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PREFACE It was a widespread

by Shaul Shaked
PREFACE It was a widespread practice in the area of Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor during the fourth to the seventh centuries of the current era to use talismans written on metal sheets in order to ward off the powers of evil, to heal people, or to gain the love of a person. The common Babylonian practice of the same period was to write incantation texts on earthenware bowls. The number of Mesopotamian texts written in Jewish Aramaic, Syriac and Mandaic on clay bowls published to date reaches about one hundred and fifty, whereas less than ten Aramaic amulets from Palestine and its vicinity have been published so far. This book developed from the desire of the two authors to do a modest work on a number of Aramaic magic bowls which at that time ( almost ten years ago) were in Jerusalem in the hands of dealers and in the collection of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. It has developed to its present dimensions as more texts have turned up. Work on some newly found metal amulets has made it necessary to study and revise the readings of the whole corpus of Aramaic amulets from the area of the Holy Land. Thus fifteen amulets have been edited in this volume — all those which can be deciphered with some confidence — and twelve new bowl texts written in Babylonian Jewish Aramaic and Syriac. In order to understand the terminology and praxis of the texts discussed in this volume, it is essential to refer to contemporary and later texts from other sources: the Greek magic papyri, the early magic literature in Hebrew, and the magic fragments in the Cairo Geniza. Of the last group, so far almost completely neglected, a few selected texts are included in this work: five amulets, and three fragments from books of magic recipes. The texts are provided with translations and commentaries, and a detailed glossary of all words is given. A l l newly published texts are accompanied by photographs. It has been our wish to make available to Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index

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PREFACE It was a widespread practice in the area of Palestine, Syria and Asia Minor during the fourth to the seventh centuries of the current era to use talismans written on metal sheets in order to ward off the powers of evil, to heal people, or to gain the love of a person. The common Babylonian practice of the same period was to write incantation texts on earthenware bowls. The number of Mesopotamian texts written in Jewish Aramaic, Syriac and Mandaic on clay bowls published to date reaches about one hundred and fifty, whereas less than ten Aramaic amulets from Palestine and its vicinity have been published so far. This book developed from the desire of the two authors to do a modest work on a number of Aramaic magic bowls which at that time ( almost ten years ago) were in Jerusalem in the hands of dealers and in the collection of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. It has developed to its present dimensions as more texts have turned up. Work on some newly found metal amulets has made it necessary to study and revise the readings of the whole corpus of Aramaic amulets from the area of the Holy Land. Thus fifteen amulets have been edited in this volume — all those which can be deciphered with some confidence — and twelve new bowl texts written in Babylonian Jewish Aramaic and Syriac. In order to understand the terminology and praxis of the texts discussed in this volume, it is essential to refer to contemporary and later texts from other sources: the Greek magic papyri, the early magic literature in Hebrew, and the magic fragments in the Cairo Geniza. Of the last group, so far almost completely neglected, a few selected texts are included in this work: five amulets, and three fragments from books of magic recipes. The texts are provided with translations and commentaries, and a detailed glossary of all words is given. A l l newly published texts are accompanied by photographs. It has been our wish to make available to << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index
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Varda Books - 1-59045-917-2


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