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HENDRIK JAN WILLEM DRIJVERS

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Peter Schäfer and Hans G. Kippenberg

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Jeffers

Beginning with Deut. 18:9ff and its condemnation of magicians and diviners, this book explores the window that this text gives us into magic and divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria. Investigating the wealth of language combined with the archaeological and historical evidence, it seeks to place the influence of these factors in the emerging Israelite religion. An integral part of Ancient Near Eastern cosmology and culture, magic and divination are never completely eradicated despite the ideological warfare led by the Old Testament writers.
The first part examines the function of various magicians and diviners. This is followed by a chapter on dreams and visions. The third chapter looks at the techniques and devices used by the oracular practitioners. Other subjects covered include magic in warfare, in the treatment of diseases, and blessing and cursing.

Jacob Neusner

The systematic and orderly presentation of the Halakhah, normative law, of Rabbinic Judaism in its formative age makes its principal statements in response to a program of social reconstruction; it speaks through the details of norms of law about the community, Israel. Rabbinic Halakhah lays out a social philosophy of an coherent and encompassing character.

Part 1: Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite

In the first part of the project, on Corporate Israel and the Individual Israelite we ask where and how the Halakhah sorts out the relationships of the individual and the community: the realm of responsible action and particular responsibility assigned by the Halakhah to each. Prophecy, from Moses forward, and the Halakhah from the Mishnah onward, concur that the condition of "all Israel" dictates the standing of each individual within Israel, and further concur that each Israelite bears responsibility for what he or she as a matter of deliberation and intention chooses to do. If individuals were conceived as automatons, always subordinated agencies of the community, or if the community were contemplated as merely the sum total of individual participants, a particular social teaching would hardly demand attention.
But Scripture, continued in the Mishnah, Tosefta, the two Talmuds, and Midrash, insists that Israelites are individual responsible for what they do, and further that corporate Israel on its own, not only as the sum of individual actions, forms a moral entity subject to judgment. So these are the governing questions: How to sort out these intersecting matters, then, the obligations of the community, the responsibilities of individuals? How does the social teaching of Rabbinic Judaism hold together doctrines of individual obligations to Heaven and mutual responsibilities, on the one side, with all Israel¹s commitments and public convictions, on the other?

Part 2: Between Israelites

Part 2 turns to relationships between Israelites, with particular attention to those that require resolving conflict. Once the law recognizes not only Israelites but the integrity of corporate Israel, how does it regulate relationships within the framework of that corporate community? By regulating relationships the sages will have understood, relationships of competition, contention, and conflict. Those of collaboration, consensus, and cooperation require no regulation on the part of constitutive law; they regulate themselves by their nature: people keep rules. Then at issue are where the corporate community intervenes to protect its interests in relationships between and among individual Israelites, and how it does so.
The exposition then follows the laws presentation of those relationships as integral to the larger system of Rabbinic Judaism and its plan for its Israel's public life, hence, once more, the focus on large constructions, category-formations that are integral to the main beams of the Halakhic system and structure.

Part 3: God's Presence in Israel

Part 3 raises the third and final question of the social order: God's role in society. For Rabbinic Judaism to be "Israel" means to live in God's kingdom, under God's rule, in a very particular way. That imperative addresses not individuals alone or mainly but, rather, corporate Israel, that is, the entire social order. It encompasses not merely feelings or attitudes but registers in the here of tangible transactions and in the now of workaday engagements, not only in some distant time. The generative question of this third and concluding part of the study of the social teaching of Rabbinic Judaism, is this: What, precisely, does God's active presence mean in the system of the social order put forth by the Halakhah?

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Edited by Christian Frevel and Christophe Nihan

Envisioning Magic

A Princeton Seminar and Symposium

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Edited by Peter Schäfer and Hans Kippenberg

This collection of twelve articles presents a selection of papers delivered in the course of a seminar 1994-95 and its concluding international symposium at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. The common theme is the interrelation between magic and religion, focussing particularly on the Mediterranean world in Antiquity - Egyptian, Graeco-Roman and Jewish beliefs and customs - but also treating the early modern period in Northern Europe (the Netherlands and Germany) as well as offering more general reflections on elements of magic in language and Jewish mysticism. The volume is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach and the use of varied methodologies, emphasizing the dynamic nature of the often contradictory forces shaping religious beliefs and practices, while dismissing the idea of a linear development from magic to religion or vice versa. The contributors are outstanding scholars in their fields: Ancient, Medieval and Modern History, Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, Classical Studies, Early Christianity, Islamic Studies, Anthropology, Egyptology and Comparative Literature. Without a doubt this re-evaluation of a fascinating age-old subject will stimulate scholarly discussion and appeal to educated non-specialist readers as well.

Secrecy and Concealment

Studies in the History of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions

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Edited by Hans Kippenberg and Guy Stroumsa

This volume deals with secrecy and concealment in the history of mediterranean religions as pattern of social interaction. Secrecy is a powerful means in establishing identity and interaction as G. Simmel has demonstrated. Using his approach the scholars of this volume describe and explain the practical meaning of concealment in two different religious systems: in Egyptian and Greek polytheism and in Jewish, Christian, Gnostic and Shi'i monotheisms. This point of view reveals that all these religions shaped social norms concerning public and private aspects of the human self.