Tuesday, June 05, 2018

On the transmission of Jewish magic books

MAGIC AND MYSTICISM: ‘TOO HOLY TO PRINT’: THE FORBIDDEN BOOKS OF JEWISH MAGIC. Books fraught with danger—curses, secrets, marvelous cures, diviners, demons—caused political intrigue and censorship (J.H. Chajes, Tablet Magazine). This is a really interesting article on the transmission of Jewish magical works and practical Kabbalah from the Middle Ages to the present. It also touches on the hekhalot literate and the pulsa de-nura cursing rite. Although the material covered is medieval and later, some of it has older roots. For example a good part of the medieval magical work Sefer Raziel is based on the Talmudic-era magical tractate Sefer HaRazim. Regular readers will recall that I am currently finishing up a new English translation of the latter work.

The dateline of this article is February 2014. Apparently I didn't see it then. I did note a lecture series by the author a couple of years ago.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.