Jewish Love Magic

From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages


Jewish Love Magic: From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages is the first monograph dedicated to the supernatural methods employed by Jews in order to generate love, grace or hate. Examining hundreds of manuscripts, often unpublished, Ortal-Paz Saar skillfully illuminates a major aspect of the Jewish magical tradition.

The book explores rituals, spells and important motifs of Jewish love magic, repeatedly comparing them to the Graeco-Roman and Christian traditions. In addition to recipes and amulets in Hebrew, Aramaic and Judaeo-Arabic, primarily originating in the Cairo Genizah, also rabbinic sources and responsa are analysed, resulting in a comprehensive and fascinating picture.


EUR €105.00USD $121.00

Biographical Note

Ortal-Paz Saar (Ph.D, 2009, Tel Aviv University) is a cultural historian researching Judaism and its contacts with other religious traditions. Her publications focus on ancient and medieval Jewish magic, and she currently researches Jewish diasporic identity at Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements List of Figures Abbreviations Introduction 1 What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Magic)? A Survey of Ancient Love Magic  1  Historical Background  2  Main Features of Love Magic  3  The Magical Rationale  4  The Uses and Abuses of Love Magic  5  The Silence of the Targets: Reactions to Love Magic and Counter Spells  6  Summary 2 Making Love, Making Hate Practices of Jewish Love Magic  1  Introductory Remarks  2  Magical Practices: An Overview  3  Products of Magical Practices  4  From Theory to Practice 3 Of Loviel and Other Demons The Verbal Aspects of Jewish Love Magic  1  Introductory Remarks  2  Linguistic Aspects  3  Appeals and Demands: The Magical Formulae  4  Literary Devices in the Magical Formulae  5  Magical Signs 4 A Time to Love and a Time to Hate The Temporal Aspects of Jewish Love Magic  1  Written in the Stars  2  The Timing of Magical Practices  3  Temporal References in Magical Products  4  Summary 5 You Shall Not Walk in Their Statutes? The ‘Jewishness’ of Jewish Love Magic  1  Introductory Remarks  2  Prohibited or Permitted Love? The Legitimacy of Love Magic in Judaism  3  Traits of Jewish Love Magic  4  Jewish and Non-Jewish Love Magic: Some Differences  5  Conclusions Summary  1  In the Previous Chapters …  2  What is Jewish Love Magic? A Second Look Bibliography Index of Manuscripts Index of Subjects


Scholars and students of Jewish religion, magic, and mysticism, as well as anyone interested in ritual traditions. Additionally, the book will be of interest to Cairo Genizah researchers.