gravity ......................
Consider, O my brothers, the greatness of Our Lord, as He has destroyed the works of those who worshipped others than Him with His great power and with His living Holy Spirit. And we will again make known to you, O my brothers, what the disobedient rebels did, and opposed you, as they did Our Lord.
Aristotle said to Alexander when he went into Persia; "You must know, O king, that Persia is immense and has desolate deserts and thirsty solitudes, and your army is a great army which is great in number, and is necessary that you have with you some talismans in order to help you achieve your purpose and facilitate your great enterprises. Do this: make an ark of iron (f. 52b) and put in it a statue of iron, gold, silver and copper in your image and an iron statue of your army, knights on horses, and make some statues of lead deformed with the hand (lit.: face?) turned back and in the hand a bent spear of lead and for each statue a bow with a cut string, and put between these two statues, which are your army and their enemies, an iron curtain: then offer a sacrifice and incense to Bandaritus, king of the talismans, and glorify him and exalts him greatly; then carry it wherever you go with you and your army, and wherever you go place your ark near you, and let nobody touch it, except yourself and those who would be your partisans; and offer incense to Bandaritus, and you and those with you will be immune from the plots of your enemies (f. 53a) and adversaries".
The most high God opposed himself to him, saying to Moses: "Make an ark and put in it the two tables of the covenant and the garments of Moses and Aaron and a jar of manna, and let nobody touch it, except the priests of the tribe of Levi; and when you go out to fight your enemies, let the priests carry the army before the army glorifying and saying alleluia, repeating: "Eli, Eli, and your enemies will be routed and the movements of their hands will be weakened".
Consider, O my brothers, the people of God: God with this ark made at the command of God destroyed the power of the arks made in the name of Bandaritus, the enemy of God. See, O my brothers, the wisdom of God, His power and His prodigies.
And again we will tell you what Aristotle said to Alexander: "Make four talismans; one to make water gush out of desolate deserts (f. 53b) and in thirsty solitudes, and it is such: you take some lead thus and thus and some gold thus and thus and melt it in a figure thus and thus and offer a sacrifice to Bandaritus; and when you come down in the thirsty solitudes, you place this talisman in your left hand and say 'this I ask for' and you offer a sacrifice there and burn incense to Bandaritus, and from springs waters to sufficiency will gush out for you and your army, and they will be scattered on the face of the earth".
God opposed himself to him, saying to Moses, when the thirst was intense among the people in the desert, Our Lord said to Moses: "O Moses, strike the rock with your staff and it will gush out water so that the people may drink, they and their beasts and their herds". And Moses did that, and God commanded him to carry that stone wherever they went and wherever they settled. And why did God do that? (f. 54b) Because the people of the Israelites had exalted the gods of the gentiles and inclined towards their worship because they had heard of the strange things of magic, and the minds of the Israelites inclined towards them.
Again Aristotle said to Alexander: "And again, O Alexander, take with you some talismans against hard work and nakedness of the feet and diseases and accidents".
Almighty God opposed himself to him, making the Israelites live for 40 years in the desert free from diseases, misadventure, accidents, and with torn garments and their feet were worn; their beasts did not get tired and he protected them from the sun with cloud, and in the night with a column of fire.
And again Aristotle said to him: "Make an incantation and some fumigations in order to scare off beasts and snakes and vipers and bugs and lions ".
God opposed himself to him (f. 54b) saying to Moses: "Make a bronze snake and put a lance on the top: all those who have been bitten by a snake, and can look at the bronze snake will recover, and therefore all the beasts and the harmful bugs, as is said in Psalm 90: He who has faith in God will tread on the viper and the snake and will tread on the lion and the dragon; because he has trusted in me, I will redeem him and I will save him and protect him".
And again (Aristotle) said to him: "Make a talisman, so that when you enter a city and its inhabitants escape from you and enter into closely shut-up fortresses and defending themselves from you with astuteness, when it is the night of Sunday you will bring the ark containing the talismans and will pray to Bandaritus, and he will open the city for you without combat ".
God opposed himself to him by means of Joshua son (f. 55a) of Nun, when the inhabitants of Jericho escaped from him and they were closed up in their fortresses: he commanded the priests to carry the ark of the covenant and to march for six days around the city, and on the seventh day the priests carried the ark in the morning and Joshua told the priests: "Raise your voices, for God has given this country to you", and they shouted to the most high God and marched around the city, and the seven walls of the city fell, and its inhabitants were exterminated.
And again Aristotle said to Alexander: "Take a pearl and put it as a gem on your ring, and put it on your finger, and all men will obey you; and if you seal with your a seal on a letter to a king and you send it, he will not cease to obey you; and make a sacrifice to Bandaritus so that he hurries to accomplish your desire.
God opposed himself to them (sic) when Joshua came up from the Jordan, and the people (f. 55b) carried the ark of the covenant in which was the stone written by the finger of God, and went into the country of their enemies. When ark came up and the Amorrean and the Canaanites heard this, their hearts shook with fear, as it is said in the Scripture: "Five of the sons of Israel will defeat hundreds, and hundreds will defeat thousands". Then we will make a few chase of those gentiles whom God opposed himself by means of Our Lord Jesus the Christ.
We will tell you again: Alexander spoke to Aristotle, saying: "Bandaritus, what kind of spirits is it?" Aristotle answered him: "It is a spirit generated from 'Adyus (read: Garyus or Garnus, v. Picatrix, p.235, 5), the spirit of the Moon, and Mamus (read: Damahus or Dahamus, v. Picatrix, p.233, 15), the spirit of Jove; that is 'Adyus is of the climate of Jove and Istahmamus, and from it (sic) is generated (f. 56a) Bandaritus, the Lord of talismans.
And therefore the sages and the philosophers exalted Bandaritus and they offered sacrifices to it and magnified it: and this didn't stop being in their minds until Our Lord Jesus Christ, redeemer of mankind, who opposed himself to it with His birth and baptism, and breaking of idols and destroying of temples, and by His power destroying the cults and works of the demons: in place of the birth of Bandaritus from the spirit of Jove, he was born from a pure virgin, by means of the Holy Spirit, without seed, and the spirit came down, being chosen by the work of the most high God, and that by the annunciation of the Angel to Our Lady Mary the Virgin (blessed be she): "the Holy Spirit will live in you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, your child (f. 56b) will be Holy and will be called Son of God".
Let us again tell the history of Saturn. Saturn effused from his spirit 72 spirits into 72 men and taught them magic and the witchcraft in order to attract men to magic and to conjuring and talismans. The Lord Jesus Christ opposed himself to them with 72 evangelists and 12 disciples and sent them out into the regions of the earth in order to attract men to the cult of the most high God. And when he send them, he said to them: "Heal the sick, make the paralysed walk, expel the demons: freely you have received, freely give". With his word "expel the demons" he gave them the powere to destroy the trade in talismans.
And learn (sic) that the book "al-Istamasis" (sic) attests that each (f. 57a) of the spirits of the seven planets has an outlets in the human body: first, the spirit of the Sun passes into the seven veins of the brain; the spirit of the Moon passes into the seven veins of the lungs and throat; the spirit of Jove into the seven veins of the heart; the spirit of Mercury passes into the seven veins of the liver; the spirit of Mars passes into the seven veins of the bile; the spirit of Saturn passes into the seven veins of the spleen; the spirit of Venus passes into the seven veins of the kidneys. The veins of these limbs are combined one with another and interpenetrate one with another, and so it imitates the composition of the macrocosmos and the supreme sphere. And thus man has been called a microcosm. And these filthy diabolical spirits continue to pass into these above-mentioned outlets in order to draw mankind into error.
And so Christ has given the law of baptism, so that it is the bath in holy water, in order to expel the malignant spirits by the Spirit of God, and commands that a man who has been baptized as a Christian is marked with holy oil on the head and liver and heart and kidneys and other limbs of man .......(lacuna) to distinguish the limbs mentioned above when marked with the cross of Christ. And He has commanded the godfather to say: "I renounce you, O Satan, and all your powers and all your impure commands and all your wicked words". And so ends what is written in (f.58a) the book of baptism. Then the priest blows in his mouth in order to expel with the Holy Spirit all the filthy spirits. Then He gave the law of the sacrifice: the sanctified bread that is the body of Christ and His blood generated by the Holy Spirit, because he passes perpetually into in the outlets of the above-mentioned limbs in order to prevent the malignant spirits and the diabolic thoughts from inhabiting you, and so that the bodies acquire a dominant force. And so the Lord Christ (says) to those who contaminate themselves after baptism: "The filthy spirit, when it has left the man, goes around looking for places where there is water and refreshment and it does not find it, and it says: I will return to my house mine, from where I came: and it comes, and it finds it empty, swept....... (Mt.12, 43-44; Lc.11, 24-25)
(End of 6th page)
Notes by Cumont in the margin:
Afridun = Feridun?
Cf. Olivieri, "Melotesia ... " (Acta ... theologia de Napoli, 1934)
Sur le livre al-Astamatis, al-Astamahis (et variantes; je prefère mettre un J au ???) v. Steinschneider, De arab. Ubers. aus dem Griechschen (12 Beiheft zu Zentralblatt fur Bibliothekswesen) Â§44 (68) n. 20-21 p. 88-90. Le materiel recuelli par Steinschneider ne paruit pas avoir été augmenté depuis: Ritter, Vorkriege der Bibliothek , Warburg 1921/22 p.123 ne ??? rien de plus.
A few links from an internet search:
ZENTRALBLATT FUR BIBLIOTHEKSWESEN VOLUME 5-8.
Wiesbaden Otto Harrassowitz 1968 thick 8vo. cloth.
Reprint of the 1889 - 1891 edition. Includes the following: 5. Heyer, A. Dritte Nachlese zu Weller's deutschen Zeitungen. 47 pages. With Steinschneider, M. Die Arabischen Uebersetzungen aus dem Griechischen. 34 pages. 6. Heuser, E. Beitrage zur Geschichte der Universitatsbibliothek Giessen. 74 pages. 7. Hochegger, R. Ueber die Entehung und Bedeutung der Blockbucher. viii, 67 pages. 8. Burger, K. Ludwig Hain's Repertorium Bibliographicum. Register. Die Drucker des 15 Jh. mit chronol. 428 pages.
Steinschneider, M. Die arabischen Uebersetzungen aus dem Griechischen. Graz, 1960 (reprint of various installments: Beihefte zum Centralblatt fuer Bibliothekswesen V  und XII ; Zeitschrift der deutschen morgendlaendlischen Gesellschaft, Band 50 ; Archiv fuer pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und fuer klinische Medezin, Band 124, Folge XII, Bd. iv ).