Author: Tzvi Abusch
The Akkadian series Maqlû, 'Burning', remains the most important magical text against witchcraft from Mesopotamia and perhaps from the entire ancient Near East. Maqlû is a nine-tablet work consisting of the text of almost 100 incantations and accompanying rituals directed against witches and witchcraft. The work prescribes a single complex ceremony and stands at the end of a complex literary and ceremonial development. Thus, Maqlû provides important information not only about the literary forms and cultural ideas of individual incantations, but also about larger ritual structures and thematic relations of complex ceremonies. This new edition of the standard text contains a synoptic edition of all manuscripts, a composite text in transliteration, an annotated transcription and translation.

"These were only minor remarks scribbled in the margins of an excellent and most welcome edition of Maqlû, a real monument. This book is the firm foundation on which future studies on Maqlû will be based." Marten Stol, NINO Leiden, Bibliotheca Orientalis lxxIII n° 5-6, September-December 2016
Author: Tzvi Abusch
Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures, religions, and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is the large corpus of magical and medical texts directed against witchcraft. The most important of these texts is the Akkadian series Maqlû (“Burning”).

This volume offers a collection of studies on Mesopotamian witchcraft and Maqlû written subsequent to the appearance of the author’s 2002 collection of studies on witchcraft (Brill, 2002). Many of the studies reprinted here take a diachronic approach to individual incantations and rituals and attempt to solve textual difficulties using literary-critical and/or text-critical approaches.
Towards a History and Understanding of Babylonian Witchcraft Beliefs and Literature
Author: Tzvi Abusch
This volume is about the history, literature, ritual, and thought associated with ancient Mesopotamian witchcraft.
With chapters on the changing forms and roles of witchcraft beliefs, the ritual function, form, and development of the Maqlû text (the most important ancient work on the subject), and the meaning of the Maqlû ceremony, as well as the ideology of the final version of the text. The volume significantly contributes to our understanding of the Maqlû text, and the reconstruction of the development of thought about witchcraft and magic in Mesopotamia.
Author: Tzvi Abusch


The book of Jonah concludes with a puzzling rhetorical question by God, connecting plants, animals, and the people of Nineveh (4:10–11). This essay attempts to explain the logic of this rhetoric and to lay out its precise force, thereby clarifying the literary message of the book.

In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
In: Lingering over Words: Studies in Ancient Near Eastern Literature in Honor of William L. Moran
In: Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience
In: Sources of Evil
In: The Divine Courtroom in Comparative Perspective
In: Disease in Babylonia
In: "The Scaffolding of Our Thoughts"