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 centers 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.
Tzvi Abusch, Ph.D. (1972), Harvard University, is Cohen Professor of Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Religion at Brandeis University. Some of his studies on Babylonian witchcraft are reprinted in
Mesopotamian Witchcraft (Brill, 2002); he is the author of the critical edition of the anti-witchcraft ceremony Maqlû (Brill, 2015).
Daniel Schwemer, Ph.D. (2000), Habilitation (2005), Würzburg University, is Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Würzburg University. He has published extensively on ancient Near Eastern religion and magic including
The Anti-Witchcraft Ritual Maqlû (Harrassowitz, 2017).
Mikko Luukko, Ph.D. (2004), University of Helsinki, was Research Associate on the “Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals” project at the University of Würzburg. He has published monographs and articles on Neo-Assyrian letters and Assyrian grammar.
Greta Van Buylaere, Ph.D. (2009), University of Udine, was Research Associate on the “Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals” project at the University of Würzburg. Her research includes studies on witchcraft, Neo-Assyrian letters, literacy, administration and geography.
All those interested in religion, witchcraft beliefs, magic, and medicine in antiquity, as well as students of the ancient Near East, Egypt, and the Bible.