On Early Jewish Literature and the Aramaic Magic Bowls

in Aramaic Studies
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This article discusses examples of ‘lost midrashim’ that occur in both the New Testament and the Aramaic magic bowls, with a view to demonstrating the significance of the magic bowls for the study of early Jewish literature.

On Early Jewish Literature and the Aramaic Magic Bowls

in Aramaic Studies




Montgomery‘A Magical Bowl-Text’ p. 435; the most recent edition of this text is that of M. Moriggi A Corpus of Syriac Incantation Texts: Syriac Magical Texts from Late-Antique Mesopotamia (Leiden: Brill 2014) pp. 22–26. Moriggi mentions that the same reading also occurs in a bowl being edited by James Nathan Ford (MS 2055/15.4).


See J. Naveh and S. ShakedMagic Spells and Formulae: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press1993) pp. 230–232.


See S. Shaked J.N. Ford and S. BhayroAramaic Bowl Spells: Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls (vol. 1; Leiden: Brill2013) pp. 181–182.


G. BohakAncient Jewish Magic: A History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2008) p. 166 (n. 59). Bohak also mentions the possible occurrence of this name in an Aramaic fragment from Oxyrhynchus although this differs from the edition in M.J. Geller ‘An Aramaic Incantation from Oxyrhynchus’ ZPE 58 (1985) pp. 96–98.


E.g. J. Naveh and S. ShakedAmulets and Magic Bowls: Aramaic Incantations of Late Antiquity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, third edition1998) pp. 198–214 highlighting how some of Bowl 13 seems to recall parts of the book of Daniel.


E.g. S. BhayroThe Shemihazah and Asael Narrative of 1Enoch 6–11: Introduction Text Translation and Commentary with reference to Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Antecedents (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag2005) p. 242 on eating flesh and drinking blood in 1 En. 7.5 and Bowl 7.8; cf. Naveh and Shaked Amulets and Magic Bowls pp. 170–171.


Bohak‘Prolegomena’ p. 119.


See Grabbe‘The Jannes/Jambres Tradition’ pp. 394–396; see also the extensive ‘Introduction’ in A. Pietersma The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the Magicians: P. Chester Beatty XVI (with New Editions of Papyrus Vindobonensis Greek inv. 29456+29828 verso and British Library Cotton Tiberius B. v f. 87). Edited with Introduction Translation and Commentary (Leiden: Brill 1994).


See M. JastrowA Dictionary of the Targumim the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi and the Midrashic Literature (London: Luzac & Co.1903) pp. 579–580 and 581 s.v. ‮ימבריס‬‎ and ‮יניס‬‎. It is interesting that while the Aramaic lexicographer Marcus Jastrow was suggesting Greek etymologies for the names the noted Greek scholar Henry St. John Thackeray was suggesting Semitic ones—see H. St. J. Thackeray The Relation of St. Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought (London: Macmillan 1900) pp. 220–221.


Grabbe‘The Jannes/Jambres Tradition’ p. 400; see also pp. 397–398.


See G.G. Scholem‘Havdala De-Rabbi ʿAkiva—A Source for the Tradition of Jewish Magic during the Gaonic Period’Tarbiz 50 (1980–81) pp. 243–281 (277).


See e.g. PietersmaThe Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres p. 4.


See Shaked Ford and BhayroAramaic Bowl Spells pp. 158 181–182.


See e.g. C.E. HayesBetween the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds: Accounting for Halakhic Difference in Selected Sugyot from Tractate Avodah Zarah (Oxford: Oxford University Press1997) p. 3; C. Hezser The Social Structure of the Rabbinic Movement in Roman Palestine (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 1997) pp. 231–233.


See Shaked Ford and BhayroAramaic Bowl Spells pp. 74–76.


See Shaked Ford and BhayroAramaic Bowl Spells pp. 94–96.


See e.g. BauckhamJude 2Peter pp. 64–76.


Naveh and ShakedMagic Spells and Formulae p. 25.


See Shaked Ford and BhayroAramaic Bowl Spells pp. 68–70.


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