MAGIC

-Early Magic Broadly defined, magic is a system of non-canonical ritual practices aiming at changing reality. In early Jewish magic this system was based on the use of powerful verbal performative formulae – incantations – whose oral or written expression was realized in the framework of a ceremony. The purpose of the magical act was generally to compel metaphysical entities such as demons, angels, stars and celestial bodies, holy names, and even God Himself, to bring about for the user the reality he desired. Early Jewish magical literature is evidenced in magical writings and objects from the Land of Israel, Babylonia, and North Africa, dating from the third century until the 12th (prior to the development of the Kabbalah and the change it effected in Jewish magic in the direction of practical Kabbalah). This literature enables us to trace the verbal elements of the adjuration as a magical text, such as the employment of the verbal root, šbʿ, addressing the metaphysical forces in the first person singular, the utilization of expressions of urgency, and threats towards them, indicating the client mentioned in the magical object by his first name and the name of his mother, and more. On this basis we can establish that as more of these textual characteristics are found in any given Jewish text, its magical tendency increases. From here we can also define all the Jewish magical cultural products. Texts that include adjurations, such as books of guidance for sorcery, are magic texts in a broader sense, and those that express beliefs and customs commonly found in texts of both these categories are magic texts in the broadest sense; objects upon which adjuration texts are found such as sheets of paper, leather, cloth or metal, or clay bowls are magic objects (amulets, magic bowls), and in the wider circle are included objects that serve as a means of ritual power in the context of   the outlook expressed in the magical literature; ceremonies where adjuration texts are written or uttered, or where use is made of magical objects, are considered as ceremonies of magical character. This manner of definition of magic allows a flexible relationship between it and the other components of Jewish culture, and in particular the religion. Instead of an a priori culture-dependent dictionary distinction that strives to distinguish between what is magic and what is not viewed as such, one finds a dynamic system of phenomena characterized as possessing a greater or lesser magical essence, but not necessarily related to their place in the overall socio-cultural system of ritual power. Relinquishing the apposition of magic to religion in the phenomenological dimension allows us to divert the distinction between them to the social plane where the non-canonical position of magic finds expression. Texts, magical objects, and ceremonies generally do not have a routine place in the Jewish canonical system of practice for attaining ritual power. At the same time it is not impossible that portions of the latter, such as the biblical examination of the suspected adulteress, the recitation of the shema before going to sleep, and the mezuzah , be defined as possessing a magical character. In this manner the cultural products of early Judaism itself testify to the gap between the official and explicit perception (in the Bible and the Mishnah) that prohibits sorcery and considers it as a capital sin and its firm place in the day-to-day lives of the people. Recognition of the existence of this gap is naturally related to the recognition of the distance between the inner-cultural definition of magic as an illegitimate form of ritual activity by its very essence, andits external, academic definition, based on sociological notions of religion, that views it as the non-canonical, marginal, and in most cases prohibited part of the overall activity aimed at attaining ritual power (which also includes a legitimate-canonical side, i.e., religion), repressed by the ruling religious center of society as concerns its struggle over power and control. The sources documenting early Jewish magic may be divided into two kinds: primary sources, those originating in magical culture itself, and secondary sources, those found in texts that are not, in essence, magical. Primary sources from the biblical era are rare. Noteworthy among them are silver amulets from the end of the seventh century B.C.E., found in a burial network in the Hinnom valley in Jerusalem, and upon which the priestly blessing is inscribed. In the Bible itself, sorcery and divination are prohibited and those who dealt in them were persecuted. It would appear, however, that this prohibition, closely tied in the Bible to the religious-ethical uniqueness of the people of Israel and its distinctiveness from the surrounding nations, well testifies to the perpetuation of these ritual practices that priestly and prophetic circles aspired to marginalize in favor of those that they themselves offered and to which they attributed canonical status. Nevertheless, at least in one outstanding case, that of the ordeal for examination of the suspected adulteress (Num. 5:11–31), one suspects the acquisition of a magical practice (which underwent an intercultural, priestly, oicotypification) by the religious establishment. The result bears testimony to the belief in the performative power of curses among both that priestly establishment and the people as a whole. Metaphysical beings central to magical practice such as angels, Satan, and demons are indeed mentioned in the biblical literature, however in a way that is unconnected to the overall system of typical magical beliefs and practices in which they were to function later. First and foremost, they are not introduced as being under any kind of vigorous human manipulation. In the only case where Satan is mentioned as being expelled by words that may reflect an exorcistic formula, it is by God Himself, and from His presence (Zech. 3:2). Human power to manipulate concrete reality is admitted in the bible in both the hands of foreign sorcerers, such as the Egyptians, or Balaam, and God's prophets. In any case, it is always subservient to God's will and force. Even the marvels manifested time and again by God's prophets are not performed on account of their own power. Being men of the one and only omnipotent God, their miracles are viewed mainly as a didactic performance of what He Himself executes. The apocryphal literature in general, and particularly the writings of the Dead Sea sect, increased immeasurably the angelological and demonological deliberations and well reflect the metaphysical expansion of society within Judaism in this period. The figure of Satan (also called Belial or Mastema) has evolved into the head of an army of evil spirits and the lord of the demons. The origin of these demons, imageless and highly harmful spiritual beings, was perceived as the product of the impure hybrid coupling of rebellious angels with the daughters of Adam (a tradition alluded to in Genesis 6:1–4, and expanded in I Enoch and in the Book of Jubilees). At that time, it is told, sorcery was brought down to the world and given to women. Alongside it the Book of Remedies was delivered to Noah, according to God's command, for protection against the wicked demons that had attacked his children. The Qumran scrolls reveal to us a well-developed demonological perception. Qumranic Psalm fragments testify to apotropaic ritual practices against demons. The works of Josephus and the New Testament reflect a similar reality in the first century C.E. Demons were perceived as the cause of both corporal and mental disorders and their removal through rituals that featured magical objects, roots, and verbal formulae was a common method of healing. Comparing the depictions of exorcism and healing performed by Jesus according to the New Testament with the Greek magical papyri reveals his place as a Jewish magician within the intercultural tradition of Late Antiquity as well as his uniqueness within that tradition (both in terms of his actions of healing and exorcising, and in utilizing them as a means of his religious mission). According to the testimony of the Gospels, Jesus was accused by his Jewish opponents of using the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. In other words, he was accused of being a sorcerer, i.e., possessing considerable supernatural power, but that this power was derived from an impure source and was therefore illegitimate.   His followers naturally saw him as a holy man who was performing miracles through divine power. The apocryphal literature and the Dead Sea sect literature also demonstrate the considerable angelological expansion of social reality; only here human magical power visàvis the angels is not yet reflected. Their assistance to men is judged a gesture of good will, a divine mission, or preordained reality, but not the result of their compulsion to act in this way through human efforts. This notion appears in full force in the primary sources of early Jewish magic: amulets and incantation bowls that were geared primarily for protection, healing, and success and which document actual magical activity for the clients mentioned in them by name, and magical recipes collected in compositions and books of recipes. The magical recipe literature presents to us the notion that magic is a part of normal life. It is hard to imagine an area of life for which no magical assistance is offered in this literature. The amulets and magic bowls connect this theoretical literature to the actual day-to-day lives of the Jews of Late Antiquity. Ancient Jewish magical praxis was based on a system of beliefs that concerned the connection between physical and metaphysical reality and the manner by which language is capable of connecting between them for human profit. Social reality was expanded to include metaphysical beings that were divided into four categories: (a) God; celestial beings such as angels, stars and planets, divine names, etc.; (c) various demons and evil spirits (including personifications of harmful sorcery); (d) the dead. The correct use of an adjuration (mostly by a suitable person within a well-defined ceremony) was viewed as being able to subordinate any one of the above to obey the adjurer's will. Generally the adjurations were aimed at activating the celestial beings, principally angels or demons. The magical use of God or the dead is rarely documented. Magical compositions such as the Book of Mysteries (Sefer ha-Razim) or the Sword of Moses (Ḥarba de-Moshe) reveal to us a highly developed angelological perception. The names of the angels, their order and relative powers are placed at the disposal of whosoever wishes to manipulate them. Divine aid, in the form of a command that God sent to his angels, is what allows man to take power over them through the use of incantations and divine names and to manipulate them at will. Magical practice is therefore portrayed in these works as a part of the Jewish monotheistic belief and not as anomalous to it. Alongside this angelology a rich demonology is also revealed in the magical literature. Demons were perceived as responsible for every misfortune in human life and in particular when it affected the body. Protection from them and their removal from the moment they penetrated someone's life space was a central purpose of Jewish magical activity. However, the magical literature testifies to the use of magical means for dealing with many other matters. These include the relations between people such as marriage and sexual relations, success in litigation, control over one's fellow being, injuring someone, protection from injury, victory in battle, and so on. They appear to be further used in such daily cares as improving the products of labor and agricultural produce, fishing, trade, and even minor objectives such as kindling an oven in winter or the expulsion of crickets or mice from the house. Besides all this, another area of great importance was served by magic: knowledge. Angels, demons, and the dead functioned in the Jewish magic culture as agents of almost limitless knowledge that could be adjured to reveal to man whatever he desired toknow. Summoning angels for this purpose was associated on occasion with the practice of the dream request. Thus, while divination is not identical to magic, there is much evidence of Jewish magical divination practices based on utilizing adjurations as well as other magical means. As noted, the basis of early Jewish sorcery was in the use of adjurations. These verbal formulae, which were defined with precision and adapted individually for their specific objectives, were mostly uttered or written in a ceremonial framework. The ritual state of all the participants in the ceremony was also well defined and almost always entailed the purity (in halakhic terms) of the performer. The conditions of the performance of the ceremony and its verbal, material, and behavioral components varied with each case. On more than one occasion they were borrowed from Hellenistic magic. Professional terms loaned from the Hellenistic magical jargon testify, too, to the intercultural relationship in this field, the other expression of which was the penetration by indubitably Jewish elements into Hellenistic magical practice. It is not easy to chart with precision the elements of the magic ceremony. However, beyond the variety of means one central mechanism, which constitutes a system, stands out: the sympathetic mechanism. In early Jewish magic it is usual to find attempts to bring about a reality by means of juxtaposing it to another based on the principle: "Just as A, so B." The depiction of one reality (A) may be done simply and freely, or it may be through similitude (for example, "Just as the sky is suppressed before God and the Earth is suppressed before people… so may the inhabitants of this town be suppressed and broken and fallen before Yose son of Zenobia"). Often, serving this purpose are biblical verses whose meaning, or words appearing in them, are relevant for the desired effect (for example, "Noah found favor with the Lord" (Gen. 6:8) is quoted for attaining "grace and favor"; "I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians" (Ex. 15:26) is quoted for healing). The choice of magic materials necessary for the sorcery may also reflect this aim (for example, a round bowl would serve for protection from all sides, a heart of a young lion for attaining courage). Often, the ceremony includes the preparation of a magical object, that is, an object which has adjuration texts on it. This will serve the client over a length of time. Amulets were worn on the body or were buried in the house or even in the synagogue. Incantation bowls were buried in the corners of rooms or below the threshold, dwelling places of demons against whom the bowls were intended. Occasionally the verbal adjuration was sunken into a piece of food or a liquid that the client would have to swallow or to rub over his body. In this way the magical quality   of the words passed into the client's body and strengthened him from within. The secondary magical sources, the rabbinic literature, and early Jewish mystical works demonstrate that the magic outlook was not confined to the more boorish classes of society. The early Jewish mystical literature testifies to the central place of performative ritual power in two areas: (a) as a means to overcome the hostile angels in the course of a mystical journey to God's Throne of Honor; as a social advantage in the possession of the mystic in this world following his return from his heavenly journey. The magical matter is so pronounced in the early Jewish mystical literature that some of the scholars judge this aspect (and not the experiences of the ascent to the higher realm and the sight of God) as the kernel unifying all the writings that constitute this literature. Rabbinic literature, too, indicates the place of the magical and demonological outlook, and the accompanying practices, in the social-religious elite. Three approaches are reflected in it alongside each other (as is typical of this polyphonic literature), and all are founded on the very recognition of the efficacy of sorcery: (a) an official halakhic position that associates sorcery with the "Ways of the Amorite," meaning the gentile customs prohibited for Jews on account of the Jews' distinctiveness from them, prohibits it in every way, and punishes those who dabble in it by stoning (while distinguishing the real acts of magic from acts of deception that are not judged as the sin of sorcery); a pragmatic approach that permits the use of those magic objects and verbal means (that are not, of course, denoted as such) whose benefit has been proven (primarily for medicinal purposes), permits the study of sorcery (as opposed to its operation), and even requires of those taking a seat in the Sanhedrin to be "masters of sorcery"; (c) a narrative approach that uses, in the manner of the talmudic homiletic story, magical motifs for didactic purposes. Here a dual tendency is noticeable whereby on the one hand the ritual-magical powers of the sages themselves (which naturally are not identified with sorcery but rather with holiness based on a life of Torah and observance of the divine commandments) are extolled, while on the other hand accusations are leveled at the "other," primarily women and heretics, for acts of sorcery. This labeling is intended to mark out these "others" as dangerous people who act with illegitimate power, and to marginalize them, placing them far from the desirable-legitimate focus of power, that of the sages themselves, who are both the narrators and the heroes of the narratives. The climax of this dual tendency is found in the stories that describe struggles between sages and sorcerers or sorceresses, which, as is to be expected, end in the sages' victory, and in this way exemplify their worthy socio-religious model. It would appear therefore that the contradiction between the halakhic and narrative approaches toward magic is not to be resolved through distinguishing between the "rabbis' genuine viewpoint," which was negative and deprecatory by virtue of their religious beliefs and the laws deriving from them, on the one hand, and their "lip service" to the beliefs of the ignorant masses (which originated in the penetration of foreign influences), through lack of choice, and for didactic purposes, on the other hand, as was done in the past, but by recognizing the aspirations of the rabbis for a social monopoly over ritual power. The rabbinic demonological stories are to be understood in a similar way. They, too, should be seen as a narrative shaping of motifs that rest upon popular beliefs in both their own circles as well as amongst the masses, with a didactic objective. More than the stories are concerned with demonic reality in itself, they are about the relations between this reality and that of the sages, and more specifically the relative superiority of the sages and their disciples over all that affects the ways of the demons. This includes protection from them and control over them by the power of their holiness, their legal authority, and ritual-magical means. Thus, the demonological stories join the magical and mystical ones in revealing a ramified system of beliefs and ritual practices relating to angels, demons, and sorcery in the Jewish culture of Late Antiquity. Primary magical evidence completes the picture by tying the literary testimony to day-to-day experience and exposing the actual praxis of ancient Jewish magic. (Yuval Harari (2nd ed.) -In Medieval Hebrew Literature TERMINOLOGY The terms "magic" (kishuf), "magician" (mekha shef), and "witch" (mekhashefah) are relatively rare in medieval Hebrew literature, especially when compared with the frequency with which magic practices are mentioned. The underlying reason is undoubtedly the explicit biblical prohibition against the practice of magic (repeatedly dwelt upon in medieval Hebrew literature) and the Bible's abhorrence of magicians and soothsayers. There is, therefore, no favorable allusion to magic practices in medieval literature, and they are rarely dealt with in a purely informative manner, although the numerous texts of the Genizah dealing with this topic allow us to understand in how many ways magic was present in Jewish life during the Middle Ages. Such terms as kishuf, mekhashef, and mekhashefah were descriptive of the wicked, sinners, and non-Jews. Magic was discussed in medieval Hebrew literature, but surreptitiously, under the guise of different names, such as segullot ("remedies" or "charms"), kame'ot ("amulets"), refu'ot ("cures"), goralot ("destinies" or "fortunes"), simanim ("signs" or "omens"), and refafot ("bodily itches as a portent"). The medieval writer thus was able to circumvent the term "magic" and eschew a direct confrontation with the biblical prohibition. In fact, the practice of magic was very popular and widespread among medieval Jews, and the number of texts including magical elements is very striking. SOURCES AND DISSEMINATION Literature on magic is universal in its character, its methods, and its structure. Each society, each language, and every period contributed toward magic literature, enriching it or modifying it in the light of the particular characteristics of the society, the culture, and the times. The main themes and methods in magic were, however, transmitted from country to country, from language to language   throughout the ages without any basic changes being wrought. In the Middle Ages, Jewish magic literature differs very little from the magic literature of other nations. Magical practices were very widespread during the Middle Ages not only in Jewish communities but also among Muslims and Christians. Textbooks of magic circulated in the three cultures, although theoretical considerations were less frequent. Hebrew works on magic quote extensively from non-Jewish magic literature, citing especially sources that medieval scholarship attributed to ancient Greek authors. The basic terminology and methods found in Hebrew works are similar to those dominant in non-Jewish works. In some Hebrew works a term may be used which was originally Hebrew but is applied in such a way as to show that it was copied from a non-Hebrew work; its Hebrew origin had apparently been unknown to the Hebrew writer, for example, the term Elo'i Sabaot derived from the Hebrew Elohei Zeva'ot. Angelology and magic formulas in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin of the Hellenistic period were basic to the development of medieval magic literature. Since this period led to the fusion of Hebrew and non-Hebrew formulas, the process continued throughout the Middle Ages when terms and formulas from Arabic, German, French, Slavic, and other languages were added to medieval Hebrew magic literature. To date there is no serious study on the sources on which medieval Hebrew magic works drew. The various influences have neither been defined nor classified and no clear distinction can therefore be made between the following sources: the Assyrian and Babylonian (which apparently also influenced the Talmud), the Hellenistic (Jewish-Hellenistic and Greek), the ancient Egyptian and their later adaptations during the syncretistic periods of the Roman Empire, the original Arabic and their fusion with the Persian and Indian, and the European which were intermingled with Arabic and other sources. Principally, however, there is as yet no way to distinguish in every case between traditional Hebrew magic, derived from the biblical and talmudic periods, and the magic elements which reached Jewish writers from foreign sources. An example is a Greek and Arabic traditional connection between Saturn and magic; in Jewish medieval thought both magic and Saturn, who is in charge of the Jewish people, are also connected with the Sabbath day (Idel). We know today that Jewish magic in the Middle Ages was strongly influenced by two Arabic treatises, al-Kindi's De radiis and al-Majariti's Picatrix, which were translated into Latin and Hebrew, but their actual degree of influence has not been sufficiently studied. Until such studies are made, only impressions and generalizations can serve as basis for any assumption as to the nature of medieval Hebrew magic works. Though there are no detailed studies on hand, there is no doubt that Jewish medieval magic drew on all the abovementioned sources. Some medieval Hebrew works correspond very closely to non-Jewish magic writings. Others, for example a number of 18th-century collections of Hebrew magic formulas, differ little from magic formulas which survived from the geonic period. Collections which originated in North Africa are very similar to works on magic by Jews in Germany. There is thus no essential difference in the basic magic formulas and the attitude toward magic between the various nations, countries, and periods. The same fusion of ancient and medieval sources is to be found in each of these works, all of which contain Arab, European, and authentic Jewish elements. THE CHARACTER OF HEBREW MAGIC LITERATURE The character of Hebrew magic literature was influenced not only by the biblical prohibition on witchcraft but by the nature of this literature. Works on magic neither use nor are identified by terms denoting magic, but were written under the guise of concepts which neither reveal their special character nor their contents. There are hundreds of collections on magic, in print and in manuscripts, appearing under such names as simanim, refafot, refu'ot, goralot, and segullot. These works are usually not devoted only to one branch of magic or popular superstition, but to a variety of practices such as dream interpretation, popular medicine, and amulets. Unfortunately, the complete typology of magic literature has not yet been seriously studied. Many of these works are anonymous; in others the name of the editor or compiler appears in the introduction. (The term "author" is not applicable to such works, which are nothing but collections drawn from various sources.) Rarely is there anything known of them from other sources; most of them were obscure writers who did not engage in scholarly activities. This may be the underlying reason for the low level of the language and literary merit of most of these works. Some of the writings on magic are attributed to ancient sages and scholars; thus, for example, works which are partly devoted to the interpretation of dreams are often ascribed to the biblical figures Daniel or Joseph; works on goralot ("destinies" or "fortunes") are attributed to the wise ahithophel the Gilonite, etc. Babylonian geonim and early scholars, from Saadiah b. Joseph Gaon to Nahmanides, have had works on magic ascribed to them. Though widely disseminated, works on magic were mostly not written within the framework of medieval and early modern scholarly Hebrew literature. In any case, the corpus of Jewish magic, including complete books and fragments, is very large. Some of the better known works that discuss magic are Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed and Mishneh Torah, including sorcery and magic among the forbidden practices; the commentaries on the Pentateuch by Nahmanides (13th century); the responsa of solomon ben adret and the sermons of nissim gerondi in the 14th century; Nishmat Hayyim by manasseh ben israel , in which the author devotes a long chapter to the description of magical practices; Derekh ha-Shem by Moses hayyim luzzatto , has a section on magic; and Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah, an important historical work in which the author, gedaliah b. joseph ibn yahya , a Renaissance scholar, also discusses magic. The literature of the hasidei ashkenaz , probably more than any other medieval corpus of Hebrew scholarly writings, is a source on medieval magic (12th and 13 centuries), especially Sefer Hasidim and the esoteric works of judah b. samuel ha-hasid of Regensburg and of his disciples, of which Hokhmat ha-Nefesh, a work on psychology by eleazar b. judah of worms , is a prime example. The concern of the Ashkenazi Hasidim with magic practices and phenomena has its roots in some of their theological ideas. MAGIC AND MEDIEVAL DISCIPLINES Medieval man, as reflected in the literature on magic, did not clearly differentiate between magic and other branches of knowledge, especially between medicine, astrology, and magic. There were very different kinds of magic, some of them of a high cultural level, and other more popular types. Cultural magic was considered a branch of medieval science, at the same level as medicine or astrology. Many times, this magic was a kind of alternative medicine. Most of the collections dealing mainly with magic do not distinguish between the treatment of an ailment according to the accepted norms of popular medicine, such as the application of heat, herbs, and certain foods, and magic means, calling for the help of angels and demons to heal the patient. This failure of distinction was not only due to the lack of a scientific framework but to the desire to lend authority and legitimacy to magic formulas when combined with medical practice. These works also do not clearly distinguish between astrology and magic. Works on goralot ("destinies" or "fortunes") include astrological calculations which portend the fate of a man according to the constellations at his birth, and determine his character traits and religious, economic, and social status. The same works also contain magic instructions on how to use the auguries of the constellations for other purposes and how to change a man's fate through incantations and amulets, etc. Most of the magic in the extant collections is devoted to simanim which derives from the fact that the Talmud, contrary to its injunction against the practice of magic, allows the practice of "signs." This literature describes various events, feelings, or even the itching of various parts of the human body (refafot), which are indicative of an oncoming event. Incantations are often chanted and charms used in an attempt either to nullify an ominous portent or to enhance a benign prophecy. To this category also belongs the literature of "dream interpretation" which describes in detail various occurrences within dreams thought to reveal the future to the dreamer. Sometimes advice is tendered in the use of magical means to prevent the bad dreams from being realized. Compilations of popular medical literature, such as The Book of Women's Love (perhaps 13th century), contained many magic (mainly love magic) elements and formulas; most of these practices, reflected in the written materials or transmitted in oral form, were current during the Middle Ages. Their main goal was to manipulate sexuality, intervening in human relationships. Some of these formulas are taken from the tradition of the "practical Kabbalah." The segullah is basic to all magic formulas and is the main magic means used by the person himself. Knowledge of many charms is the professional distinction of the expert magician. The central element in the segullah is a name or a series of names which is considered holy. The common appellation of a magician in Eastern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries as Ba'al Shem or Ba'al Shem Tov ("owner of the Holy Name" or "owner of the Holy Good Name") is rooted in this practice. The name used is most frequently that of an angel, or, sometimes, one of the many names of God. Sometimes even the name of a demon is resorted to which would seem tomake this form of magic "black magic." The demon invoked in such charms is, however, thought to be a "bad angel" (malakh habbalah) who should be addressed when the magician intends to harm someone, kill an enemy, cause damage, find the whereabouts of a thief and make him return his loot, etc. Some of the names in the segullah are common biblical or talmudic-midrashic names, mostly polysyllabic so as to awe the hearer and to seem as strange as possible. Many of the names were culled from Heikhalot and Merkabah writings, the Hebrew mystical literature of the talmudic and geonic period from which the major part of Hebrew medieval angelology is derived; sometimes even from non-Hebrew sources; others were created anagrammatically according to a definite system, either from other known names or from biblical verses. The name, which is the essence of the segullah, is supplemented with various elements which differ from book to book and even from page to page in the same work. The segullah, or the petition for magical intercession (of a supernatural power), must be written in a clear form or enunciated clearly and loudly. Sometimes the time at which the deed should occur (a certain hour of the day or night or a certain day of the month) is also given; an astrological element was thus added to the magical charm. Certain substantive elements are also added, such as bits of flesh, bone, or skin from various animals (or even the human body), or certain herbs or plants. In the classic cases of sympathetic magic sometimes the performer of the act of magic, when he directs an incantation against a certain person, draws a picture of the latter or writes his name, or even molds his likeness in clay. These means were especially resorted to in the case of a thief. The suffering inflicted by sympathetic magic on the thief caused him to reveal the cache of the stolen goods and give them back. Through these means demons could also be compelled to serve man, when an incantation with the name of the culprit proved ineffective. The segullah is used both as a direct magic act to attain a certain aim and as an auxiliary to medical aid, to reveal a man's fate, to appease or prompt the auguries of a "sign," or to interpret a dream. An amulet, for instance, is usually nothing more than a segullah written in a certain form, so that a person could carry it with him always. Such a charm is usually protective, invoking the heavenly powers to safeguard the wearer against any harm. The contents of works on segullot are arranged according to their purposes. A title states the function of the charm after which there is a description of the charm including the holy names and the other necessary elements. Another type   of segullot literature, sometimes called shimmushim ("uses"), is arranged according to the holy names indicating the purpose and uses to which each name can be put. Thus, for instance, Sefer ha-Heshek lists 70 names of the archangel metatron , after each of which the author gives the use that it can be put to and what magical purpose can best be served by using one particular appellation of this angel. The holy divine names, composed either of 42 letters or 72 letters, which are comprised of units of three or six letters, serve many magic purposes; each name can be the means of achieving a specific magic goal. Treatises on the magic use of the Psalms (Sefer Shimmush Tehillim) and on the properties of the members of animals were very common in Jewish houses. Some form of magic was even practiced by rabbis who did not see them as opposed to Judaism (Barkai). "Shimmushei Tehillim" ("The Uses of the Psalms"), a body of magic writings, describes the magic power inherent in certain verses and chapters in the Psalms and in some other Scriptures. The Bible was also used for the purpose of "sign" magic, i.e., prophecies. A person practicing this magic would open the Bible, put his finger at random on a certain verse and the content of this verse would reveal the attitude of the Divine Powers to the question or request of the person inquiring. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MYSTIC AND MAGIC LITERATURES Scholars believe that the extent of the influence of magic on Jewish mysticism has not yet been sufficiently studied. Historical circumstances rather than literary or conceptual affinities have created an impression, especially in modern times, that there is a similarity or even identity between mystic literature and magic in Jewish life and thought. One expression of this view is the term "kabbalah ma'asit" ("practical tradition"), which is magic, and "kabbalah iyyunit" ("theoretical tradition"), which is mysticism. "Kabbalah" in this context means nothing more than tradition and does not denote any special mystical system. Nineteenth-century scholars of Jewish studies who were fiercely opposed to hasidism , which is one derivation of the Kabbalah proper (the mystical ideology), saw Hasidism and Kabbalah as representing medieval superstition, and did not try to differentiate between mystical thought and magic practice, which to them seemed to derive from the same source. Their ideas were accepted even bysome 20th-century scholars. Still, there is some connection between the development of magic literature and mystical literature. In talmudic times there undoubtedly existed a unique magic literature to which such works as Sefer ha-Razim, published in a scholarly edition (by M. Margalioth, 1966; there is an English translation by M.A. Morgan, 1983), clearly testify. The book is an example of early Jewish magic which did not have any mystic tendency, and which is influenced mainly by non-Hebrew sources. If the magic elements are not very dominant in this kind of rabbinic literature, the writings of the Heikhalot and the Merkabah have a strong magical component. Included are works of a clear magical character, e.g., Hakkarat Panim ve-Sidrei Sirtutim, a work on chiromancy. Even major works of this literature, such as Sefer Heikhalot Rabbati, include some material concerning prophecies, signs, and even incantations. According to the conceptual view of Heikhalot and Merkabah literature, when the angels revealed heavenly mysteries (revelations which constitute the body of this literature) to the talmudic sages they also made esoteric magic disclosures in which they described the divine worlds and eschatological secrets. These texts of early Jewish mysticism include many adjurations of magical character asking the angels to come down and reveal to man the mysteries of heaven and earth, including the complete knowledge of the Torah, and sometimes alluding to the necessary rituals for the heavenly journey of the mystic. The means of achieving the goals of this mysticism is magic; the authors of this literature "attempted to integrate magic into Judaism" (Schaefer). The magical view of the Hebrew language, combining letters for forming divine names, is one of the bases of this form of Jewish mysticism. Medieval scholars, the Hasidei Ashkenaz, and the kabbalists who resorted to Heikhalot and Merkabah literature in their esoteric and mystical speculations also accepted the magic tradition that it embraced and sometimes even practiced it. Magic is relatively little treated in theoretical Kabbalah writings, especially in works which concentrated on matters concerning the structure of the divine worlds, the Sefirot, and the developments within the divine realm (themes central to kabbalistic literature). Many kabbalists, from those in the Gerona circle (13th century) on, did not practice magic at all. The doctrines of medicine and astrology are undoubtedly nearer to that of magic than the doctrines of Jewish mysticism. A detailed examination of magic literature clearly shows that most of those who practiced magic, or the authors of works on magic, did not know anything about mysticism in general, or Kabbalah in particular. It is therefore very unlikely that kabbalistic symbolism of the holy Sefirot, or the kabbalistic concept of evil, would appear in magic charms. When the Zohar became part of the holy literature and widely known, it was used for magic purposes, but no more than the Book of Psalms. The use that both works were put to does not reflect their original content. Supernatural knowledge and powers were, however, attributed to many kabbalists. Even Isaac the Blind, one of the earliest kabbalists who lived in Provence, was described as having the power to distinguish between a new soul, which appeared for the first time in the world, and an old soul, which had been reincarnated. This tradition of magic and supernatural hagiography of prominent kabbalists developed continually up to the times of Isaac luria and israel Ba'al Shem Tov. The writings of moshe cordovero (16th century), the kabbalist of Safed, are also full of magical views, since he adopted a type of Kabbalah very close to astral magic. Based on a tradition preserved in a talmudic text on the creation of an artificial man, unable to speak, and using techniques found in the Sefer Yezirah (combination of letters), medieval kabbalists and hasidic circles developed the idea of the golem, which was from the very beginning replete with   magic content. There were different modalities of this idea in Franco-Ashkenazi and Sephardic centers, going from the purely material being to the fully spiritual one. Zoharic and Lurianic kabbalists were not interested in the topic, while ecstatic kabbalists and Cordovero paid attention to it. In particular, the Ashkenazi texts dealing with the golem were basically magical, as shown by Idel. Magic in Kabbalah literature is touched upon in discussion of earthly or demonological matters, but even in this literature it was cautiously treated and circumscribed. Few magic elements are found in the Zohar, and in the writings of other early kabbalists there are even less. The case of the ecstatic Kabbalah, the school of abraham abulafia , is very different: for him, magical techniques like the combination of letters can be a help in attaining the personal mystical experience that endows the mystic with magical powers. Later magic literature and kabbalistic doctrine were also seldom fused. hayyim vital describes some magic practices in his autobiographical work Sefer ha-Hezyonot ("Book of Visions"), which, however, he does not relate to the special kabbalistic doctrine of his teacher, Isaac Luria. In his theological works, magic is a marginal theme. Though he accepted magic, it did not impinge on his innermost spiritual beliefs expressed in the kabbalistic myth which he set down in many books. The same applies to the writings of many other kabbalists. The Hasidei Ashkenaz discussed magic in their works at length and also had some magic works attributed to them. The relationship they established between esoteric theology and magic speculation was rooted in a peculiar theological development. The Ashkenazi hasidic theology is based on the concept that God, far away from the natural world and the laws that govern it, is revealed, according to these laws, within the world of man in specific, well-defined phenomena which confirm to man His existence. Such phenomena, miraculous in character, including magic, witchcraft, and demonology, defy the laws of nature and reveal the power of the hidden Godhead. The Hasidei Ashkenaz consequently tried to collect in their writings as many descriptions of such phenomena as possible which they analyzed and on which they commented in the light of their own esoteric doctrine. The inference, however, cannot be drawn that they dealt in practical magic more or less than other scholars of that period. Theimplication is merely that they were theologically interested in such matters more than others, and therefore included them in their literature. The Hasidei Ashkenaz thus became famous as scholars possessed of magic knowledge, and many legends revolved around them, such as the story about a competition in magic between samuel b. kalonymus he-Hasid, and three non-Jewish magicians; the story about the ability of Eleazar b. Judah of Worms to get very quickly from place to place (kefizat haderekh) by the power of a magical formula; the tale of Judah b. Samuel he-Hasid who overpowered an evil magician; and many others. How far the legends woven about scholars were removed from the actual lives of these scholars may be seen by the fact that abraham ibn ezra , the Spanish Jewish philosopher and commentator, became the hero of many magic stories (probably because of his astrological works). Some 19th-century scholars described modern Hasidism, founded by Israel Ba'al Shem Tov, as a prime example of magic and superstition. While many leaders of the hasidic movement believed in magic and practiced it, especially in giving amulets (the Ba'al Shem Tov himself dealt in magic and probably made his living as a popular healer and magician), hasidic theoretical literature, the vast homiletic literature which describes its ideology, is devoid of all magic elements. Hasidic tales might contain elements of the use of magic or of overcoming magic deeds performed by evil non-Jews, but hasidic doctrines eschewed magic elements even more than the kabbalistic literature which the Hasidim had inherited and developed. The difference between the "practical tradition" of Hasidism, which practiced magic, and the "ideological (theoretical) tradition" of the movement is probably more pronounced in modern Hasidism than in any other mystic movement. MEDIEVAL JEWISH MAGICIANS The terms mekhashef ("magician") and mekhashefah ("witch") in medieval literature designate two very different categories. A mekhashef is a person possessed of secret knowledge in magic which he uses for his own profit or to help others. He is considered a professional and is paid for his services. While in medieval Hebrew literature there are few records of a Jew being described as a mekhashef, in the early modern period the usage is much more frequent but under the name Ba'al Shem (i.e., "owner of the Holy Name"). Mekhashef designates a certain psycho-pathological state, often connected with cannibalism. The term alludes to women and men who wander in forests, singly or in groups, or sometimes live in a community and kidnap babies or even grownups in order to eat them or suck their blood. While the term mekhashefah frequently recurs in medieval Hebrew literature, the actual phenomenon it represents seems to have been rare. In the 12th and 13th centuries in Central Europe these vampires were called "shtria" for the female (from the Latin strix, striga) and werewolf for the male. Such vampires do not necessarily possess any supernatural powers or secret knowledge. In sefer hasidim , a 13th-century ethical work, there is a description of a baby born with teeth and a tail. The rabbi of the community advised that these be cut, so that when he grew up he would not eat people. This seems to testify to a case where a child was considered to have been born a werewolf, and could be cured naturally. No supernatural elements seem to be involved either in the birth of the werewolf or the proposed cure. A community where women ate children is also described in Sefer Hasidim. When threatened that if they continued their practice their teeth would be ground on the stones of the well, they stopped. The story is told as a clinical fact (which it probably was) and there seems to be neither any supernatural nor religious connotation or implication. On the other hand, in other stories from 13th-century Central Europe   such creatures are immortal. They never die naturally but are killed in a prescribed manner. In one case, a witch was offered divine forgiveness if she were to reveal the secret of how she might be killed. Thus the person who committed the sin of cannibalism could religiously be saved. The phenomenon, apparently pathological in nature, was, in some cases, explained supernaturally – as if such cases were already dead, and therefore could not be killed. The mekhashefah does not belong to magic in the strict sense but designates a species of abominable creatures who form a category in themselves to which should be added the beliefs associated with them such as the belief in the "mare," a woman who strangles men in their sleep (hence the word "nightmare"). Other unnatural creatures who do not fit into either of the above categories should be classed somewhere between demons and magicians, or demons and witches. The term mekhashefah and the literature that evolved around it had relatively little influence on the development of medieval Jewish culture; the term mekhashef, however, is much more prominent. In the 17th and 18th centuries in Eastern Europe the position of magicians ("ba'alei Shem") began to emerge on the Jewish social scene. The ba'alei Shem practiced magic and popular medicine, used amulets, drove away demons, and prophesied. Owing to the power inherent in the names they knew to use, they could discover thieves, retrieve lost articles, purify houses from evil spirits, etc. From the historical point of view, however, these magicians were of special significance in that many of them disseminated Shabbatean ideas throughout Eastern Europe; magicians were also instrumental in the development of the hasidic movement. MAGIC IN MEDIEVAL JEWISH SOCIETY In the opinion of some scholars, a negative attitude in respect to magic has relegated the study of magic, and its role in medieval Jewish society, to the margins of Jewish studies. The existing materials, in particular the fragments of the Genizah, have not yet been adequately studied, and we still lack today good monographs on medieval Jewish magic and divination. For that reason, it is not easy to attain an accurate picture of the social role of magic during these centuries. Jewish intellectuals did not consider magic either as an ideological or social challenge which had to be dealt with. But the texts of the Genizah show that magic was familiar at both the elite and popular levels of culture (Wasserstrom). The belief in the power of magic was apparently universal in Jewish society, both in the East and in the West, from the beginning of the Middle Ages up to early modern times. Opposition to magic was voiced by but a few which, when expressed in writing, formed a minor element within their work. While Maimonides, like some other Jewish philosophers, rejected magic and the use of amulets, he was not deeply concerned with it and only devoted a few passages to the problem in Guide of the Perplexed, much less, for instance, than to his argument with astrology on which he wrote a special treatise. Among others who repudiated magic were Saadiah Gaon (who rejected it in the same way as astrology) and Hai Gaon; they too, however, did not stress the question in their writings. As a consequence belief in magic hardly ever called forth any defenders in Hebrew literature. In the great 13th-century controversy the rabbis of France in their criticism also denounced Maimonides for his opposition to magic; it was, however, a very minor point. Menahem Ziyyoni's short treatise on the defense of magic and the belief in demons, Zefunei Ziyyoni (in Ms.), is written from a kabbalistic point of view as were similar treatises by other kabbalists. The practice of magic (which is quite different from a belief in magic) was also not a major problem in Judaism, though magic as such was condemned outright because of the biblical prohibition and it therefore was practiced under the guise of different names. The practice of "signs," "charms," amulets, astrology, and popular medicine was never a subject of serious scholarly discussion. Magic was employed without deep discussion in many areas of life: for influencing people's feelings and opinions, for healing all kinds of illness, for incantations, for mystical trance-inducement, for apotropaic charms, and even for finding hidden treasures. Some halakhists tried to accept the situation, distinguishing between magical practices that were directly forbidden and other practices that could be seen as not properly magic and were allowed. It was not strange that some magical practices, connected first of all with popular medicine or with human relations, or even with mystical traditions, were explained as something natural, and as such were not forbidden. Other kinds of magical practices, performed with the intention of influencing astral forces, or related to black magic, were usually prohibited. Owing to the biblical prohibition on magic the most vulgar and "black" forms of magic did not become common in Judaism and such practices as necromancy were very rare. While some books on magic contain formulas for killing an enemy by magic means, for love potions, etc., there is no evidence that these were practiced. These formulas were probably copied from non-Jewish sources. Sorcery was many times identified with black magic, and while some jurists did not see in it any real danger, others saw it in the context of demons or destructive angels and considered it forbidden as contrary to God's will. As a result the practice of some kinds of magic was not a legitimate and commonly accepted profession in medieval Jewish society and the religious convictions of a man who practiced magic were suspect. Formulas were thus written down since there was no oral transmission within a special class of practitioners of magic. Many Jews, especially in the East, usually consulted non-Jewish magicians rather than Jewish magicians. The Christian injunctions against magic and witchcraft and the fierce persecutions against those who practiced magic, which started around the end of the 15th century, affected in a particular way many conversos , but also old Christian families that had to face similar charges. Jews and Conversos were accused of ritual crimes and were persecuted by the Inquisition, as in the case of "the holy child of La Guardia" at the end of the 15th century which was considered a case of black   magic. This kind of attitude does not have parallel in Judaism. There are few examples in Judaism of Jews persecuting Jews because of magic practices. In those rare cases where there is evidence of such persecutions, the accusation served as a camouflage for more fundamental reasons. Thus the accusations of the rabbis of Venice against Moses Hayyim Luzzatto for dealing in magic were a guise for their suspicion that he had Shabbatean tendencies. In those Jewish communities where Christian anti-witchcraft persecutions had an influence, such as Italy, the relationship between Jews and non-Jews was closer than elsewhere. The only social sphere of Jewish life in which magic practice attained legitimacy was in the formulas of the herem ("excommunication"). Many herem texts have incantations with a clear magic undertone. The untranscendental purposes of most magical practices were probably one of the reasons why magic played such a minor role in cultivated medieval Jewish literature. There are few records of major significance in which magic featured, such as joseph della reina 's attempt to hasten the redemption through magic means. Magic literature centers around such minor matters as toothaches and lost articles, and some attempt at prophecy of private persons' destiny. It thus did not always relate to the major historical and ideological problems of medieval Jewish society. The private character of the practice rendered it unimportant in the eyes of both its supporters and opponents so that it never became a major issue of dispute. In spite of the relatively small influence that magic had on medieval Jewish thought, some scholars consider that the widespread use of magical practices among Jews made the members of other communities see magic as a Jewish specialization. This can in no way justify the fact that Jewish magic became a cause for antisemitism and hatred toward the Jews in the Middle Ages. The belief that every Jew was an evil magician, possessed of supernatural evil powers, was very widespread among certain popular groups of Christians in the Middle Ages and early modern times. In some uncultivated ambiances Jews were believed to be the people of Satan and they thus possessed supernatural secrets. This concept was one of the major sources of persecutions and blood libels throughout that period. Jewish reality in the Middle Ages hardly gave any substance to such accusations or to such an impression of the Jewish people. 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Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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