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John Dee's holy table

The Elizabethan mathematician John Dee was interested in the possibility of understanding the natural world by communicating with angels. Because they had not been part of the 'fall' of mankind in Eden, angels still held the original knowledge of the world possessed by Adam.

Dee's medium, or 'skryer', Edward Kelly, managed to conjure up the angel Uriel, following whose instructions, Dee had his 'holy table' made in 1582 with the characters of the 'Enochian' alphabet, to assist their future communication.

This is a marble copy of the original wooden table, which has not survived. It was probably made after an engraving published by Merric Casaubon in 1659. The marble table was presented to the Bodleian Library in 1750 by Richard Rawlinson, according to whom it had previously belonged to the astrologer William Lilly, who died in 1681.

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