A Taste of the Nabatean Agriculture [On Sages, Talismans, Artificial Generation, etc.]

Topics: Antediluvian Sages, Philosophers vs. Prophets, Talismans, Artificial Generation (the proto-Golem), Miscellaneous lore from 10th century author’s account of Late Antique Syriac/Babylonian/Chaldean Paganism, etc.

This video provides a small selection of extracts from the massive text that is the Nabatean Agriculture – a work in Arabic translated from Syriac which is largely an agronomic in nature, and which remains for the most part untranslated into English today. There are, however, many portions translated in the 2006 book “The Last Pagans of Iraq” by J. Haameen Anttila from which these passages were drawn. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy, though it is rare and expensive at this point (I got mine at a research library).

It is notable for our purposes that this work was a major source for Maslama al-Qurtubi in assembling the Ghāyat al-Hakim/Picatrix. The passage on the generation of an artificial man is one of the earliest accounts we have of anything resembling a ‘golem’ from later Jewish traditions (we also know for a fact that Maimonides read Ibn Waḥshīya, but he did not approve of his work on account of its many digressions into magical topics).

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