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Aramaic Incantation Bowls in Museum Collections

Volume One: The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities, Jena

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James Nathan Ford and Matthew Morgenstern

The Frau Professor Hilprecht Collection of Babylonian Antiquities at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena houses one of the major European collections of incantation bowls. Forty bowls bear texts written in the Jewish, Manichaean Syriac or Mandaic scripts, and most of the rest (some twenty-five objects) in the Pahlavi script or in various pseudoscripts. The present volume comprises new editions of the Aramaic (and Hebrew) bowl texts based on high-resolution photographs taken by the authors, together with brief descriptions and photographs of the remaining material. New readings are often supported with close-up photographs. The volume is intended to serve as a basis for further study of magic in late Antiquity and of the Late Eastern Aramaic dialects in which the texts were composed.

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Nathaniel Berman

Nathaniel Berman’s Divine and Demonic in the Poetic Mythology of the Zohar: The “Other Side” of Kabbalah offers a new approach to the central work of Jewish mysticism, the Sefer Ha-Zohar (“Book of Radiance”). Berman explicates the literary techniques through which the Zohar constructs a mythology of intricately related divine and demonic personae. Drawing on classical and modern rhetorical paradigms, as well as psychoanalytical theories of the formation of subjectivity, Berman reinterprets the meaning of the Zohar’s divine and demonic personae, exploring their shared origins and their ongoing antagonisms and intimacies. Finally, he shows how the Zoharic portrayal of the demonic, the “Other Side,” contributes to reflecting on alterity of all kinds.

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Edited by Mirjam Zadoff and Noam Zadoff

The articles collected in Scholar and Kabbalist: The Life and Work of Gershom Scholem present diverse biographical aspects and the scholarly oeuvre of arguably the most influential Jewish-Israeli intellectual of the 20th century. Immigrating to Palestine in 1923, Gershom Scholem became one of the founders of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was the first to establish Jewish Mysticism as a scholarly discipline. The articles collected here reflect the diversity of Scholem’s intellectual scope including his contribution to Jewish Studies as a scholar of Kabbalah, religion and history, as a bibliophile, and an expert librarian of Judaica. Central aspects of Scholem’s impact on Jewish historiography, literature and art in Israel, Europe and the US, are presented to the reader for the first time.

Aramaic Magic Bowls in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin

Descriptive List and Edition of Selected Texts

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Siam Bhayro, James Nathan Ford, Dan Levene and Ortal-Paz Saar

The collection of Aramaic magic bowls and related objects in the Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin is one of the most important in the world. This book presents a description of each object and its contents, including details of users and other names, biblical quotations, parallel texts, and linguistic features. Combined with the detailed indices, the present volume makes the Berlin collection accessible for further research. Furthermore, sixteen texts, which are representative of the whole collection, are edited. This book results from an impressive collaboration between Siam Bhayro, James Nathan Ford, Dan Levene, and Ortal-Paz Saar, with further contributions by Matthew Morgenstern, Marco Moriggi, and Naama Vilozny, and will be of interest for all those engaged in the study of these fascinating objects.

"The presentation, transcriptions, translations, and commentaries are excellent examples of the finest scholarship from some of the leading scholars in the study of ancient Aramaic and its dialects.... The manuscript and the bowls it introduces should be eagerly received and examined by graduate students and scholars of the Hebrew Bible, esoteric traditions of later antiquity (like the seals of Solomon, demonology, etc.), and the historical development of Aramaic." - Peter T. Lanfer, Occidental College, in: Review of Biblical Literature 8 (2019)

Jewish Love Magic

From Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages

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Ortal-Paz Saar

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.

“Due to the general neglect of the topic in previous scholarship, the richness of the research corpus and the scientific precision of the author, Saar’s Jewish Love Magic is an important volume that should be on the shelf of every scholar focusing on ancient Jewish magic, but also on Jewish culture and cultural history in general. Furthermore, the book is an enjoyable read also for a non-specialist audience thanks to its clarity and fluency.” - Alessia Belusci, Yale University, in: Journal of Semitic Studies 64.2 (2019)

The Beginning of the World in Renaissance Jewish Thought

Ma’aseh Bereshit in Italian Jewish Philosophy and Kabbalah, 1492-1535

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Brian Ogren

In The Beginning of the World in Renaissance Jewish Thought, Brian Ogren offers a deep analysis of late fifteenth century Italian Jewish thought concerning the creation of the world and the beginning of time. Ogren’s book is the very first to seriously juxtapose the thought of the great Jewish thinker Yohanan Alemanno, Alemanno’s famed Christian interlocutor, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, the important Iberian exegete active in Italy, Isaac Abravanel, and Abravanel’s renowned philosopher son Judah, known as Leone Ebreo. By bringing these thinkers together, this book presents a new understanding of early modern uses of Jewish texts and hermeneutics. Ogren successfully demonstrates that the syntheses of philosophy and Kabbalah carried out by these four intellectuals in their quests to understand the beginning itself marked a new beginning in
Western thought, characterized by simultaneous continuity and rupture.

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Adam Afterman

In “And They Shall Be One Flesh”: On the Language of Mystical Union in Judaism, Adam Afterman offers an extensive study of mystical union and embodiment in Judaism. Afterman argues that Philo was the first to articulate the notion of unio mystica in Judaism and is the source of the henōsis mysticism in the later Neoplatonic tradition. The study provides a detailed analysis of the Jewish medieval trends that developed different forms of mystical union and mystical embodiment through the divine name and spirit. The book argues that the development of unitive mysticism in Judaism is the fruit of the creative synthesis of rabbinic Judaism and Hellenistic and Arab philosophy, and a natural outcome of the theological articulation of the idea of monotheism itself.

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Jonatan Meir

This book endeavors to fill a lacuna in the literature on early twentieth-century kabbalah, namely the lack of a comprehensive account of the traditional kabbalah seminaries (Yeshivot) in Jerusalem from 1896 to 1948 as well as the various manifestations of kabbalah within traditional Jewish society. The foundations that were laid in the early twentieth century also paved the way for the contemporary blossoming of kabbalah in many and manifold circles. In this sense, retracing the pertinent developments in Palestine at the outset of the twentieth century is imperative not only for repairing the distorted picture of the past, but for understanding the ongoing surge in kabbalah study.

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Miquel Beltran

In this book the author seeks to find historiographical and textual evidence that Abraham Cohen de Herrera ‘s main kabbalistic work, Puerta del Cielo, influenced Spinoza’s metaphysics as it is expounded in his later work, the Ethica. Many of the most important ontological topics maintained by the philosopher, like the concept of the first cause as substance, the procession of the infinite modes, the subjective or metaphorical reality of the attributes, and the two different understandings of God, were anticipated in Herrera’s mystical treatise. Both shared a particular consideration of panentheism that entails acosmism. This influence is proven through a comparative examination of the writings of both authors, as well as a detailed research on previous Jewish philosophical thought.

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Andrei Orlov

The study explores the eschatological reinterpretation of the Yom Kippur ritual found in the Apocalypse of Abraham where the protagonist of the story, the patriarch Abraham, takes on the role of a celestial goat for YHWH, while the text’s antagonist, the fallen angel Azazel, is envisioned as the demonic scapegoat. The study treats the application of the two goats typology to human and otherworldly figures in its full historical and interpretive complexity through a broad variety of Jewish and Christian sources, from the patriarchical narratives of the Hebrew Bible to early Christian materials in which Yom Kippur traditions were applied to Jesus’ story.

Jerónimo Nadal (1507-1580) und der „verschriftlichte“ Ignatius

Die Konstruktion einer individuellen und kollektiven Identität

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Ignacio Ramos Riera

Deutsch
Niemand ist mehr verantwortlich für die Entstehung jenes Denksystems, das auf Ignatius von Loyola (1491-1556) und seinen Exerzitien basiert, als Jerónimo Nadal. Ignacio Ramos legt in seiner Studie Jerónimo Nadal (1507-1580) und der „verschriftlichte“ Ignatius: Die Konstruktion einer individuellen und kollektiven Identität die ursprünglichen Konturen der sogenannten „ignatianischen“ Spiritualität dar. Es wird deutlich, wieviel Einfluss Nadal auf die Herausbildung des „Ignatianischen“ hatte.

Anhand Nadals lange verkannten Selbstzeugnisses (Chronicon Natalis) wird hermeneutisch herausgearbeitet, wie der gequälte Reifeprozess von Nadal originales Denken erzeugte – insbesondere in Bezug auf Ignatius.

An diese europäische Schlüsselgestalt des jungen Jesuitenordens heranzutreten, gewährt einen existentiell vermittelten Einblick in manche der gesellschaftlichen und philosophischen Spannungen (converso-Frage, Rolle der Vermittlungen...) z. Zt. des Humanismus und der großen Reformen.

English
Jerónimo Nadal plays a key role in the creation of the tradition of thought based on the person of Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) and his Spiritual Exercises. Ignacio Ramos’ book Jerónimo Nadal (1507-1580) und der „verschriftlichte“ Ignatius unveils the large percentage of too often overlooked “Nadalian” moments in the origins of “Ignatian” Spirituality.

Leaning on Nadal’s autobiographical account ( Chronicon Natalis, fully translated) the author deploys a hermeneutical method to show how Nadal´s stressful maturation process became a source of original thought, especially regarding Ignatius.

The reader will gain an existentially mediated insight into some of the social and philosophical hot spots (converso question, role of mediations...) of Humanism and the reformation era.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Arthur Green is Rector of the post-denominational Rabbinical School and Irving Brudnick Professor of Jewish Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts. Originally ordained as a Conservative rabbi, Green considers himself a neo-Hasidic Jew, identifying with none of the established Jewish denominations. He combines historical knowledge of the Jewish mystical tradition with an original constructive theology. Recognized as both a rabbi and a scholar, Green has sought to make spiritual pursuit an essential part of committed Jewish life. Through scholarship, educational work, and popular teaching, he has contributed to the growth and vitality of Judaism in America and helped promote neo-Hasidism as Jewish spirituality for the 21st century.

The Value of the Particular: Lessons from Judaism and the Modern Jewish Experience

Festschrift for Steven T. Katz on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday

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Edited by Michael Zank and Ingrid Anderson

In this tribute to Steven T. Katz on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Michael Zank and Ingrid Anderson present sixteen original essays written by senior and junior scholars in comparative religion, philosophy of religion, modern Judaism, and theology after the Holocaust, fields of inquiry where Steven Katz made major contributions over the course of his distinguished scholarly career.

The authors of this volume, specialists in Jewish history, especially the modern experience, and Jewish thought from the Bible to Buber, offer theoretical and practical observations on the value of the particular. Contributions range from Tim Knepper’s reevaluation of the ineffability discourse to the particulars of the Settlement Cookbook, examined by Nora Rubel as an American classic.

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Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes

Elliot R. Wolfson is Professor of Religious Studies and the Marsha and Jay Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A scholar of Jewish mysticism and philosophy, he uses the textual sources of Judaism to examine universal philosophical topics such as the function and processes of the imagination, the paradoxes of temporality, and the mystery of poetic language. Working at the intersection of disciplines and refusing to reduce texts to their simple historical contexts, Wolfson puts texts spanning diverse temporal, cultural, and religious periods in creative counterpoint. His sensitivity to language reveals its fragility as it simultaneously points to the uncertainty of meaning. The result is a creative reading of both Judaism and philosophy that informs and is informed by poetic sensibility and philosophical hermeneutics.

Time and Eternity in Jewish Mysticism

That Which is Before and That Which is After

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Edited by Brian Ogren

Time and eternity are concepts that have occupied an important place within Jewish mystical thought. This present volume gives pride of place to these concepts, and is one of the first works to bring together diverse voices on the subject. It offers a multivalent picture of the topic of time and eternity, not only by including contributions from an array of academics who are leaders in their fields, but by proposing six diverse approaches to time and eternity in Jewish mysticism: the theoretical approach to temporality, philosophical definitions, the idea of time and pre-existence, the idea of historical time, the idea of experiential time, and finally, the idea of eternity beyond time. This multivocal treatment of Jewish mysticism and time as based on variant academic approaches is novel, and it should lay the groundwork for further discussion and exploration.

Practicing Gnosis

Ritual, Magic, Theurgy and Liturgy in Nag Hammadi, Manichaean and Other Ancient Literature. Essays in Honor of Birger A. Pearson

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Edited by April DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner

Ritual, magic, liturgy, and theurgy were central features of Gnosticism, and yet Gnostic practices remain understudied. This anthology is meant to fill in this gap and address more fully what the ancient Gnostics were doing. While previously we have studied the Gnostics as intellectuals in pursuit of metaphysical knowledge, the essays in this book attempt to understand the Gnostics as ecstatics striving after religious experience, as prophets seeking revelation, as mystics questing after the ultimate God, as healers attempting to care for the sick and diseased. These essays demonstrate that the Gnostics were not necessarily trendy intellectuals seeking epistomological certainities. They were after religious experiences that relied on practices. The book is organized comparatively in a history-of-religions approach with sections devoted to Initiatory, Recurrent, Therapeutic, Ecstatic, and Philosophic Practices. This book celebrates the brilliant career of Birger A. Pearson.

Aramaic Bowl Spells

Jewish Babylonian Aramaic Bowls Volume One

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Shaul Shaked, James Nathan Ford and Siam Bhayro

The corpus of Aramaic incantation bowls from Sasanian Mesopotamia is perhaps the most important source we have for studying the everyday beliefs and practices of the Jewish, Christian, Mandaean, Manichaean, Zoroastrian and Pagan communities on the eve of the Islamic conquests. The bowls are from the Schøyen Collection, which has some 650 texts in different varieties of Aramaic: Jewish Aramaic, Mandaic and Syriac, and forms the largest collection of its kind anywhere in the world. This volume presents editions of sixty-four Jewish Aramaic incantation bowls, with accompanying introductions, translations, philological notes, photographs and indices. The themes covered include the magical divorce and the accounts of the wonder-working sages Ḥanina ben Dosa and Joshua bar Peraḥia. It is the first of a multi-volume project that aims to publish the entire Schøyen Collection of Aramaic incantation bowls.

Hekhalot Literature in Translation

Major Texts of Merkavah Mysticism

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James Davila

The Hekhalot literature is a motley collection of textually fluid and often textually corrupt documents in Hebrew and Aramaic which deal with mystical themes pertaining especially to God's throne-chariot (the Merkavah). They were composed between late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, with roots in earlier traditions and a long and complex subsequent history of transmission.

This volume presents English translations of eclectic critical texts, with a full apparatus of variants, of most of the major Hekhalot documents: Hekhalot Rabbati; Sar Torah; Hekhalot Zutarti; Ma'aseh Merkavah; Merkavah Rabba; briefer macroforms: The Chapter of R. Nehuniah ben HaQanah, The Great Seal-Fearsome Crown, Sar Panim, The Ascent of Elijah ben Avuyah, and The Youth; and the Hekhalot fragments from the Cairo Geniza.

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April D. DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner

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April D. DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner

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April D. DeConick, Gregory Shaw and John D. Turner

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Jonathan Dauber

In Knowledge of God and the Development of Early Kabbalah, Jonathan Dauber offers a fresh consideration of the emergence and early development of Kabbalah against the backdrop of a re-evaluation of the relationship between early Kabbalistic and philosophic discourse. He argues that the first Kabbalists adopted a philosophic ethos that was foreign to traditional Rabbinic Judaism but had taken root in Languedoc and Catalonia under the influence of newly available philosophical materials. In this ethos, the act of investigating God was accorded great religious significance, and it was its adoption by the first Kabbalists that helped spur them to engage in their investigations of God and, in so doing, develop Kabbalah.

New Perspectives on 2 Enoch

No Longer Slavonic Only

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Edited by Andrei Orlov and Gabriele Boccaccini

New Perspectives on 2 Enoch: No Longer Slavonic Only presents a collection of papers from the fifth conference of the Enoch Seminar. The conference re-examines 2 Enoch, an early Jewish apocalyptic text previously known to scholars only in its Slavonic translation, in light of recently identified Coptic fragments. This approach helps to advance the understanding of many key issues of this enigmatic and less explored Enochic text. One of the important methodological lessons of the current volume lies in the recognition that the Adamic and Melchizedek traditions, the mediatorial currents which play an important role in the apocalypse, are central for understanding the symbolic universe of the text. The volume also contains the recently identified Coptic fragments of 2 Enoch, introduced to scholars for the first time during the conference.