In many near eastern traditions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, demons have appeared as a cause of illness from ancient times until at least the early modern period. This volume explores the relationship between demons, illness and treatment comparatively. Its twenty chapters range from Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt to early modern Europe, and include studies of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They discuss the relationship between ‘demonic’ illnesses and wider ideas about illness, medicine, magic, and the supernatural. A further theme of the volume is the value of treating a wide variety of periods and places, using a comparative approach, and this is highlighted particularly in the volume’s Introduction and Afterword. The chapters originated in an international conference held in 2013.
"Ultimately, Demons and Illness admirably performs the important task of reminding modern scholars of premodern health of the integral role played by these complex and shifting entities in the lives of people across the globe and through the centuries." -Rachel Podd, Fordham University, in: Social History of Medicine 32.3 (2019)
"Given the sheer breadth of its scope, the volume is, of course, illustrative rather than comprehensive in its coverage, yet there is a definite coherence to its content, aided by the introduction and afterword which bookend the work and help begin to draw out the threads of commonality and difference. As such it constitutes a significant and welcome resource for comparative explorations of historical-cultural links between demons, illness, medicine, and magic, while offering a clear invitation to future work." -Matthew A. Collins, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43.5 (2019)
Siam Bhayro, Ph.D. (2000), University College London, is Associate Professor in Early Jewish Studies at the University of Exeter. His research interests include the Bible, Semitic languages, medicine in the Christian and Islamic orient, and Jewish magic.
Catherine Rider, Ph.D. (2004), University College London, is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Exeter. She has published on the history of medieval magic and medicine, including Magic and Religion in Medieval England (Reaktion Books, 2012).
"Ultimately, Demons and Illness admirably performs the important task of reminding modern scholars of premodern health of the integral role played by these complex and shifting entities in the lives of people across the globe and through the centuries." - Rachel Podd, Fordham University, in: Social History of Medicine 32.3 (2019)
List of Contributors
Introduction, Siam Bhayro and Catherine Rider Antiquity
Shifting Alignments: The Dichotomy of Benevolent and Malevolent Demons in Mesopotamia, Gina Konstantopoulos The Natural and Supernatural Aspects of Fever in Mesopotamian Medical Texts, András Bácksay Illness as Divine Punishment: The Nature and Function of the Disease-Carrier Demons in the Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts, Rita Lucarelli Demons at Work in Ancient Mesopotamia, Lorenzo Verderame Late Antiquity
Demons and Illness in Second Temple Judaism: Theory and Practice, Ida Fröhlich Illness and Healing through Spell and Incantation in the Dead Sea Scrolls, David Hamidović Conceptualizing Demons in Late Antique Judaism, Gideon Bohak Oneiric Aggressive Magic: Sleep Disorders in Late Antique Jewish Tradition, Alessia Bellusci The Influence of Demons on the Human Mind According to Athenagoras and Tatian, Chiara Crosignani Demonic Anti-Music and Spiritual Disorder in the Life of Antony, Sophie Sawicka-Sykes Over-eating Demoniacs in Late Antique Hagiography, Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe Medieval
Miracles and Madness: Dispelling Demons in Twelfth-Century Hagiography, Anne E. Bailey Demons in Lapidaries? The Evidence of the Madrid MS Escorial, h. I. 15., Carolina Escobar-Vargas The Melancholy of the Necromancer in Arnau de Vilanova’s Epistle against Demonic Magic, Sebastià Giralt Demons, Illness and Spiritual Aids in Natural Magic and Image Magic, Lauri Ockenström Between Medicine and Magic: Spiritual Aetiology and Therapeutics in Medieval Islam, Liana Saif Demons, Saints, and the Mad in the Twelfth-Century Miracles of Thomas Becket, Claire Trenery Early Modernity
The Post-Reformation Challenge to Demonic Possession, Harman Bhogal From A Discoverie to The Triall of Witchcraft: Doctor Cotta and Godly John, Pierre Kapitaniak Healing with Demons? Preternatural Philosophy and Superstitious Cures in Spanish Inquisitorial Courts, Bradley J. Mollmann Afterword: Pandaemonium, Peregrine Horden Indices of subjects and texts
Academics and students interested in the history of medicine, religion, and magic in the ancient, medieval and early modern worlds. This includes scholars of history, theology and ancient languages.