Legitimising Magic

Strategies and Practices in Ancient Mesopotamia

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As magic is a powerful means to influence the natural world and human beings, and is deeply connected to the divine sphere, persons using it are in constant need to justify its use. The ambivalence of magic to serve both well-wishing and ill-wishing aims puts the practitioners ever at risk. This volume illuminates the strategies adopted to legitimise the practice of magic and analyses how these justifications are phrased and formulated in cuneiform texts, thereby revealing the underlying principles and unexplained axioms of using magic in the Ancient Near East.

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Nils. P. Heeßel, Ph.D. (1999), is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Philipps-Universität Marburg. He has published numerous monographs and articles on Mesopotamian Divination, Magic, and Medicine. His latest book is Divinatorische Texte III: Astrologische Omina (Harrassowitz, 2021).

Elyze Zomer, Ph.D. (2017), is a faculty member at the department of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. Her latest book authored jointly with Nathan Wasserman, is Akkadian Magic Literature: Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian Incantations (Harrassowitz, 2022).
The book is intended for readers interested in the history of religion of the ancient Near East, including graduate, post-graduate students, academic institutions and libraries.
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