Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism

THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MYTH, MAGIC, AND MYSTICISM (2007) by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis is reviewed by Cynthia Astle at Ancient/Classical History. I've not heard of this book before, which maybe isn't a good sign. That said, Llewellyn Press is New Agey, but it does publish some okay popular stuff.

However, the review has the book saying that ancient Jewish incantation bowls were found in Israel and Mesopotamia, and this is incorrect: the provenanced ones come only from Mesopotamia. But perhaps the book or the reviewer is thinking of metal amulets from the same period inscribed with incantations, which do come from Israel. (I'm not talking about those recently publicized lead plates of uncertain provenance and genuineness, but other ones from late antiquity (on silver and, I think, bronze or copper) which at least sometimes are clearly genuine.) Also, I know of no evidence for mezuzot as early as the fourth century B.C.E., although I think there are some from Qumran from the first century or so. If you have or get this book, use with caution.

Via N.S. Gill.