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 Ritualsseries. 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
Tzvi Abusch, Ph.D. (1972), Harvard University, is Cohen Professor of Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Religion at Brandeis University. His primary fields of publication are Mesopotamian religion and literature. Some of his studies on Babylonian witchcraft are found in
Mesopotamian Witchcraft (Brill, 2002).
Daniel Schwemer, Ph.D. (2000),
Habilitation (2005), Würzburg University, is Reader in Ancient Near Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He has published extensively on ancient Near Eastern religion and magic including
Abwehrzauber und Behexung (Harrassowitz, 2007).
All those interested in the history of witchcraft beliefs, magic, and medicine in antiquity, as well as students of the ancient Near East, ancient Egypt and the Bible.