By Gideon Bohak

ISBN-10: 0521180988

ISBN-13: 9780521180986

ISBN-10: 0521874572

ISBN-13: 9780521874571

Gideon Bohak provides a pioneering account of the extensive heritage of old Jewish magic, from the second one Temple to the rabbinic interval. it truly is dependent either on historical magicians' personal compositions and items in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, and at the descriptions and prescriptions of non-magicians, to reconstruct a historic photograph that's as balanced and nuanced as attainable. the focus is at the cultural makeup of historic Jewish magic, and detailed cognizance is paid to the tactics of cross-cultural contacts and borrowings among Jews and non-Jews, in addition to to inner-Jewish creativity. different significant concerns explored comprise where of magic inside Jewish society, modern Jewish attitudes to magic, and the identification of its practitioners. all through, the ebook seeks to provide an explanation for the methodological underpinnings of all sound study during this tough box, and to focus on parts the place additional learn is probably going to turn out fruitful.

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IV, p. 198 and vol. VI, p. 319, n. 15. Bar Kokhba: Hieronymus, Adv. Ruf. 480; CC 79, p. 102 Lardet), with Dickie 2001, p. 113, and p. 338, n. 78. man’s daughters: bt Gitt 45a; for this trick and how to do it, see Hippolytus, Ref. 2, with Ganschinietz 1913, p. 49. 167–86 (the paignia of Democritus), and T-S Ar. 7, briefly described by Golb 1967, p. 13. For an early modern example, see Bos 1994, pp. 65–66 and 111. Although a category of “sleight of hand” magic did exist in ancient Jewish thought, it was seen as a separate category, as we shall see in Chapter 6.

Lucian, Alex. 26; Hippolytus, Ref. 2. 66 Thus, we must generally forego the assumption of conscious fraud on their part, and assume that both practitioners and clients took these recipes and practices very seriously and copied and performed them in order to achieve the goals for which they were intended. The question, then, cannot be avoided or evaded – how could they take all this seriously? Why did they think it would work? The question of the rationality of magic has, of course, often been asked before, especially in the anthropological study of “primitive” societies.

3–96. See also Vyse 1997. 36 Ancient Jewish magic Western civilization. In the study of Judaism, the assumption that magic has nothing rational about it had one obvious implication – magic is an intrinsically un-Jewish activity. 46 As we shall see in subsequent chapters of this book, it is often hard to tell who exactly were the practitioners behind the Jewish magical practices in antiquity. 47 Moreover, when we do find evidence outside the actual magical texts as to who practiced such magical rituals, that evidence repeatedly demonstrates the acceptance, and even practice, of magic by members of the Jewish elite, including the religious establishment itself.

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Ancient Jewish Magic: A History by Gideon Bohak


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