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VHMaroney: Editing Liber Al

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
Subject: VHMaroney: Editing Liber Al
Date: 10 Apr 1997 23:39:03 -0700

[from V.H. Maroney ]

>Incidentally, the MS of Liber AL does not say "Tzaddi is not the Star".
>There is an inkblot or ambiguous mark in that passage which Crowley 
>interprets as "Tzaddi".  Examination of the MS on that spot reveals that 
>the mark was re-touched several times, with the ink drying in discernable 
>layers of slightly different appearance.

This is one of a number of later editings of the manuscript. Just from 
looking at the facsimile, I see (ignoring caret insertions that seem to 
be in the same pen and rushed writing as the original, as well as the 
later page and verse numbers):

Chapter 1:

Page 1: "Had!", the first word, was written in later.

Page 6: "the omnipresence of my body" is a later editing of "the 
unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality". The main text says at 
this point "(Write this in whiter words) (But go further [?] on)", with a 
note added, "Done later as above".

Page 7: "distance" [?] has been corrected to "division"

Page 18: the tzaddi, as noted, bears evidence of overwriting

Page 19: There are three insertions, one above the line and illegible: 
"(Lost H[?]l[?]e)" above a caret; one below the caret in the same pen, 
"The shape of my star is"; and then also below the line but in a 
different pen and handwriting, "The five Pointed Star, with a circle in 
the Middle, & the circle is Red"

Chapter 2:

Page 8: "miss" is a correction for some other word in a different pen

Chapter 3:

Page 1: has a large stain; at the top is lightly penciled: "leave stain 
on paper - not in Gloshe[?]" -- this is not actually an alteration to the 
text, but I am curious as to what it means.

Page 10: There are two penciled-in notes describing insertions from a 
vellum book, in which apparently some translations from the stele had 
been written.

Page 11: This is not certain, but the spacing is very inconsistent around 
the line "and thy comment upon this The Book of the Law". The line 
appears to be sandwiched between two originally contiguous lines, but it 
is written in the same pen and handwriting style, though slightly more 
compressed. The text does flow just as well without this possible 

Page 12: "clerkship" has been corrected to "clerk-house".

Page 16: has been ruled with a grid of numbers and letters, and has a 
bold strike-out running across seven lines; also not an alteration to the 
text, but interesting.

Page 20: an illegible word has been replaced with "force of Coph Nia", 
apparently in the same pen and hand as "the five pointed star" etc. Is 
this Rose's writing?

What interests me about these modifications is what they may tell us 
about the writing of the book. They seem hard to square with either of 
the two leading hypotheses: that the book was dictated by a supernal 
intelligence, or that it issued forth from Crowley's unconscious mind. 
There seems to have been a deliberate process of editing at work which we 
can only assume was conscious and earthly. Furthermore, it seems that 
even at the time of writing there was an intention to do conscious 
editing, as with the elisions of the translations from the stele in 
chapter 3, and the "whiter words" urged in chapter 1.

On the face of it these facts are more consistent with the hypothesis 
that the book was a deliberate, self-conscious attempt to create the 
foundation scripture of a new religion, and that the story of its origin 
was created in order to fulfill what Crowley believed was a necessary 
mythic function in a prophetic religion.

However, this is not a compelling argument for this hypothesis or against 
the other hypotheses -- the editing marks are anomalies in the other two 
models, but a small set of anomalies is not necessarily a fatal flaw.

V.H. maroney

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