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Series:

Tzvi Abusch and Daniel Schwemer

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centres upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient. The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia.

This is the first volume in the three-part Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-witchcraft Rituals series. Volumes two and three are expected in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

"Even in its incomplete form, Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals is a major contribution to the study of witchcraft, supernatural belief, folk medicine (both supernatural and non-supernatural), theories of magic, incantations, and ritual. This edition is required reading for any scholar with an interest in these topics."
David Elton Gay, Indiana University

The Magical Ceremony Maqlû

A Critical Edition

Series:

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

From Daffodils to Derrida

Later Popular Reception (1931–1972)

Series:

Steve Vinson

to do field research into Voodoo belief and practices in Louisiana, Haiti and Jamaica. 79 In her work in Haiti, Hurston had recorded folk-traditions that identified Moses with Damballah Ouedo, among the most important Voodoo loa (gods), for whom the snake was a particularly powerful symbol. 80

An Excellently Weird and Romantic Story

Earlier Popular Reception (1868–1932)

Series:

Steve Vinson

Twentieth Centuries had vastly more, and more varied, raw material to draw on than Western occultists of the past had ever known. They were particularly keen to integrate aspects of Eastern mystical traditions— e.g ., Sufism, yoga, reincarnation, karma—into their vocabulary, their beliefs and their

An Unfathomable Snare of the Evil One

Discovery and Early Scholarly Reception (1867–1937)

Series:

Steve Vinson

strongly doubt—was his belief that the episodes of Naneferkaptah’s search for the Book and of Setne’s encounter with Tabubue were originally separate, independent tales: in his discussion of Egypt’s narrative tradition, he distinguishes between tales like the “Story of Sinuhe” or the “Shipwrecked Sailor

Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo

Word Play, Ambiguity, and Humor; Comedy and Tragedy

Series:

Steve Vinson

—vindicate the promises that (we presume) were made to Setne, and that sent him off ( wṱ !) on his quest? One might reply—in light of the Egyptians’ fundamental belief in the identity of words and their referents—that the words in the Book themselves should be understood as integral aspects of the cosmic

Series:

Tzvi Abusch and Daniel Schwemer

Among the most important sources for understanding the cultures and systems of thought of ancient Mesopotamia is a large body of magical and medical texts written in the Sumerian and Akkadian languages. An especially significant branch of this literature centres upon witchcraft. Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft rituals and incantations attribute ill-health and misfortune to the magic machinations of witches and prescribe ceremonies, devices, and treatments for dispelling witchcraft, destroying the witch, and protecting and curing the patient. The Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals aims to present a reconstruction of this body of texts; it provides critical editions of the relevant rituals and prescriptions based on the study of the cuneiform tablets and fragments recovered from the libraries of ancient Mesopotamia.


"Now that we have the second volume, we the more admire the thoughtful organisation of the entire project, the strict methods followed, and the insightful observations and decisions made." Martin Stol, Bibliotheca Orientalis lxxIV n° 3-4, mei-augustus 2017

Series:

Laura Suzanne Lieber

tradition and custom, history and belief, and their observance included distinctive ritual and liturgical elements. Thus, while these were not synagogal occasions, they reflect a distinctly Jewish worldview and use recognizably Jewish language. At the same time, life-cycle rituals offer a window into how

Series:

Laura Suzanne Lieber

motifs of scourging (line 88) and of Jesus being fastened to the cross with nails (line 89). Of course, the purpose here is not to elicit sympathy for Jesus or for Christians and their beliefs, but rather to use anti-Christian polemic to augment the humor in this Purim poem. A similarly bitter humor