Friday, December 21, 2018

Oldest Aramaic incantation found?

ARAMAIC WATCH: Ancient Aramaic Incantation Describes 'Devourer' that Brings 'Fire' to Victims (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
A 2,800-year-old incantation, written in Aramaic, describes the capture of a creature called the "devourer" said to be able to produce "fire."

Discovered in August 2017 within a small building, possibly a shrine, at the site of Zincirli (called "Sam'al" in ancient times), in Turkey, the incantation is inscribed on a stone cosmetic container. ...
Zincirli is a very interesting site that has produced some important Iron-Age Aramaic inscriptions. Another, the Katumuwa (Kuttumuwa) funerary inscription, was discovered there in 2008. Others are noted here.

Most surviving Aramaic incantations are much later. The best-known ones are the Babylonian Aramaic incantation bowls, on which more here, here, here, here, and here and many links. The Cairo Geniza has also produced many Hebrew and Aramaic incantations.

Over the years I have noted some others here, here, and here (the last is written in Greek letters). There's at least one (4Q560) among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The oldest Aramaic incantation I know of after this new one from Zincirli is the so-called Uruk Incantation (4th century B.C.E.), which has Aramaic written in Babylonian cuneiform script.

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