This article examines a Syriac erotic binding spell, ‘Binding of a Husband’. We provide a text-critical edition of this spell based on three manuscripts and reconsider previous editions and translations. We also try to establish the aim of the text and its place in the Syriac magical tradition. For this purpose, the evidence from modern Syriac magic manuscripts as well as from other pieces of Syriac literature is addressed. In addition, we discuss possible parallels for ‘Binding of a Husband’ beyond Syriac literature.
In this paper we consider 6 Syriac love charms and edit their original text and translation. All but two texts are published here for the first time. This is the first part of our inquiry, in which we consider one of the two types of Syriac love charms, the recipe-type. Among its primary characteristics is its extreme rarity in Syriac magic codices. Another prominent trait of this type, which makes these texts especially valuable, is that some of them contain ritual instructions which are exceedingly rare for Syriac charms as a whole, while others may contain what we call an allusion to it. Our assumption is that texts of this type reflect ancient magic practices originating in pre-Christian time, which are credibly attested in the texts belonging to other magic traditions of the Near East and Egypt.
The first part of our inquiry on Syriac love charms was devoted to the recipe-type charms. This article edits four more Syriac love charms, which we attribute to the so-called prayer-type. The special features of this type of Syriac love charms are addressed and compared with that of the recipe-type texts, edited in Part I. The commentary to each text provides philological notes and parallels, both from within and outside of Syriac magical tradition.
This article considers a text-unit known in five Syriac codices and consisting of up to three magical recipes. The target of all these recipes is a mill: two of them are curses (ˀassārā ‘binding spell’) and intend to stop the mill, while the third one is a counter-spell (šeryānā ‘loosening spell’), which aims to annul the curse. One of the two binding spells includes a rare example of an Arabic incantation written in Garshuni. The main purpose of this article is to make these texts available via critical editions. In addition, light is shed on the broader context of magical practices, by drawing attention to Syriac recipes for an oven and their Jewish parallels, and by presenting two Jewish parallels of spells related to a mill: a Judaeo-Arabic text from the Cairo Genizah and a spell from a Byzantine manuscript. We offer a reconsideration of the interpretation of the Judaeo-Arabic text, as our reading differs from that of the Editio Priceps.