Sources of Evil

Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore


Sources of Evil: Studies in Mesopotamian Exorcistic Lore is a collection of thirteen essays on the body of knowledge employed by ancient Near Eastern healing experts, most prominently the ‘exorcist’ and the ‘physician’, to help patients who were suffering from misfortunes caused by divine anger, transgressions of taboos, demons, witches, or other sources of evil. The volume provides new insights into the two most important catalogues of Mesopotamian therapeutic lore, the Exorcist’s Manual and the Aššur Medical Catalogue, and contains discussions of agents of evil and causes of illness, ways of repelling evil and treating patients, the interpretation of natural phenomena in the context of exorcistic lore, and a description of the symbolic cosmos with its divine and demonic inhabitants.

"This volume in the series on Ancient Divination and Magic published by Brill is a welcome addition to the growing literature on ancient magic ..."
-Ann Jeffers, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43.5 (2019)

"Since the focus of the conference from which the essays derive was narrow, most of the essays hang together well and even complement each other. Several offer state-of-the-art treatments of topics and texts that make the volume especially useful. Readers will find much in this volume that contributes to our understanding of Mesopotamian exorcists, magic, medicine, and conceptions of evil."
-Scott Noegel, University of Washington, Journal of the American Oriental Society 140.1 (2020)

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Greta Van Buylaere, Ph.D. (2009), University of Udine, is 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.
Mikko Luukko, Ph.D. (2004), University of Helsinki, is 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.
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 Abwehrzauber und Behexung (Harrassowitz, 2007).
Avigail Mertens-Wagschal is currently studying for her Ph.D. in Assyriology at the University of Würzburg. She completed her MA at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her field of study is aggressive magic in Mesopotamia.
Anyone interested in the history of ancient Mesopotamian magic and medicine.